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Navigating College Exams 

COLLEGE BOUND TESTING PROGRAM: 4-year Universities and Community Colleges
Soquel PSAT HS Code # - 053398  


Soquel HS SAT Test Center # 05-804 website:
Soquel HS ACT Test Center # - 208210 website:


The cost for the SAT test is $50 (Fee waivers are available to students on the free and reduced rate lunch program). College Board also offers SAT Subject Tests. The costs for ACT tests are: ACT No Writing $35; ACT Plus Writing $50.

PSAT: The PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test measures verbal and math reasoning abilities important for academic performance in college. It assesses ability to reason with facts and concepts rather than the ability to recall and recite them. The PSAT includes two verbal sections, two math sections and a writing skills section. This 2-hr + 10-min exam is given only once each year in October and is most often taken by juniors although 10th graders who completed geometry may choose to take the PSAT for practice.

The PSAT is not a required exam and is not used as part of the college admission process. However, it is very beneficial as a preview of the SAT I and as predictor of possible SAT scores. More importantly for juniors, exceptionally scores may qualify the student for a National Merit Scholarship. Registration for the PSAT is handled in the Soquel HS Finance Office where the test fee is paid and the study guide is distributed.

SAT I: Reasoning Test is an entrance exam required by most 4-year colleges. The 3-hr test that measures verbal and math abilities is administered at Soquel HS Test Center (Center #05-804) on 5 identified Saturday mornings throughout the year for a fee. Aptos HS Test Center is a good second choice site. Most students take the SAT I twice, as juniors in May or June and then again as seniors in October. Colleges will use the highest score for admissions. The informative registration booklet and helpful study guide are available in the Counseling Office. The University of California and many private colleges also required the SATII for admissions.

SAT II: Subject Tests are required in addition to the SAT I by UC, some out of state and many private colleges as part of the admissions process as well as for placement purposes. Each 1-hr exam measures your knowledge of a particular subject and your ability to apply that knowledge

The UC system and most of the other campuses require 3 tests. Writing and one of three choices of math must be taken in addition to one elective choice from literature, two areas of history, three sciences or eight world languages. Be sure to check the particular college catalog for specifics.

The registration process, test sites, etc. for the Subject Tests are the same as the SAT I. You may not take the SAT I and SAT II on the same day; however, you may take one, two or three SAT II Subject Tests on the same day. Each test is one hour during a possible 3-hr testing session. The best time to take a Subject Test is either after completion of the particular course (e.g., Biology) or at the end of a sequence of classes (e.g., Spanish 1,2, 3, test). Most students take two or three subject tests at a time, usually in June of their junior year and again in November or December of the senior year for most college admissions.

ACT: The American College Test, ACT, is very similar to the SAT I and may be used by most colleges instead of the SAT I. In fact, a few campuses prefer the ACT so be sure to check the particular college catalog. The ACT reports scores in English, math, reading, and science reasoning. The ACT is administered at the Soquel HS Test Center (Center #208210) on 5 Saturday mornings throughout the year for a fee. The registration form and study guide are available in the Counseling Office.

Advanced Placement Tests: Soquel HS currently offers the following Advanced Placement classes: AP English Literature, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP US History, AP European History and AP Spanish. Advanced Placement examinations are administered during January and May on campus, although you are not required to take the AP exam as part of your enrollment in these classes. If you score 3 or better on the test, you may earn college credit. Your AP teacher or counselor can give you more details.

CSU: English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM). After being admitted but prior to enrollment at any CSU campus, students are required to take the EPT and ELM unless otherwise exempt by means of previous test scores such as the SAT or ACT. The EPT and ELM are used for placement, to determine eligibility in specific courses. Test registration information and details about the actual tests are sent to newly admitted students by CSU with possible test dates. The test sites are the 23 CSU campuses. These tests may be taken only once. Students select the closest campus to their home rather than the campus they plan to attend. For example, SHS students can choose either San Jose State or CSU-Monterey Bay even if they plan to attend San Diego State.

UC: Subject A Examination. Students admitted to the UC system are required to take a writing competency exam unless otherwise exempt due to test scores on the SAT II Writing or AP English Exam. In early spring UC will mail each student a very detailed information booklet regarding the Subject A exam (locations, date, test format, sample topics). This test can be taken only once and is usually scheduled in early May. Students unable to take this test or not passing the test will be required to enroll in a writing course the first semester on the UC campus.

TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is required by colleges as part of the admissions process of students who have not completed at least 3 years of high school in an English speaking country. It is used to determine the English proficiency of students whose native language is not English. Information is available in the Counseling Office.

Assessment Tests: Students planning to attend Cabrillo College concurrently while still in high school or after graduation as a full or part-time student need to take Cabrillo's assessment tests.

  • enrolling in an English or math class for the first time

  • enrolling in more than 6 units needed to meet a course prerequisite

The assessment tests evaluate basic skills in math, English, and reading to assist students in choosing appropriate level classes. The tests include an objective reading test, a written essay and a choice of three levels of math, The tests, campus orientation and advisement program usually takes 4 hours. Students can make an assessment appointment by calling the Cabrillo Assessment Office at 479-6267.

Students are encouraged to take an English class as well as a math class during the senior year in an effort to better prepare for or review for this assessment process. If this is not possible, the assessment test should be taken after completion of the last class in that subject area. Assessment results are honored for 2 years. Sample tests are available at Cabrillo's Assessment Center or SHS Counseling Office. Early Assessment for Cabrillo is held at SHS in March.

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