Standardized tests are one piece of the admission process that provides supporting evidence for your academic performance. The two college admission tests are the ACT and the SAT. While both are used for admission, they differ in what they measure. Your college counselor will help you determine which test is best for you based on your preliminary tests and the colleges you plan to apply to.

The ACT is an achievement test and is designed to measure knowledge gained by the end of the junior year. For that reason, we strongly encourage students to wait until second semester of the junior year to take an ACT test. Students gain practice for the ACT by taking the Explore in the freshman year and the PACT in the sophomore year. To register for the ACT, or send your scores to a college or university, please visit the ACT website.


The SAT is an aptitude test and measures how you think and not what you know. Students gain practice for the SAT by taking the PSAT in the sophomore and junior year. The junior year PSAT is used for National Merit Scholarship qualification. The SAT Subject tests are generally used by a small percentage of colleges and universities, and are encouraged even if a school lists subject tests as optional. Unless the school specifies which subject tests a student should take, the student chooses their tests. To register for the SAT or SAT Subject tests, or send your scores to a college or university, please visit the College Board website.


Test Optional
There are an increasing number of schools becoming test optional in admissions. If the school you happen to be applying to is test optional, your college counselor will help you determine if you should take advantage of the test optional offering. Visit to view a list of schools that are test optional.

U of D Jesuit offers free test prep for all rising juniors and seniors through the Prep Me program on Naviance. Some students pursue outside test prep. If a student chooses to participate in outside tutoring, College Counseling recommends you read this article for helpful tips.

Test Dates
For the most up-to-date information regarding test dates, deadlines and registration, please click on the following links: