Testing ACT/SAT/AP

PSAT/NMSQT/National Merit Scholarships

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is co-sponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and is offered to high school students in October of the junior year. PSAT/NMSQT scores are used to select outstanding students as Commended or Semi-finalists in the fall of the senior year. Semi-finalists are asked to complete an application to become Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition. Finalists are notified in the spring of the senior year. Various colleges and corporations offer scholarship money to National Merit Finalists.

Summary of ACT and SAT

In light of COVID-19, many colleges have transitioned to test optional when reviewing applications. It is important to research if a college or specific program requires either the ACT or SAT. Students should take the ACT and/or SAT in the spring of their junior year. Tests may be repeated to improve a score.

Registration for either the ACT or SAT can be done online:

It is very important that the Barrington High School code number 140205 is used when registering for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to have official ACT/SAT scores sent to the colleges/universities to which they apply. Test scores are not on the BHS transcript.


The ACT is a multiple-choice test, divided into four parts: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science Reasoning. In addition, there is an optional writing test. The ACT scores range from 1 to 36 for each individual part as well as for the composite. The writing portion will add an additional 40 minutes to the ACT exam and will be scored from 1-12. Test dates with optional writing are the same as National ACT test dates.


The SAT consists of two subsections: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and Math. The composite SAT score ranges from 400-1600. Each subsection’s score ranges from 200-800.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

Students who plan to take the Advanced Placement (AP) Tests should check with their teacher in the respective subject area. The AP scores range from 1-5. AP Exams are given during the first two weeks of May. Visit collegeboard.org for the exam schedule. Information regarding registering for exams will be communicated to students and their families in the fall.

College Credit
Many colleges and universities offer credit or placement for certain exam scores. Consult the following page on The College Board’s website for more school specific information:

Rigor vs. Credit
A college or university may recommend (especially in the case of a more rigorous program) that a student take the course at that school rather than accept placement out of it. This is to ensure that the student has mastered the material necessary to be prepared for the next level.

Test-Optional Schools

There are a growing number of colleges where admission is now “test-optional.” Test-optional schools do not require candidates to submit scores from standardized tests. Again, it is important to research the details regarding a school’s test optional policy. Some of these colleges may require additional materials (eg. portfolio, additional essay, etc.) to be included in your application.

For a complete list of test-optional schools, visit www.fairtest.org.