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.
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
High School Exams
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)
Students will participate in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) system by taking a series of computer-based tests developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium that will provide an academic check-up for students by measuring real-world skills like critical thinking and problem solving. These assessments offer significant improvements over tests of the past, including new types of questions and performance tasks that require students to apply a variety of skills to complete complex tasks that will prepare them for college and the workplace.
California Science Test (CAST)
The California Science Test (CAST) is an online assessment based on the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Natomas High School students are required to take the California Science Test (CAST) once in high school. Only eligible students may participate in the administration of the CAST. Additional information and resources at the California Science Test (CAST) website.
English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC)
The progress of English Learners is assessed by the Natomas Unified School district as required by state and federal law, and consistent with the district’s English Learner Master Plan. Progress in acquiring English is measured annually through the English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC), which includes assessing students’ ability to listen, speak, read, and write in English.
Advanced Placement (AP)
The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a cooperative endeavor that helps able high school students complete college-level courses and permits colleges to evaluate, acknowledge, and encourage that accomplishment through the granting of appropriate credit and/or placement. The AP program is national in scope; its policies are determined by representatives of the College Board member institutions and agencies throughout the country (public and private secondary schools, colleges, and universities) and are implemented by the College Board.
Advanced Placement exams are offered each spring. Students successful in AP courses generally have adequate preparation for these three-hour long comprehensive examinations. Each exam is administered once a year during the second and third weeks in May. Most colleges award credits and/or advanced placement for demonstrated subject area proficiency. College entrance with sophomore standing is available through the AP program at cooperating colleges. Additional information about the AP program is available in the site supplement and in the counselors’ offices.
Students choosing to take an AP examination are subject to a test fee which is charged by the College Board. The fee is currently $91. Fee waivers are available to students who meet certain criteria. See the College Board website for additional information. To find colleges and universities with AP credit policy information, please visit AP Credit Policy Search.