College Admissions Testing

PSAT - Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test

PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's a standardized test that provides first-hand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills.

The NMSQT portion uses the scores from the math, verbal reasoning, and writing to find the top 1% of the nation's juniors for eligibility in participating in Merit and Achievement programs.

The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are:

  • To receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • To see how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • To enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11).
  • To help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
  • To receive information from colleges when you check "yes" to Student Search Service.

The PSAT is administered once a year in October. Talk to your counselor to find out how to sign up for the test at Mission Hills. For more information about the PSAT, click the link below.

ACT- American College Test

The ACT is a college admissions test used by schools throughout the country to measure a student's educational development in English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. Scores range from 1 (low) to 36 (high) for each of the four tests. The Composite score is the average of the four test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. There is an optional writing assessment which is required by certain colleges; check the ACT website or the college website to determine if you will need this section. We encourage students to take the ACT Plus writing. This test is offered several times throughout the year. Mission Hills is not a test site for the ACT.

For more information about the ACT and how to register, click on the link below. Registration for the ACT is the responsibility of the student and ideally done online.

SAT Reasoning - Scholastic Assessment Test

The SAT Reasoning Test is a college admissions test comprised of three parts - a critical reading section (which tests skills such as vocabulary and reading comprehension), a mathematics section (which tests algebra, geometry, and other math concepts) and writing (grammar, usage, and word choice). The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college—skills that students learned in high school. The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors.

Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing sub-scores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year at various sites off campus. Mission Hills is not a test site for the SAT. Registration for the SAT is the responsibility of the student and ideally done online. Students can register though The College Board.

For more information about the SAT and how to register, click the link below.

SAT Subject Tests

Subject Tests (formerly SAT II: Subject Tests) measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, and your ability to apply that knowledge. These are one hour tests and students may register for up to three tests on one date. The SAT subject tests are usually offered on the same days as the SAT, but there are exceptions. Check the calendar carefully to make sure the test you need to take is offered on a particular date. Not all SAT subject area tests are offered every test administration.

Although UC's no longer require SAT Subject tests, it may still be suggested if applying to specific majors. Additionally, some private colleges require students to complete 2 of the SAT Subject tests. Check with the admissions office at the colleges you are considering and seeing if they require any SAT Subject tests. You can also look in the admissions section of their websites.

For more information about the SAT Subject Test, visit the following website:

AP- Advanced Placement

AP tests are placement tests taken after completing a college level course. These are high school examinations based on college level courses. AP exams are given once a year in May. The scores are primarily used for college placement, credit or advanced standing. The most highly selective colleges may also consider AP scores as part of the admission decision. Universities grant either advanced placement and/or credit with qualifying score. Tests are administered in May to students completing appropriate courses.

Unlike honors courses, students may earn college credit, depending on their AP test scores and the colleges' requirements. To find out more about AP tests, click HERE.


TOEFL is a college admission/placement test to evaluate English proficiency of students whose native language is not English. It's generally required of undergraduates seeking a first degree and graduate students seeking an advanced degree. The TOEFL is offered at over 300 test centers around the world and the computer-based test may be scheduled at the convenience of the student.

To learn more about the TOEFL test and how to register for the test, visit the following website.

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