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College Testing

College Testing: THE WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE & HOW When should I take the SAT/ACT/PSAT/EAP...

When should I take the tests for college? Your questions answered about pre-college testing:


PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test)/NMSQT

WHO: Recommended for Juniors. Optional for sophomores, not recommended for those who have not completed Geometry.

WHAT: Good prep for the SAT test. Test results show right and wrong answers and can be used as a study tool. It is also the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship Program when taken in 11th grade

WHEN: Given only once a year in OCTOBER

WHERE: Offered at Alameda High School

HOW: Information regarding fees and registration announced at the end of September.

Students will receive/pick up their results plus test book in December.  Scores are also available online in December. 


SAT  Test

WHO: Recommended for Juniors & Seniors

WHAT: Used to help determine admission to the UC's, CSU's and most private colleges. The current SAT contains 2 sections: Reading/Writing and Math. (Each section 800 points, for maximum score of 1600 points)  An optional Essay section is available.  The UC system requires the Essay section.  The CSU system does not require the Essay. 

WHEN: Recommended to be taken in Spring of Junior year and possibly retaken in Fall of Senior year. Test dates are: Aug/Oct/Nov/Dec/March/ May/June. December of senior year is the last test date accepted by most colleges.

WHERE:Offered at various high schools in the area. Testing at AHS in Oct., Nov., Dec., May and June.  For testing at AHS, register early.  We fill up quickly.

HOW: Sign up on-line at    Test results mailed directly home to student and to our school. It is the student's responsibility to request test  scores from Collegeboard be sent to colleges/universities that require them. Official scores are only sent directly from College Board.


For resources to prepare for the "New" SAT, Getting Ready for the Redesigned SAT

For resources to register for the SAT, SAT Registration Guide

For a test date check list, SAT Test Day Check List


ACT (American College Test)


WHO: Recommended for Juniors & Seniors

WHAT: Alternate test accepted by UC's, CSU's and private schools. It is preferred by some colleges (Cal Poly SLO and schools in the mid-west).  It includes four sections: English, Math, Reading and Science Reasoning.

WHEN: Given six times a year (Sept, Oct, Dec. Feb, April, June) and scheduled on a different weekend than the SAT

WHERE: It is available at several Bay area schools but not given at AHS (closest location is College of Alameda)

HOW:  Sign up at . Test results mailed to student and school.

For resources to prepare for the ACT, Preparing for the ACT


SAT Subject Tests

WHO: Recommended for Juniors OR Sophomores who will be completing a course in the subject they would like to test in

WHAT: One hour subject specific tests and required for entrance into some selective universities.  Subject areas include: Literature, Foreign Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, US History, World History, and Math Level 2. (The UC’s will no longer require the subject tests for the class of 2012 and beyond although subject tests may be required for specific majors such as Engineering…check with the campus).

WHEN Recommend taking the test at the completion of the course in the same subject (generally May or June). Subject Tests are given 6 times a year.

WHERE: Offered at various high schools in the area. Testing at AHS in Oct, Nov., Dec., May and June.  For testing at AHS, register early.  We fill up quickly.  AHS does NOT test the Foreign Language with Listening test in November. 

HOW: Sign up on-line at Test results mailed directly home and to school. 

For resources to prepare for the SAT Subject tests, Getting Ready for the SAT Subject Test

For resources to register for the SAT, SAT Registration Guide

For a test date check list, SAT Test Day Check List


 AP Tests (Advanced Placement)

WHO: Recommended for students taking an AP Course in the subject. 

WHAT: Some colleges may give college credit for AP test scores of 3, 4, or 5. (check with college)

WHEN: The AP tests are given only once a year in May and follow a nationwide schedule. 

WHERE:The tests are given during the school day at AHS

HOW: Sign up for test in spring at AHS School Bank. 


EAP (Early Assessment Program)

WHO: All Juniors especially those who plan to apply to Cal State University system

WHAT: This test of college "readiness" as defined by the CSU System is embedded as part of the Smarter Balance Testing (CAASP) required of all juniors.  All sections of the EAP test must be completed in order to determine college readiness.

WHEN: Given during the Smarter Balance testing in April.

WHERE:  Alameda High School

HOW: Be sure to complete all sections of the English and Math sections of the Smarter Balance test in and to authorize release of your scores to the CSU system.

For more details, EAP Information

How to Send Test Scores