College Testing: Be Informed

Students applying to four-year colleges are typically* required to take at least one entrance test to qualify for admissions. There are two widely accepted tests: the SAT and the ACT. Colleges will accept either test interchangeably. (A handful of private, highly selective colleges also require the SAT Subject Tests - look at admissions webpages to be clear on testing requirements.) These tests are long, difficult and should be prepared for. The great news is that your child's classwork is the #1 way to prepare for these exams. 
  • *More and more universities are becoming "test optional." See a list of those colleges and universities here. 

  • Compare your options While colleges will accept both tests - and JHHS' College & Career Ready program focuses on test preparation for the state-wide ACT in April, students may find they are more successful on one or the other. Read more here.  Additionally, visit the ACT website or the SAT website to learn more about the test (and to register).

    Preparing for the test 
    Apart from being fully invested in the learning process in their classrooms, students can benefit from time outside school preparing and practicing for these exams. There are a number of different resources that students, in 10th and 11th grade, can access (and most are free!).

    • JHHS offers the PSAT exam in October to sophomores and juniors. This is great practice for the SAT. Additionally, students in 11th grade use the PSAT to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.
    • Juniors have access to free, online ACT prep software through College & Career Ready. CCR focuses on preparing for the statewide ACT test in April.
    • Khan Academy offers free SAT prep (this is the official CollegeBoard sponsored prep too).
    • In partnership with Teton County Library, students can take a free full-length practice ACT test. This is often offered in January.
    • Teton County Library's College Prep Services offers a free weekly ACT prep course. This course often starts in early February and is designed to prepare students for the April test.

    Make a Testing Plan The JHHS School Counseling department suggests that students consider taking the ACT and/or SAT multiple times. Scores are typically available about a month following the exam.

    A general testing plan may look like:

    Sophomore Year

    • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall at school. Receive scores in December/January.
    • Review scores and work over the summer after 10th grade on test prep.
    • Take practice ACT offered through Teton County Library in January
  • Junior Year
    • Prepare for ACT through College & Career Ready. 
    • Take PSAT/NMSQT in the fall at school. Receive scores in December/January
    • Register for December or February ACT
    • Take practice ACT offered through Teton County Library in January
    • Register for January or March SAT 
    • Take weekly ACT Prep Course through Teton County Library
    • Take statewide ACT with JHHS in April
    • Review scores. There is opportunity to take at least one more (SAT in May or ACT in June) before summer break. 
  • Senior Year
  • Register for one or two fall SAT or ACT exams if desired or to improve score.
  • Most colleges will limit the final accepted test date to November or December for either test. Check school requirements for exact deadlines (especially for Early Decision/Early Action applications). Know that to qualify for Hathaway Scholarships, students can continue to take the ACT through June of their senior year.

This plan is strictly an example and can be tweaked to fit your schedule and college application needs.