College Admissions Exams (ACT/SAT/PSAT)

*Check with your prospective college campus for standardized testing requirements.

University of California (UC) Exam requirement:

UC will not consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or awarding scholarships.
For more information:

California State University (CSU) Freshman – Testing Requirements:

The California State University (CSU) no longer uses ACT or SAT examinations in determining admission eligibility for all CSU campuses.

For more information:


(ORHS School Code: 050602)

High school students generally take the ACT or SAT by the end of their junior year and retest in the fall of their senior year.

For SAT and ACT test dates and to register for these College Admissions Tests, visit the following websites for details:



*Both ACT and SAT Fee waivers are available to students who have applied and qualify for free or reduced lunch. See your counselor for details.

How the SAT Is Structured

The SAT takes three hours and consists of three tests: (1) the Reading Test, (2) the Writing and Language Test, and (3) the Math Test. Compared to the ACT®, the SAT provides 43% more time per question:

Component Time Allotted (minutes) Number of Questions/Tasks
Reading 65 52
Writing and Language 35 44
Math 80 58
Total 180 154

Most of the questions are multiple choice, though some of the math questions ask you to write in the answer rather than select it.

On all questions, there’s no penalty for guessing: if you’re not sure of the answer, it’s better to guess than leave the response blank.

How the ACT Is Structured

The ACT has four mandatory multiple-choice sections which are always presented in the same order: (1) English, (2) Math, (3) Reading, and (4) Science. There’s also an optional (5) Writing section for a total of five test sections.

The total test time without the Writing section is 2 hours and 55 minutes.

The total test time with the Writing section is 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Here’s what you can expect in terms of number of questions, time limit, time per question, and question type for each of the ACT sections:


Number of questions 75
Time limit 45 minutes
Approximate time per question 36 seconds
Question type Multiple choice with four answer choices


Number of questions 60
Time limit 60 minutes
Approximate time per question 1 minute
Question type Multiple choice with five answer choices


Number of questions 40
Time limit 35 minutes
Approximate time per question 52 seconds
Question type Multiple choice with four answer choices



Number of questions 40
Time limit 35 minutes
Approximate time per question 52 seconds
Question type Multiple choice with four answer choices


Number of questions 1
Time limit 40 minutes
Approximate time per question 40 minutes
Question type Essay prompt

How do the ACT and SAT differ?

Score range Composite: 1-36

(writing domain scores: 2-12)

Composite: 400-1600

(Essay reported in 3 dimensions, 2-8 each)

Structure 4 tests + optional writing 3 tests
Tests English, Math, Reading, Science Reading, Writing and Language, Math
Length 2 hours 55 minutes + optional 40 minute essay 3 hours
Fee ACT Test options and prices SAT Registration fee
Free Score Reports – 4  If requested when you register If requested when you register
Fee Waivers
Free Test Prep
No penalty for guessing
Accepted by all U.S. colleges

ACT and SAT Practice

ACT and College Board

Both the ACT and College Board offer free online sample tests, tips and practice.







The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is an exam given to high school sophomores and juniors. The PSAT is offered once a year, in October. The PSAT tests the same skills as the SAT and gives students the opportunity to gain experience taking standardized college admissions exams. For juniors, taking the PSAT exam can qualify students for National Merit Scholarships funds.

PSAT Score Report (link to

Understanding Your PSAT Scores (link to

Khan Academy and College Board

Khan Academy  provides FREE SAT Online test preparation that links to your individual PSAT results.

Create and Link your College Board account with your Khan Academy account for personalized SAT practice. IT’S FREE.

Steps for linking College Board and Khan Academy accounts