College Admissions Testing Information (PSAT, SAT, ACT)

College Entrance Exams

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT/NMSQT)

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/ NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). When taken in the junior year, the PSAT is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship competition. It is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. The test is administered once a year in October. 

Your high school preparation for college entrance begins with the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Natomas High School provides the PSAT at no charge to 10th grades in the fall each school year. Studies show that students who take the PSAT as a 10th grader perform 20-25% higher when they take the test the second time as an 11th grader.

The PSAT identifies the National Merit Scholarship candidates in the junior year and predicts the score for your SAT exam. It tells you your strengths and weaknesses and provides a focus for your SAT preparation. Please remember that depending upon advanced level course work; students may take certain exams out of sequence. Students are encouraged to discuss college plans and testing with Ms. Hernandez.

Benefits of taking the PSAT

Receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus on your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.

PSAT Practice Tests

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

The SAT is one of the most readily accepted college entrance examinations by colleges in the west. It is wise to take the SAT for the first time in your junior year and then use the test information along with test preparation materials (found in your high school career center) to improve your score. For more information on the SAT, visit SAT Home on the College Board website.

Preparing for the SAT

You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.

The PSAT and SAT both include:

  • A student written essay
  • Analogies eliminated
  • Shorter reading passages added
  • New content from third-year college preparatory math
  • Quantitative comparisons eliminated

College Board and Khan Academy have come together to change the way students prepare for the SAT. Get test practice with your own personalized questions:

SAT Practice Tests

Register for the SAT

American College Test (ACT)

Constructed as an achievement test, the American College Test, or ACT Program consists of four subject tests: English, Math, Reading Comprehension, and Scientific Reasoning. The ACT offers a 30-minute Writing Test as an optional component to the ACT. Many colleges accept ACT scores in lieu of the SAT. Although Natomas High School does not offer the ACT, check with the postsecondary institutions of your choice to make sure what the testing requirements are. Some colleges may allow for a combination of the ACT, ACT with writing, and SAT: Subject Tests or SAT and the SAR: Subjects Tests. Again, check with the colleges of choice.

Register for the ACT