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Test Prep


SAT & ACT Prep

Currently in higher education, there are discussions going on about the role that the SAT and ACT play in the admissions process. With that being said, we value that every student have the opportunity to be prepared for whatever option is next. All 10th and 11th grade students take the PSAT exam for free in Fall.  We offer a workshop in the winter to help families understand their score to prepare for the SAT or ACT.

As well as this, New Tech High partners with SurferMath in the Spring to offer SAT Prep Workshop classes on site at New Tech High at a significant reduction in cost. Potential workshop offerings will be released to students in the Fall and scholarships are available on a need basis.  Learn more about SurferMath at their website.

Students struggle with this question all the time.  There is no right answer to this question as most colleges and universities accept results form both. Determining what test to take really boils down to a matter of preference.  Consider exploring practice tests for each and choose the one you prefer afterwards. College Board makes practice SATs available and the ACT offers practice ACT questions and a practice ACT test.

The SAT and ACT are designed for students who are in the second half of their junior year. Waiting to take the tests until the winter or spring of the junior year is the best strategy; scores go up as students develop their math and English skills. We recommend against taking the SAT or ACT earlier than the winter of junior year.

How many times should a student take the test? No more than two or three times -- at some point, scores stop improving, and it is more important to allocate time to studying and extracurricular activities.

So should you study for the SAT or ACT? Yes, you should -- but only a little bit. It is important to familiarize yourself with the test format, types of questions, and timing. But don't spend so much time prepping for the SAT or ACT that your grades, activities, or opportunities to participate in meaningful summer pursuits suffer. Grades are and your well-being are always more important. Make sure to balance testing and test prep with your academics and other things you enjoy.

There are many test prep options -- standardized test preparation is big business -- and the number of choices can feel overwhelming. The good news is that you can find a wide variety test prep options, many of which are free. Some students prefer to study on their own, using websites and/or test prep books. Other students prefer to sign up for a class or work with a tutor.

If test prep is of concern to you, please consider taking part in our relationship with SurferMath.  We host multiple SAT Prep Courses on campus at a more than 50% discount to families.  Scholarships are available for families with additional need and no student is turned away.

  • Khan Academy: Official partner with College Board in offering free SAT preparation. Also provides free subject-specific resources in a wide variety of content areas.
  • Free ACT preparation
  • INeedAPencil: Free SAT preparation
  • College Board: The company that makes the SAT provides a full-length free practice test and offers other study tools on their website
  • ACT: The company behind the ACT provides practice tests and other study materials on their website.

There are now over 900 four-year colleges in the US where submitting test scores is no longer required — students may choose whether or not they want to send their scores. This is an excellent option for students who feel that their testing does not accurately reflect their academic abilities or commitment. The list of test-optional schools includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Agnes Scott College
  • Allegheny College
  • American University
  • Arizona State University
  • Bard College
  • Bates College
  • Beloit College
  • Bennington College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Brandeis University
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Catholic University
  • Clark University
  • College of the Atlantic
  • Columbia College (Chicago)
  • Connecticut College
  • Curry College
  • Denison University
  • DePaul University
  • Dickinson College
  • Drew University
  • Earlham College
  • Eugene Lang College/New School
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • Furman University
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University
  • Gettysburg College
  • Goucher College
  • Green Mountain College
  • Guilford College
  • Hampshire College
  • Hobart & William Smith Colleges
  • Hofstra University
  • Ithaca College
  • Juniata College
  • Knox College
  • Lake Forest College
  • Lawrence University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola University (Maryland)
  • McDaniel College
  • Manhattanville College
  • Marist College
  • Marlboro College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Naropa College
  • Pitzer College
  • Prescott College
  • Providence College
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Ripon College
  • Rollins College
  • St. John’s College
  • St. Joseph’s University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Skidmore College
  • Smith College
  • Susquehanna College
  • Temple University
  • Transylvania University
  • Trinity College (CT)
  • Union College
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Puget Sound
  • Ursinus College
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Warren Wilson College
  • Washington College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Wheaton College (MA)
  • Whitman College
  • Willamette University
  • Wittenberg College
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

A complete list of test-optional schools may be found through the services of the FairTest organization. Please note that a few of these schools may have additional entrance requirements, such as a graded essay or a certain GPA, for their test-optional applicants.

The PSAT is a practice SAT test that is given to all New Tech High sophomores and juniors each October.  The PSAT models the SAT/ACT testing environment and serves two main purposes:

  • The PSAT provides practice for the real SAT. Since it is only a practice test, PSAT scores are not made a part of a student’s testing record and are only reported to high school counselors and students.
  • The PSAT/NMSQT is used as the basis for qualification in the National Merit Scholarship Program in a student's junior year. This is only open to US citizens and Permanent Residents. Additional details about the National Merit program are available.

After PSAT results are available, New Tech High hosts a PSAT information night for families to learn about what their score means and next steps to take after they get their results.

The SAT is one of the two main standardized tests for college admissions in the United States. It is comprised of two multiple-choice sections: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing, and Mathematics. Students may also choose to take the optional Essay section, which is required by some colleges.


Most students planning on going to college take the SAT at least once. They usually take this test for the first time in the winter or spring of junior year.  


>  Learn more about the SAT

SAT test dates and registration deadlines

The ACT tests a student's ability to apply knowledge and concepts in math, science, and English. It includes four multiple-choice subject tests covering English, math, reading, and science. The ACT also includes an optional essay section, which is required by some colleges.


The ACT may be submitted in lieu of Subject Tests at most institutions. Please check each college’s website to see its testing requirements.  Students who take the ACT will usually do so for the first time in the winter or spring of junior year.


>  Learn more about the ACT

ACT test dates and registration deadlines