ACT & SAT Information

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College Admissions Tests


There are two basic college admissions tests, the ACT and the SAT.  Students typically begin taking college admissions tests in the spring of their junior year.  Most students elect to take either or both of the tests more than one time. As part of the state testing requirement, all MCPASD students are required to take the ACT, free of charge, in the spring of their junior year.  

ACT Prep Course opportunity
UW Stevens Point is offering a virtual prep course on Oct. 10 for students interested in taking the ACT.  The fee is $45 and the deadline to sign up is Oct. 2.  See more information on their website

Pre-Tests  ACT ASPIRE and PSAT

ACT ASPIRE is a test offered to all students through the MCPASD. Students take the ASPIRE test in the spring of 9th and 10th grades. Information about the test can be found at

PSAT: The PSAT is offered by the MCPASD to sophomore and junior students on the national PSAT testing date in October.  The PSAT is used to qualify for National Merit Competition during a student’s junior year. Students should look for registration information in early September.  Students who may need accommodations should contact Denise Hanson, Coordinator of Intervention and Assessment at
608-829-9790 or as soon as possible.  

 **Collegeboard may take up to 7 weeks to process accommodation requests.



Test Format:

  • English: Measures standard written English and rhetorical skills.
  • Math: Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12.
  • Reading: Measures reading comprehension.
  • Science: Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences.
  • Optional Writing Test: Measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.


  • The ACT (No Writing) consists of four multiple-choice tests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The ACT Plus Writing includes the four multiple-choice tests and a Writing Test.
  • Answer every question. Your scores on the multiple-choice tests are based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for guessing.
  • English: 75 questions/45 minutes
  • Math: 60 questions/60 minutes
  • Reading: 40 questions/35 minutes
  • Science: 40 questions/35 minutes
  • Optional Writing Test: 1 writing prompt/30 minutes


Test dates:

Test Preparation:

Subject Tests:
Not applicable




Test Format

  • Reading Test:  All Reading Test questions are multiple choice and based on passages. When you take the Reading Test, you’ll read passages and interpret informational graphics. Then you’ll use what you’ve read to answer questions. The Reading Test is part of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section.
  • Writing and Language Test:  All questions are multiple choice and based on passages.  When you take the Writing and Language Test, you’ll do three things that people do all the time when they write and edit: Read, Find mistakes and weaknesses, Fix them. The Writing and Language Test is part of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section.
  • Math Test:  Most math questions will be multiple choice, but some—called grid-ins—ask you to come up with the answer rather than select the answer.  The Math Test will focus in depth on the three areas of math that play the biggest role in a wide range of college majors and careers: Heart of Algebra, which focuses on the mastery of linear equations and systems. Problem Solving and Data Analysis, which is about being quantitatively literate. Passport to Advanced Math, which features questions that require the manipulation of complex equations. The Math Test also draws on Additional Topics in Math, including the geometry and trigonometry most relevant to college and career readiness.  The Math Test is divided into two portions: Math Test–Calculator and Math Test–No Calculator.
  • Essay (optional but some colleges/universities may require it):  You will:  Read a passage. Explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience. Support your explanation with evidence from the passage.  The SAT Essay shows how well you understand the passage and use it as the basis for a well-written, thought-out discussion.

SAT Scoring





Total Score

Sum of the two section scores


Section Scores (2)

Evidence Based Reading and Writing;  Math


Test Scores (3)

Reading;  Writing and Language;  Math


SAT Essay Scores (3)

Essay is scored between 1 and 4 points in each of these three categories:

Reading: A successful essay shows that you understood the passage, including the interplay of central ideas and important details. It also shows an effective use of textual evidence.

Analysis: A successful essay shows your understanding of how the author builds an argument by:

  • Examining the author’s use of evidence, reasoning, and other stylistic and persuasive techniques

  • Supporting and developing claims with well-chosen evidence from the passage

Writing: A successful essay is focused, organized, and precise, with an appropriate style and tone that varies sentence structure and follows the conventions of standard written English.


Cross-test scores (2)

Analysis in History/Social Studies, Analysis in Science.  Based on selected questions in the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math tests.  These scores show how well you uses your skills to analyze texts and solve problems in these subject areas






Total test time:

  • 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
  • Reading:  65 min/52 questions
  • Writing and Language:  35 min/44 questions
  • Math:  80 min/58 questions
  • Essay (optional):  50 min/1 essay
  • Total test time: 3 hours and 45 minutes


**Students who may need accommodations should contact Denise Hanson, Coordinator of Intervention and Assessment at
608-829-9790 or as soon as possible.  Collegeboard may take up to 7 weeks to process accommodation requests.
Test Preparation:
Subject Tests:
Other ACT and/or SAT Test Preparation Websites: