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


    Juniors register by paying online at; 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. Juniors, please sign up and pay online at or in the bookkeeper’s office at Wilson. The deadline to sign up is September 27, 2109.

    The 2019 PSAT/NMSQT will be administered on Wednesday, October 16, 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 $20 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 2019 is February 20th; Wilson students will do their testing at Wilson. All Junior students will pre-register for the exam in their English classes in early February.

    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.

    Please make sure you attend school on Wednesday February 20th rested, on time and ready to take the ACT!

    Click here for a list of ACT Exam preparation resources.


    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
    Links to 14 websites with ACT test prep, vocabulary practice, sample tests and more.
    Loads of resources and links with information on the ACT test.
    Flashcards from various sources to help you study ACT vocabulary.
    Peterson's offers a free ACT practice test. Here, you'll need to sign up for a StudentEdge account (which is free), and then register to take the online, timed test. After your test, your strengths and weaknesses will be assessed, and you'll be better able to develop strategies for the exam.


    Portland Area SAT/ACT Preparation Classes and Resources

    Wilson High School does not guarantee, endorse, or recommend any of the resources below.

    Abby Larson Tutoring, 503-913-0457 (Multnomah Village)

    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


    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.

    Dear Parent(s) and/or Guardian(s) of 11th-graders,

    This fall, Wilson High School will again be offering the PSAT/NMSQT exam to all sophomores and those juniors who register for the exam. The PSAT/NMSQT (or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a preliminary version of the SAT that not only helps prepare students to take the SAT, but can also open the door to National Merit Scholarships and other awards. There are $180 million dollars in scholarships awarded to students who achieve high scores when they take the test in their junior year, and students who perform well on this exam can earn scholarship dollars for college. These prestigious scholarships range from $500 to $10,000. Additionally, the SAT will be administered at Wilson this year on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 to all Juniors; therefore, the PSAT presents a fantastic opportunity for students to prepare for this important test.

    Your student most likely took the PSAT for free as a sophomore at Wilson. The test is a great way to practice for the SAT, meet graduation requirements and qualify for scholarships. We encourage all juniors to register and pay to take the test again. If as a sophomore, your student scored in the 75th percentile or higher, (scores are available on your students Naviance account or College Board) we highly encourage them to study and take the PSAT as a junior because qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Competition is based on junior-year scores.

    If you would like your student to take the test, please sign up and pay online at School Pay or in the bookkeeper’s office at Wilson. The cost is $20; fee waivers are also available, for those who qualify. Contact Megan Meisner, in the Main Office or at, to apply for a waiver. The deadline to register is September 27. This year’s PSAT/NMSQT will be administered on Wednesday, October 16, during the regular school day, from 8:15am - noon. Wilson will be operating on a modified schedule with an early dismissal that day, so please consult with the website and/or the bulletin for what the day will look like as it gets closer.

    If your student registers for the exam, please have them to school on time, well fed, and prepared for testing. We start checking in students at 8:15am and once the test begins, no student is admitted late. Students can find out their assigned testing rooms a few days before the exam.
    To find more resources on the PSAT and/or the National Merit Scholarship, visit here and here. Your student should make some time in the next few weeks to prepare.


    PSAT Scores

    Wilson 10th- and 11th-grade students who took the PSAT should look for an email around the week of December 11 with a link to access their PSAT scores if they entered an email address during test registration in October. 

    Students who did not provide an email address can get a paper copy when Wilson receives them in January. 

    Access your scores online so that you can take advantage of the free personalized SAT test preparation you can receive by linking your score report to the Khan academy website.  To do this you can follow the directions in the email you receive, or wait to get the access code on the paper copy in January.

    Remember that the PSAT is not reported to colleges.  The test scores are merely a snapshot of how you did on a test on a particular day and not a reflection of what you know.  There are many resources to help you improve your test taking skills on the college board website.

    Here is a link to score interpretation information and videos about the test and how to link your scores to the Khan Academy:

    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.

    How to View Your Scores

    From This Website:

    • Create a free College Board account.
    • While signed in, go to the score reporting portal.
    • Verify your personal information to view your scores.

    Using a Confirmation Email: If you provided an email address during testing, you’ll get a message when your scores are ready. Once you get the confirmation email:

    • Follow the instructions and create a free College Board account.
    • While signed in, go to the score reporting portal.
    • Use the access code from the email to view your scores.

    Using an Access Code
    If your school has given you an access code for scores:

    • Create a free College Board account.
    • While signed in, go to the score reporting portal.
    • Use the access code to view your scores.


    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.
    Includes a link for writing, reading, and math practice questions in addition to general test information.
    (after psat there is an _ in the web address)  Site includes practice tests in basic & advanced algebra, averages & rounding and basic operations.