• Entrance Exams
    Planning for college in terms of entrance exams can begin as early as sophomore year.


  • PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test)
    The PSAT/NMSQT is a program co-sponsored by the College Board and
    National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is not a required admissions test, but a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. When taking as a junior, it also gives students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.  Nationwide, less than 1% of graduating seniors qualify as semifinalists, so only a rare few will qualify. 
    Taking the test is voluntary.  Students pre-register in the spring, and take the test during school the following fall.  More information

  • ACT (American College Test) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)
    Colleges and universities require either the ACT or SAT college entrance exam, both of which are administered at Port Washington High School and other area test sites throughout the year.  They differ in format and design (see the brief comparison below).  While either exam tends to be accepted at most, students should be sure to check the specific school for their preference, and also meet with their counselor to discuss which test is best for them.  It is recommended to take the exam at the end of junior year.

    •  ACT
    • Curriculum-based (subject matter taught in high school)
    • 4 sections (English, Math, Reading, Science) plus optional Writing
    • Scoring - 4 scores of 1-36 for each section, composite score of 1-36 based on average scores from the 4 sections,
      optional writing test score of 1-12
    • No wrong answer penalty
    • Reading - Reading Comprehension
    • Math - Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry
    • Science - Analysis, Interpretation, Evaluation, Basic Content, Problem Solving
    • Essay - optional, topic of importance to high school students
    • SAT
    • Tests reasoning and critical thinking skills
    • 10 sections (3 Critical Reading, 3 Math, 3 Writing, and 1 unscored Experimental)
    • Scoring - 3 scores of 200-800 for each subject with a total score of 600-2400, score of 0-12 for the essay
    • 1/4 point deducted from raw score for each wrong answer
    • Reading - Reading Comprehension, Sentence Completions
    • Math - Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2
    • Science - not applicable
    • Essay - factored into overall score, abstract topic
  • ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery)
    The US military requires all applicants to take the ASVAB.  It is a multiple-aptitude battery that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military.  More information

  • Other Entrance / Placement Tests
    Technical and specialty colleges may use the ACT or SAT, or they may have their own entrance/placement tests that are administered after the application for admission has been submitted.  It is important for students to research the entrance requirements for the college they are interested in.