SAT & ACT Information

SAT Suite of Assessments

Standardized tests can help students understand more about themselves, suggest where they need possible extra assistance, provide an idea on how they compare to others across the nation, and even supply possible career options. Regardless of the examination, to best help the student, each should be taken seriously.

The State of Illinois will be sponsoring a Fall SAT for the Class of 2021 on 9/23/20. All Seniors will be automatically registered for this exam. College Board projects an October 15th score release date for this exam administration. Under state law, every student must take the SAT prior to receiving a diploma and this requirement has not been waived by the state for this year. Seniors who do not test on this date will be required to do so on the October 27th make up date or in April.

D303 is sponsoring a Fall PSAT 8/9 for the Freshman Class on Tuesday, 10/6/20. This will be an online exam and students will need to bring their Chromebooks.

The Juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT exam on 10/14/20. The PSAT/NMSQT exam is a preliminary SAT that also opens the door to consideration for National Merit scholarships.

The Sophomores will take the PSAT/NMSQT on Thursday, 10/29/20.

The state-required SAT for Juniors will be offered on April 13, 2021 during the school day. Freshmen will take the PSAT 9 exam and Sophomores will take the PSAT 10 in the Spring as well. The Spring testing window is April 13-27, 2021.

There have been changes made to the SAT. The new version of the SAT, which made its debut in March of 2016, does not penalize students for wrong answers. Also, in the mathematics portion of the SAT, calculators may be used in some areas but not others.

We will be providing more SAT-related information during the school year. We encourage students to explore the free resources and practice testing through Khan Academy. Khan offers 8 official full-length SAT practice tests, plus study and testing tips. Research shows students who prepare for the SAT using Official SAT Practice see substantial improvement in their scores. Twenty hours of Official SAT Practice is associated with an average 115-point increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain compared to students who don't use Official SAT Practice. All students should set up an account at www.khanacademy.org for free personalized test prep!

National test Dates for the SAT & ACT 2020-21


Copy of SAT Test Dates 20-21

The cost of the basic SAT exam is $52. The SAT exam with the optional Essay portion is $68. Students may register online at the SAT website.

High School Code-143795

SAT Test Center Code-14555

Note: Sunday administrations of the SAT exam usually occur the day after each Saturday test date for students who cannot test on Saturday due to religious observance.

ACT Test Dates 20-21

Open the document above in a new tab to see all test dates. The cost of the ACT exam is $55. For those who want to take the ACT with the optional Writing test, the cost is $70. Students may register online at the ACT website.

High School Code-143795

ACT Test Center Code-189960

SAT vs. ACT

Do Colleges/Universities Have a Preference Between SAT or ACT?

  • No, colleges/universities do not have a preference between these two tests anymore. All colleges/universities treat these tests equally in terms of admission.

Should My Student Take the SAT or ACT?

  • In Illinois, all juniors must take the SAT for a graduation requirement. This test is offered during the school day usually in April. Some students may score better on the ACT than on the SAT. It is a good idea to take both (even if they are just practice tests), to determine if the ACT highlights a student’s abilities better.

What is the Difference Between the SAT and ACT?

  • The SAT has two sections, Evidence Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math Section, and an optional Essay test. The Math section is broken into two parts, calculator, and non-calculator. They also have open-ended questions for Math. The two section scores are added together to provide the total (out of 1600 total). There is no longer a penalty for guessing, and compared to the ACT, students have more time per question overall. The reading level of the SAT tends to be higher.

  • The ACT has four sections, English, Reading, Math, and Science, and an optional Writing test. The four subsection scores are averaged together for students to receive a composite score (out of 36). Students can use their calculator throughout the whole math section and all answers are multiple choice. Students tend to have less time per question than on the SAT, but the reading level tends to be not as high.

Do Illinois Colleges and Universities Only Take the SAT?

  • No! Both scores are considered equally for admission and scholarship consideration.

Should We Utilize Sending the Free Score Reports When Signing Up for an ACT or SAT?

  • This is a personal decision. We encourage students to take advantage of the four free scores ACT and SAT provide when registering for the exam, and consider sending them to colleges/universities where they are more certain of admission (though colleges will consider the highest overall score that is sent to them). College Board does allow students to send the free scores within nine days of taking the SAT (before students receive the scores, but it allows the student to see how the test felt). Some colleges/universities require students to send all of their test scores, so sending them ahead of time can save families money.

  • If students qualify for a test fee waiver, College Board allows for unlimited SAT score fee waivers and ACT allows for 20 score fee waivers (after students receive their scores).

How Does Khan Academy Work With SAT?

  • Khan Academy provides, free, customized, test prep for students. Students are able to connect their College Board account, with a Khan Academy account. Khan Academy will then take their current scores and provide support in areas that are needed. Use this link for SAT tips and strategies:

  • https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat/new-sat-tips-planning

SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests that you take should be based on the subject areas you enjoy in school as well as your academic strengths. The tests are a great way to indicate interest in specific majors or programs of study (e.g., engineering, premed, cultural studies). Certain colleges or programs of study require or recommend specific tests, such as mathematics or science, so it’s important to make sure you understand the policies prior to choosing which Subject Tests to take. If you have questions or concerns about admission policies, contact admission officers at individual schools.

See a list of colleges that require, recommend, or consider Subject Tests.

Helpful Links

ACT/SAT Concordance Table: click on the link to compare SAT and ACT scores

SAT Website

ACT Website

Khan Academy/Test Prep

ACT Academy/Test Prep

Local Testing Options

PSAT 8/9 Student Guide

PSAT 10 Student Guide

SAT Student Guide