College Entrance Exams (PSAT/SAT/ACT)

  • Quick Links to College Entrance Testing Information:
    SAT vs. ACT Comparison Chart
    SAT Subject Area Tests
    Test Preparation Resources


    Registration for Juniors is September 27; Sophomores are Automatically Registered

    There is no fee for Sophomores to take the test; there is a $20 fee for Juniors to take the PSAT. Students who qualify for a free or reduced lunch rate can request a fee waiver (contact Abby Menashe). Juniors, please sign up and pay online at or in the bookkeeper’s office at Wilson by September 27.

    The 2017 PSAT/NMSQT will be administered on Wednesday, October 11, during the regular school day, from 8:15am-12:00pm.  

    The PSAT is administered to all Sophomores and Juniors during the school day each year in October. The test is provided free-of-charge to all PPS Sophomores; Juniors must pay a nominal fee, except for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. Sophomores should plan a course of study for the Junior-year PSAT based on their sophomore-year scores. Qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program is based on junior-year scores. Find more information here.

    The PSAT and SAT tests have changed. Learn more here.



    The ACT is administered free-of-charge to all Juniors during the school day each year in the spring. The testing date for all PPS juniors in 2018 is February 27th; Wilson students will do their testing at Wilson.

    Like the SAT, the ACT exam is a national college-readiness exam. Almost every college uses ACT scores in their admissions process. In addition to the importance for admission, taking the ACT may open the door to scholarships or other financial aid that can make college more affordable. If you plan to find a job after graduation, the ACT results are still useful because they will show whether our schools are helping students learn the skills they need for well-paid jobs.

    The ACT covers English, math, reading, science and writing. The test publisher will mail your student’s results to your home and will provide your student’s school with a copy of the results. Students’ scores won’t affect their school grades, but they will want to do their best, especially if they are aiming for college admission or scholarships. Much more information on the ACT exam is available at Scroll down to the bottom of the page for ACT study resources.


    ACT 2018

    Wilson High School will administer the ACT free of charge to all Juniors on Tuesday, February 27, during the school day.

    Testing will begin at 8:15am and last until about 1:00pm. Students need to be on time, rested, bring No. 2 pencils and an approved calculator for testing. No phones, drinks or food are allowed in the testing room; therefore, a small snack and water will be provided during one of two testing breaks. The lunch period will be immediately after testing is completed.

    The special testing schedule will be sent via email, posted on Wilson’s website, and posted around the school. Students are expected to make up any work they miss in their classes as a result of testing.

    Finally, if students are planning to study for the ACT, scroll down for a listing of free and fee-based study sites and resources to help prepare for the test.

    Please direct questions to Vice Principal Sara Gandarilla (


    Practice SAT/ACT

    The Counseling Department offers a practice SAT and a practice ACT once every year. This is a good opportunity to experience what the real test will be like, and the results provide a helpful basis for study for the real test. Look for announcements in the fall and winter.


    SAT and ACT Test Dates and Registration Information


    SAT/ACT Fee Waiver

    If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, you are eligible for an SAT/ACT fee waiver. Once you use a fee waiver for the SAT or ACT, you will then be eligible to apply to up to six Common Application schools with no application fee. Be sure to renew your application every year and save your letter of eligibility. See your counselor to sign up for the fee waiver.

    Wilson CEEB Code: 380937

    Fee: $60 with essay, October-June; $46 no essay, March-June
    Late Registration Fee: $29.00
    Register online at

    Fee: $62.50 with writing; $46 without writing
    Late Registration Fee: $29.50

    Register online at


    When Should I Take the SAT/ACT?

    There are different strategies: students who take college entrance exams at the end of Junior year might score higher, having completed the year of math. Other students feel more comfortable taking their exams early in Junior year, so that they will have ample time take the exams again after focused study on areas that need improvement.


    SAT, ACT, Which Test Should I Take?

    Many students take both, but depending on which schools you plan to apply to and which test better matches your test-taking style, you may choose to take just one or the other. Consult the admissions website or counselor for the schools you are interested in, or consult your Wilson Counselor. All PPS students are provided the opportunity to take the PSAT (sophomore year) and ACT (junior year) for free, during the school year. The PSAT is in October, the ACT is in March.



    SAT vs. ACT Comparison Chart

    The following chart will help you understand the structure and content of the SAT and the ACT.



    Length: 3 hours, 45 minutes 3 hours, 25 minutes (including 30 minutes of the optional writing test).
    Structure: 10 sections: 3 critical reading, 3 mathematics, 3 writing (Including the essay portion), 1 experimental (not scored). 4 sections (plus optional writing test): English, mathematics, reading, science, writing.
    Subjects: Critical reading with vocabulary, mathematics (Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and algebra II), writing. English, mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry), reading, and science. Writing is optional but strongly advised.
    Reading: Reading passages with questions pertaining to comprehension, style, and vocabulary. 4 passages with 10 questions per passage pertaining to comprehension, style, and vocabulary.
    Science: N/A Science analysis of given information, graph reading, and problem solving with given information.
    Mathematics: Arithmetic, geometry, algebra I and II. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
    Essay: Required. Optional, but strongly recommended.
    Score Composition: 1/3 critical reading, 1/3 mathematics, 1/3 writing. ¼ English, ¼ mathematics, ¼ reading, and ¼ science.
    Scoring: Aggregate score 600-24— based on total of 3 subtest scores (200-800) for reading, mathematics, and writing. Score of 2-12 on essay. Composite score 1-36 based on average of 4 subtest scores for English, mathematics, reading, and science. Score of 0-12 for essay.
    Penalties: Lose ¼ point for each wrong answer. No penalties for wrong answers.
    Sending scores to colleges and scholarship agencies: Students must request scores sent from the College Board. Students may pay extra for “Score Choice” allowing them to choose specific test date’s scores be sent.


    Student must request scores sent from ACT. Students may select which test date’s scores to send or may send them all.
    Registration, practice, and additional information:


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    Should I Take SAT Subject Area Tests?

    SAT Subject Tests are not required at the majority of colleges and universities in the United States. However, many of the country’s most elite colleges, (Stanford, the Ivy League, and many private colleges in general) do require two or more SAT Subject tests. You cannot take the Subject Tests on the same day you take the SAT, so plan ahead. You can take up to three Subject Tests at the same test session and they are offered on most SAT dates.

    Subject Tests are offered in: literature, biology, chemistry, physics, math levels 1 and 2, US history, world history, French, Spanish, Latin, German, and Modern Hebrew.

    Be sure to get more information from the college’s website. In some cases the ACT with Writing can substitute for the SAT Subject tests, and colleges change their admissions criteria frequently. Colleges may require certain tests, for example: Literature, one science, one test of the student’s choice.

    Students may take Subject Tests at any time. It is a good idea to take the test immediately after completing study for that subject, for example, you might take the chemistry test at the end of 10th grade if you do not plan to take any further chemistry courses.


    Registration and Testing Dates

    SAT Subject Tests are offered 6 times per year in October, November, December, January, May and June.


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    SAT and ACT Test Preparation Resources

    There are many resources to help you prepare for the SAT or ACT. Below are a few of them. Keep in mind that:

    • Scores from SAT or ACT tests are just one piece of your college application.
    • To do your best on either test, it is a good idea to become familiar with the test format, take at least one practice test beforehand, and review math concepts and vocabulary.
    • While a class can provide structure and motivation, you may achieve similar test results through less expensive options, especially if you are disciplined about preparing.
    • Be skeptical of claims that your score will improve a certain number of points through a particular program—many of these claims are based on pretests that are more difficult than the actual test.


    ACT Exam Preparation Help

    Following are some ACT preparation websites, many of which are free and some are fee-based programs listed as well.  Many of the websites will give you test taking tips, practice tests, test day procedures and tips, and more.

    While this is not an endorsement of the programs or sites, or one site over the other, we hope you find them helpful!
    This website includes practice questions to help familiarize you with the ACT® test.  Five sets of questions are available for English and Mathematics; four sets are for Reading; and seven sets are available for Science.  A sample writing prompt and responses is also provided to prepare you for the Writing Test portion of the test. The test prep section provides test day procedures, general test-taking tips, test descriptions, and an 80-page student preparation booklet with practice test, scoring keys, a writing prompt and sample essays.
    Like ‘The ACT Test’ and ask questions about preparation and follow discussions.
    Along with practice quizzes, this site has study guides, test flashcards, test practice questions and free report on ACT test preparation.
    Provided by the Graduate Educational Information Service, this website includes general test information, practice questions, and lots of tips for preparing for the exam.
    ACT tutorials, practice tests, and information on test preparation and scores developed by retired academicians.
    Includes sample questions in English, mathematics usage, reading and science with immediate feedback.
    An online ACT Prep book that breaks down the ACT into manageable portions including All about the ACT, How to Study and Practice Questions.
    Free online demo with a sample lesson from their interactive online courses and an ACT practice test.
    Flash cards from various sources to help you study ACT vocabulary.
    There's no sign-up or sign-in. You merely go to the website, select the practice test you'd like to take and start. There are two online ACT practice tests with explanations for every question. There are also problem-solving videos and other ACT test prep materials like tips, strategies and how-to's.
    Free online practice test. Click on box: “Begin using this resource.” Log in using a Multnomah County Library Card account


    Portland Area SAT/ACT Preparation Classes and Resources

    Central Catholic High School

    SAT/ACT class

    Huntington Learning Center

    SAT/ACT 503 533-5700 (Portland) 503 524-4744 (Beaverton)

    Jesuit High School

    SAT/ACT classes summer


    800 527-8378 503 222-5556 Portland office                                

    North Avenue Education

    SAT/ACT tutoring 503-468-6905

    The Princeton Review

    SAT/ACT 800 273-8439

    Portland Tutoring Collective

    SAT prep 503 592-0589

    Portland Community College

    971 722-2711

    Saturday Academy

    SAT/ACT classes 503 200-5858

    PowerScore ACT/SAT prep

    800 545-1750

    Stumptown Test Prep

    SAT/ACT tutoring 503 246-4211

    Sylvan Learning Center   Testing Companies (registration for exams and practice questions) :

    ACT: www.act.org


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PSAT for Sophomores & Juniors

    PSAT Letter to Sophomores PSAT Letter to Sophomore Families

    PSAT Letter to Juniors

    PSAT Letter to Junior Families

    Sophomores should plan a course of study for the junior-year PSAT based on their sophomore-year scores. Qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program is based on junior-year scores.





    PSAT Registration for Juniors is September 27; Sophomores are Automatically Registered

    There is no fee for Sophomores to take the test; there is a $20 fee for Juniors to take the PSAT. Students who qualify for a free or reduced lunch rate can request a fee waiver (contact Abby Menashe). Juniors, please sign up and pay online at or in the bookkeeper’s office at Wilson.

    The PSAT gives meaningful feedback to students to help them prepare for college and their post-secondary goals and helps students prepare for the SAT. On average, students who take the PSAT/NMSQT score 145 points higher on the SAT than those students who do not. Students who take the PSAT also have free access to My College QuickStart, an on-line college-and-career planning tool. It is powered by student responses to the test and provides personalized information that helps students take their next steps toward college, explore majors and careers, and get a personalized SAT study plan. Because WHS is focused on college and career readiness, we believe that this feedback to 11th-graders is essential and relevant.


    Also, it is during the junior year that students can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program by demonstrating academic achievement on the PSAT. Students who qualify for recognition in the National Merit Program are notified through Wilson in September of the following school year. Approximately 9,200 students win the scholarship nationwide each year and we would like to have more Wilson students earn this recognition.

    To find more resources on the PSAT and/or the National Merit Scholarship, visit and


    All Sophomores will take the test; Juniors who have  registered will take it at the same time. Juniors who did not pay and register to take the exam will attend their classes as regularly scheduled. The math hall and part of the social studies hall will be reserved for testing and only students testing will be admitted to these halls--if you have a locker in this area you must access it before 8:15 or after noon. All students will have lunch after the exams are over followed by Tutor Time and an early dismissal at 1:15pm.

    For students who are testing, signs in the main hall will tell you your testing room. Freshman and Seniors will have their regular classes in the morning; if your class is in the testing hall, signs will tell you the room your class has been moved to.

    Students who are testing: bring your ID, 2 sharpened pencils and an approved calculator ( Be sure to check the batteries before testing day! Water and snacks will be provided, students are a not allowed to bring their own snacks or water into the testing rooms. Cell phones should not be brought in either.

    PSAT Testing Schedule

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017



    All 10th and select 11th Grade Taking PSAT



    Freshman, remaining Juniors & Seniors Not Taking PSAT





    7:45-8:15 am

    Breakfast available in Cafeteria

    7:45-8:15 am

    Breakfast available in Cafeteria

    8:10 am

    Students arrive



    8:15 am-9:50 am

    Identify students, Instructions, Administer Test 1





    8:15 – 9:05am

    Period 5 (50 minutes)

    9:50 am-9:55 am

    Break – time approximate depending in individual room

    9:11 – 10:01am

    Period 6 (50 minutes)

    9:56 am -10:56 am

    Administer Test 2 & 3

    10:01 – 10:11am

    Snack Break for the school

    10:57 am–11:02am

    Break in classroom only (5 min.)

    10:12 – 11:02am

    Period 7 (50 minutes)

    11:03 am–11:58 am

    Administer Test 4 and 5

    11:08 – 11:58am

    Period 8 (50 minutes)

    11:59am – 12:29pm


    11:59 – 12:29pm


    12:30 – 1:15pm

    Tutor Time *

    12:30 – 1:15pm

    Tutor Time *

    1:15pm Early Dismissal All Students 1:15pm Early Dismissal All Students


    * Note:  Those teachers who did not proctor the exam will be available at Tutor Time only.

    All Staff will go to PD in the Cafeteria from 1:15 – 3:30.


    Free PSAT Study Resources
    Explains what is on the test and includes practice questions for each section: critical reading, math and writing skills.  The “Official Student Guide” has test-taking tips and a full-length practice test.
    68-page pdf study guide for the PSAT.  Contains sample test questions with answers and explanations.  General information and what to expect on the test day is also included.
    Includes a link for writing, reading, and math practice questions in addition to general test information.
    Includes test questions for the Grid-In section and multiple choice.  There is a link for the explanation of the differences between the SAT/PSAT and ACT/PSAT tests.
    Offers several practice tests for each section of the PSAT.  Good information on the text structure, how the test answers are weighted and what your test score means.
    Site includes a question and answer section, videos, practice sections, flashcards, practice tests and personalized reports.
    (after psat there is an _ in the web address)  Site includes practice tests in basic & advanced algebra, averages & rounding and basic operations.
    (after student there is an _ in the web address) Full printable pdf file. Practice tests in math.