TESTING AT AOHS
SENIORS: Optional repeat SAT for seniors only on October 28, 2021. AOHS is covering the cost of this exam.
JUNIORS: PSAT/NMSQT on October 13, 2021; scores will come out in December. You will take your state-required SAT in April 2022.
SOPHOMORES: You will take the PSAT 10 in April 2022.
FRESHMEN: You will take the PSAT 8/9 in April 2022.
Argenta-Oreana High School administers the College Board suite of exams under direction from the Illinois State Board of Education in the following sequence during a normal school year. Students are required to take the SAT before they graduate, per Illinois state law. This is the typical exam schedule.
Each link goes to the test's information page on the College Board website. All tests focus on the same skills and are scored on the same scale, so each test will give the student an idea of how they will perform on the SAT in spring of their junior year. Most colleges and universities want a student's SAT scores when they're considering them for admission.
A student's score on each test will look like this:
Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Score (EBRW) + Math Score = Total Score
SAT ESSAY IN ILLINOIS: College Board removed the essay portion for the SAT for the general exam, however Illinois is still requiring it as part of our high school graduation requirement. So, you will have to complete the essay on your school day SAT, but if you repeat the SAT on your own, you will not take the essay portion again.
The Essay section score on the SAT is a separate score and is not figured into the total score.
Here is the range of scores a student could get with each exam:
Essay scores on the SAT: You'll receive three scores for the essay section on 1) reading, 2) analysis, and 3) writing. Each score will range from 2-8 points and are not added together for a total. Click to visit the page on SAT Essay scores.
Because College Board doesn't expect a freshman to perform at the same level as a junior, there are different benchmarks or "goals" that a student should strive for with each exam.
Why are these benchmarks significant? "Students with an SAT Math section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark (530) have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in algebra, statistics, pre-calculus, or calculus.
Students with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark (480) have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in history, literature, social sciences, or writing classes." (College Board page on benchmarks) In other words, these are the scores at which College Board would consider a student "college ready".
Community colleges will ask for your SAT scores to see if you can be automatically placed into college-level math and English (100-level courses or above). If you didn't meet their score, then you may be offered a placement test through that college to see if you can place higher. If you don't place into college level, you will be placed into "remedial" courses that have course codes below 100. Remedial courses are sometimes not accepted as college credit, but you still have to take them (and pay tuition) because they are prerequisites for higher courses. An adequate SAT score can automatically waive you from any remedial courses. Most community colleges use 480 for EBRW and 530 for Math, but that can depend on the math class the student needs for their major.
New Spring 2020: Illinois community colleges have also begun adding "alternative placement measures" for students who may not meet a test score. These measures take into account a student's high school grades and whether or not he/she took four years of math.
The Illinois State Board of Education has their own college & career readiness benchmarks, 540 for both EBRW and Math, and that score benchmark reflects the depth of mastery of the Illinois Learning Standards. ISBE's benchmark is used to evaluate the school as a whole, not individual students. ISBE's benchmarks will not affect an individual student in achieving their goals. Click for ISBE's State Performance Levels FAQs for Families.
Preparing for these tests
College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer FREE individualized SAT practice. The best way for a student to access this is to go through their College Board account, and send their scores to Khan Academy. This way, their practice activities and questions will be catered to their most recent PSAT or SAT results. Students can practice the skills that they specifically need to strengthen rather than just taking practice test after practice test. More information will be given to students regarding SAT practice at school.
Click for downloadable study guides for each section of the SAT.
They also offer full-length SAT practice tests.
Here are some sample SAT questions.
There is also an app with SAT practice questions called Daily Practice for the New SAT.
Information on the PSAT/NMSQT October 13 2021
Information on the Senior SAT October 28 2021
Taking tests on your own
The PSAT's and SAT offered at school on school days are free for AO students with the exception of the optional senior SAT.
If a student would like to pay to take the SAT another time on their own, they can sign up for a Saturday exam. You will likely have to travel to Decatur, Champaign, or Springfield. Click to see other available test dates. When you click "Register" under a test date, it will prompt you to sign into your College Board account. If you qualify for free/reduced lunch at school, Mrs. Mendez can get you a fee waiver. Just ask!
The ACT exam ceased being the Illinois state exam in 2016, however you can still take the ACT on your own if you're interested. Go to actstudent.org to find a testing date and location. You will likely have to travel to Decatur, Champaign, or Springfield on a Saturday morning. If you qualify for free/reduced lunch at school, Mrs. Mendez can get you a fee waiver. Just ask!
^^For both of these Saturday test options, you have to sign up AT LEAST one month in advance. The registration deadlines are listed on the websites.
If you take one of these tests on your own and want your new score on your transcript, all you have to do is ask. We have to list the score from the official school day test, but the others are up to you.
SAT vs. ACT scores-- click here for score translation between the two exams-- Don't consider this definitive. These are two different tests. Students may do better on one than the other just based on their skill set.
Sending scores to colleges
Each time you take the SAT, you can list up to four colleges to receive that score for free. If you qualify for free/reduced lunch, you can send that score to more colleges through your College Board account.
AOHS will also list your SAT scores on your transcript. After you complete a college application, you should request your transcript to be sent. Most colleges/universities accept scores from high school transcripts, so you don't need to do anything extra to get your scores to colleges. If you take one of these tests on your own and want your new score on your transcript, all you have to do is ask. We have to list the score from the official school day test, but the others are up to you.
TEST-OPTIONAL... What does that mean?
Most state universities have gone test-optional for admission, meaning a student can choose whether or not their test scores are considered as part of admission. Test scores may still be considered for the awarding of merit scholarships.
^^Keep in mind that Illinois requires high school students to take the PSAT/SAT regardless, and your scores add to the school's annual evaluation by the state, but I often get questions on the significance of the score in terms of college admission. This article explains that it's a grey area.