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College Testing

College Testing

What are the differences between the various tests?
  • We have provided a Glossary of Terms describing the various tests. Please see attached PDF below.
Why You May Want to Take Both Tests?

1) Colleges accept both scores

  • All 4 year colleges accept both, SAT and ACT scores from their applicants. Submitting both scores will allow you to demonstrate the full extent of your abilities. The SAT and ACT score breakdown will give admissions officers insight into your academic ability in different skill areas. Assessing both scores (when available) helps colleges understand students better. In essence, the more scores schools see, the more they can use to inform their admissions decisions.

2) There is an overlap in subject matter

  • Despite a few differences in subject matter, preparing for one test will require you to review material that will be tested on the other test. Those preparing for the ACT can easily prepare for the SAT as well because the concepts are the same, except for the math and science sections. The SAT tests fewer topics in math and does not have a science section.
  • The SAT and ACT have the following content areas in common:
    • Reading Passages
    • Arithmetic operations
    • Algebra
    • Geometry
    • Statistics
    • Probability
    • Grammar
    • Essay
  • The SAT and ACT both require students to have a good grasp of high-school level content and solid test-taking skills.

3) Students taking both will have an edge in admissions

  • After preparing for and taking both tests at least once, students can then focus and continue preparing for the test they did better on. Students who attempt both tests are able to submit the higher score to schools they are planning to apply to.

4) Flexibility around test dates

  • Opting to take both tests allows students to have more flexibility around test dates. Students will have more test dates and options to choose from. The student can then plan around convenient test dates. Sometimes students can be so stressed around a particular test date that they do not do well. Additional flexibility helps students stay relaxed
PSAT and Pre-ACT

Wednesday, October 11th is a unique day at SBHS as our 10th and 11th grade students will be taking the Pre-ACT (10th Grade) and the PSAT (11th grade). Both tests are free for SBHS students. Students will be taking the tests during the morning hours on October 11th and with their English classes. 

*Students with an IEP or a 504 and College Board approval, will be given extended time and will test in small groups in separate rooms.

  • All 10th grade students will be taking the Pre-ACT--a new practice test that gives students an estimated ACT score in a low-stakes practice test. Pre-ACT test takers will be asked to provide information on their interests, the courses they plan to take in high school, and their expected college major. For more information on the Pre-ACT, click here.

  • All 11th grade students will be taking the PSAT which, gives students specific feedback to better prepare for the SAT, makes students eligible for National Merit Scholar consideration. For more information on the PSAT, click here.

Also, a reminder that the College Board has partnered with the Khan Academy to offer free, robust SAT practice (including six practice tests) that can be personalized for students--all for free. For more information, visit:

There is also a cool new app that gives students instant feedback on their practice tests (immediately giving students their score and study tips). Click here for more info


Which test scores should I submit?

Resource Websites

Test Dates for All Tests

ACT Registration

SAT and Subject Test Registration

Princeton Review Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep

Shmoop Online Test-Prep

Collegeboard + Khan Academy SAT Prep


Test Preparation Lending Program. Thanks to generous donations from parents of former Dons, we have dozens of SAT and PSAT test prep books as well as the ACT and most AP and SAT Subject Tests. They are here for you to borrow anytime you need. 

**We are constantly looking for donations of more Test Prep and College books, please consider donating to us in the College and Career Center so we can help future students. We will gladly accept any test prep books you bring in, regardless of their condition.


Free and Discounted Test Prep in Santa Barbara

***Free Practice tests - at 7 West Figueroa in SB:!practice!practice


***For The Princeton Review test prep courses -  have students use discount code:   SBUSD15      ( gives them 15% off all or classes and tutoring )

***Our own on site Practice SAT and practice ACT will be announced soon ( $20 for students, $10 if free/reduced lunch students)

Do you have an IEP or 504 Accommodation Plan? Please sure sure to meet with your Counselor to talk about requesting Accommodations on Collegeboard and ACT tests. 
Please review attached documentation if this applies to you.
  • Timeline for Requesting Accommodations from ACT/Collegeboard
  • Parent Letter for students with a 504 or IEP
  • 504 Accommodation Plan Checklist