Standardized Testing

Along with an examination of your academic program and grades, colleges also examine the results of  standardized testing. Most colleges continue to require the SAT or ACT, and most competitive colleges also require the SAT subject tests. The SAT is designed to test your critical thinking skills in both the verbal and quantitative areas. Some colleges place more emphasis on standardized testing than others, while there are a number of highly selective colleges that are “Test Optional.” Some colleges understand that very able students don’t always test well and determine their true academic achievement and potential by examining their strong academic record rather than relying on a morning’s testing experience. Colleges interpret standardized tests in a variety of ways, which are discussed in individual meetings with The Summit's college counselors, but here is an overview of the tests with handy links for registration. 

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)

The PSAT is given at The Summit to all freshmen, sophomores and juniors in October. This is a two-hour and ten minute examination designed to measure verbal, mathematical and writing ability. Scores range from 20 to 80 on each section. This is used as a practice test to acquaint you with the kinds of questions on the SAT Reasoning Test. Scores are reported to you and to Summit, and used as predictors of later scores on the SAT Reasoning Test. Based on these predictions, you will be aided in determining a plan of preparing for future testing. The results of this test, for juniors, are used to select National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists and Commended Students. Those students receiving these honors are notified in the fall of their senior year.

SAT Reasoning Tests and SAT Subject Tests

Administered by the College Board, The SAT Test is divided into three parts: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Skills. This test lasts three hours and 45 minutes. The SAT Subject Tests, as the name indicates, are subject-specific. The score range for the SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests range from 200 to a high of 800. Some very selective colleges require or recommend that students submit results from two or three Subject Tests in addition to scores from SAT Reasoning Tests for admission or placement. Of the colleges that require these test, most ask for a math Subject Test plus one or two subjects of your choosing. You must check online information and application requirements!

Students who apply for Early Decision or Early Action should plan to take the SAT Reasoning Test and the requisite number of Subject Tests in their junior year. Subject tests are best taken in the same year that you complete the academic course in that subject area. Registration dates about 5 weeks prior to test administration. Students are responsible for meeting all registration deadlines. Students receive scores about four weeks after the test date. Unless students enroll in Score Choice, all of your SAT and SAT subject tests scores will be sent to colleges. Register here.


This is a three hour test that measures skills in four major curriculum areas: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. You must check with each individual college to see if they require the ACT Plus Writing. Summit’s recommendation is that you take the ACT with the writing. The ACT score range has a composite score range of 1 – 36 and each test sub-section has a score range of 1 – 36. With the ACT, you can take this test more than once and choose which scores get sent to colleges. Students who apply for Early Decision or Early Action should take the ACT in their junior year. Registration dates for these tests are about 5 weeks prior to test administration. Register at Test scores are reported about four weeks after the test date. Register here.

Advanced Placement Tests (AP)

AP examinations are given in May with specific dates set by College Board. These are three-hour, college-level subject tests used by many colleges for placement and credit. Save your AP Score Reports if you plan to self-report your scores on your college application. You are the only one who will send these scores to colleges, though higher levels of performance (scores of 4 or 5) may be cited by teachers or college counselors within the written recommendations that are part of the application process.

Testing Accommodations

The College Board and ACT may provide testing accommodations to students who have a documented disability (Learning Disability, ADHD or Health Impairment). This diagnosis must not be older than three years coming from educational testing performed by a psychologist. The accommodations for students at Summit have generally been given in the form of extended time. Other accommodations are available. If you feel you may qualify for testing accommodations or wish to discuss the procedure to document a disability, please contact Upper School Counselor Mike Fee.

Sending Scores to Colleges

Students are responsible for sending your test scores to colleges to which you choose to apply. When you are ready to report your scores for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests or ACT you should you should make a list of colleges to which you want your scores sent. Upon contacting the testing agency (College Board or ACT) they will send your scores. There will be a fee for each test score sent. The Summit Country Day School’s Code Number (CEEB) is: 361120

Test Dates

The Summit's College Counseling Office has prepared a one-page flyer for 2018-19 standardized testing dates, fees and registration deadlines. Print a copy.

At a glance, testing dates are:

  • PSAT: Oct. 10, 2018.
  • ACT: Sept. 8, Oct. 27 & Dec. 8, 2018; Feb. 9, April 13, June 8 & July 13, 2019.
  • SAT: Aug. 25, Oct. 6, Nov. 3 & Dec. 1, 2018; March 9, May 4 & June 1, 2019.