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SATs & ACTs - Preparing for College

Preparing for College

As part of the admission process at four-year colleges/universities and some two-year colleges, students may be required to submit test scores from one of two nationally recognized testing programs that include the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT).


SAT & ACT – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do I need to know about SAT or ACT Test Registration?
    1. Both Tests require online registration, which can be accessed directly through each testing service:

      (SAT or ACT)

    2. Students are reminded when registering for wither test to use Northern Bedford County High School’s school code of 391830. This six-digit number is sometimes referred to as the CEEB code. It must be included when registering so official test scores will be sent back to NBCHS for student transcripts.


  1. Which test should I take?
    1. Colleges use both tests to evaluate students for admissions. It is usually necessary for a student to take only one of the tests for admission consideration.
    2. One primary difference between the two tests is that the ACT has a Science section. In our area, some of the colleges that have Allied Health programs require the ACT because they use the score on the Science section as part of the admission decision process.
    3. To determine which test to take, students should consult the colleges that they plan to attend. Your school counselor is also available to help you with this decision.


  1. How much does it cost to take each test?
    1. For the 2020-21 school year, the SAT cost is $52 ($68 with essay section); the ACT cost is $55 ($70 with essay section).
      • The decision to take the test with or without the essay section is usually determined by the college(s) a student is considering. Please consult the colleges that you may attend before registering. Students may also seek help from a school counselor at NBC.
    2. Fee wavers are available for students with financial need and the forms must be obtained at the counseling office. A student who is granted a fee waiver may also be eligible to receive up to four college application fee waivers as well.
    3. Additional test services can be purchased for additional fees – see each test website for more information.


  1. When should I register for a test?
    1. Students needing to take a college entrance exam are encouraged to register for a test date during the grade eleven year (typically in the spring of the junior year). Testing early allows students enough time to evaluate their test scores and compare them to college admission requirements. Additionally, it allows time to re-take a test if needed.


  1. What can I do to prepare?
    1. There are some different options for you to consider while preparing for these types of tests.
      • Prep Courses: Free, online prep classes for the SAT are offered by College Board vi the Khan Academy. Students will receive specific feedback, practice question and test taking tips that are tailored to their strengths / weaknesses. Online practice questions and tips for the ACT are available at ACT.ORG.
      • PSAT Test: If you are a grade 11 or grade 10 student, consider taking the PSAT test given at Northern Bedford every October. The PSAT is a shortened version of the SAT which gives you practice taking the test; It provides you with a detailed score report/ helpful feedback. Students can take the PSAT by signing up at the school counseling office. Information is shared with students in September.


  1. Anything else I need to know about the SAT or ACT tests?
    1. Another important reminder is that some colleges require that they receive official test scores directly form the test scoring center. In our area, Pennsylvania State University (all campuses) & the University of Pittsburgh are two examples of schools that have this requirement.
    2. Students interested in athletics at the collegiate level (Division I or II) must have their official scores sent directly to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Clearing House. The specific program code for each college and/or the NCAA must be included when registering. All codes are located online at the time the student completes the test registration. If a student does not include them during the initial registration, the scores can be sent later; however, an additional fee will be charged by the test center.