College Board

This is the place for information about college board tests, the PSAT, the SAT, the ACT, and AP tests.

The PSAT (Preliminary SAT)

What is the PSAT?

The PSAT is the beginning of the qualifying process for National Merit Scholars and other awards. The PSAT is also a good practice test in preparation for the SATs. The SATs are required for acceptance and entrance into college.

Who takes the PSAT?

The PSAT is given in the student’s junior year of high school. For the 2008-2009 school year, the test will be administered on October 15 or October 18. Most students take the test on Saturday. Your high school will determine which date you should take the test and provide you with registration information. Online registration for the PSAT is not available.

What is the format of the PSAT?

The PSAT is slightly more than two hours long. It consists of two twenty-five (25) minute Critical Reading sections, two twenty-five minute Math sections, and one half-hour Writing Skills section.

Within the Critical Reading sections, there are two types of questions: Sentence Completion and Critical Reading. Within the Math sections, there are four types of questions: Numbers and Operation, Algebra and Functions, Geometry and Measurement, and Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability. The Writing Skills section will include identifying sentence errors, improving sentences, and improving paragraph questions.

How is the PSAT Scored?

Each student’s raw score is converted to a scaled score, although for PSAT drops the final zero to distinguish it from the SAT. Scores, therefore, range from 20 to 80 on the math, critical reading, and writing skills sections.

Where to get more info on the PSAT?


What is the SAT?

The SAT does not test intelligence, it may not be the best predictor of college success, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect high school grades. The SAT is designed to allow college admissions officers to judge all students by a common yardstick. These tests compensate for the unreliability surrounding high school grades because of school-to-school differences such as grade inflation and quality of teaching. They are designed to predict first-year college academic performance, not to torture you. The SAT tests math, vocabulary, and reading knowledge and skills. If you’ve taken the PSAT, you know the SAT format already: they’re the same, except the SAT has more questions.

Who takes the SAT?

The SAT is taken by high school juniors and seniors. High school juniors should take the test at least once near the end of the school year. For the 2008-2009 school year, the test will be administered on the following days:

Test Date Registration Deadline
10/4/2008 9/9/2008
11/1/2008 9/26/2008
12/6/2008 11/5/2008
1/24/2009 12/26/2008
3/14/2009 2/10/2009
5/2/2009 3/31/2009
6/6/2009 5/5/2009

Registration deadlines tend to fall approximately 5 weeks before each test date. It’s now possible to register online for the SAT ( To register the traditional way, fill out the Registration Form in “The College Board’s Bulletin for the SAT Program.” You can get a free copy of this publication through your school or guidance counselor. If this isn’t possible, call ETS at (609) 771-7600 and they’ll send you one free of charge.

What is the format of the SAT?

The SAT has three sections that are administered in a three-hour twenty-minute testing period. Each section is scored on a scale of 200 - 800.

  • The Mathematics section has two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. [70 minutes total]
  • The Critical Reading section also has two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. [70 minutes total]
  • The Writing Section has a 35-minute multiple choice question section and a 25-minute short essay section. [60 minutes total]

Where to get more info on the SAT?

Exam Preparation

The following web sites map be helpful as you prepare for college board exams. Note that some of these sites offer for-fee services.

Peterson’s Test Preparation

Princeton Review

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions:

SAT Subject Tests
AP Exams

Test Dates

The 2008 - 2009 test dates for the PSAT, the SAT, the ACT, and selected AP tests is listed below.

SAT (SAT or SAT Subject Tests)


10/4/08, 11/1/08, 12/6/08


1/24/09, 3/14/09, 5/2/09, 6/6/09



10/15/08, 10/18/08



10/25/08, 12/13/08


2/7/09, 4/4/09, 6/13/09

AP Exams

Spring: English Literature 5/7/09
English Language 5/13/09
Computer Science
(A, AB)
(AB, BC)
(B, C, C:E&M)
Biology 5/11/09
Chemistry 5/12/09
Other AP Exams Check Dates