About Admissions and Placement Testing

About Admissions and Placement Testing

Because colleges, universities, and technical institutes have varying admission policies, students should carefully research the admissions requirements for institutions to which they plan to apply. Your school counselor and advisor can give you advice on which test(s) may be right for you and how to register. All Georgia public colleges and universities accept either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT Assessment for admission, while private institutions, as well as colleges outside of Georgia, may prefer one test over the other. Be aware of the admission and testing requirements and deadlines for the schools in which you are interested.

College-bound students are encouraged to take one or both of these college admissions tests in the winter or spring of their junior year. Some students choose to take the tests more than once to increase their score with additional practice and time in the classroom. Most institutions will accept a student's highest subtest score from different test administrations to combine for the highest composite score. Some students choose to submit scores for both the ACT and the SAT to give colleges a more complete picture of their abilities. College-admissions tests require a fee, though fees may be waived for students from families with low incomes. Ask your counselor for more information about fee waivers if you think you might qualify.

SAT Reasoning Test
The SAT Reasoning Test is a national college-admissions test accepted by most institutions, including those in the University System of Georgia. The SAT consists of three parts— Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing— and requires approximately three hours and 45 minutes of testing time. The SAT includes several different question types, including a required essay, multiple-choice questions, and student-produced responses. For details regarding content of this test, registration, test preparation, test center locations in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta, testing dates, and fees, go to the student section of www.collegeboard.com.

SAT Subject Tests
SAT Subject Tests are one-hour tests that measure the student’s knowledge of a particular subject and his or her ability to apply that knowledge. Subject tests are available in 23 specific subjects. Some colleges and universities require one or more SAT Subject Tests for admission. Some colleges offer credit or allow students to be exempt from certain courses for high scores on SAT subject tests. Be aware of SAT Subject Test requirements and deadlines for the colleges or universities of your choice. Check www.collegeboard.com to learn more about the available subject tests, test center locations in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta, testing dates, and fees.

American College Test (ACT)
The ACT also is used for college admissions. The ACT consists of four multiple-choice tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Test-takers have 175 minutes to complete the test. Students also may take the optional 30-minute Writing test for an additional fee. Go to www.actstudent.org to register and to learn more about the test, test preparation, test center locations in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta, testing dates, and fees.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams
Optional subject-specific AP exams are given at the end of the school year and graded by the College Board. Many colleges either award college credit for passing the exams or allow a student to be exempt from certain courses. However, some colleges do not honor AP credit. Students should check with their college of choice. The cost to take each exam is approximately $86. However, the state Department of Education may cover the cost of one AP exam per year for each of the state’s AP students, subject to funding by the Legislature. (Students are required to pay a nominal registration fee.) Students who choose to take additional AP exams are responsible for the exam fees. Students with documented need may request financial assistance to cover the additional fees. The College Board sponsors the AP program. Learn more about the tests, exam fees, exam calendar, and more at www.collegeboard.com.

COMPASS is an untimed, computer-based test that helps colleges evaluate skills and place students in appropriate courses. This test does not have a fee for the student. COMPASS offers tests in Reading, Writing, Math, Writing Essay, and English as a Second Language (ESL). COMPASS is not scored in the traditional sense, but rather provides a report of a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, allowing for the most appropriate placement in college classes and additional support, if needed. Most colleges administer COMPASS during freshman orientation, before students register for classes. In Georgia, technical colleges (including Gwinnett Technical College), most two-year colleges, and many four-year colleges and universities use COMPASS in the admissions process. Talk to your counselor or advisor to learn more or go to www.act.org/compass/student/index.html.