College Advising

College admission testing requirements vary from college to college.  It is important that you research the testing requirements for all the schools on your list of prospective colleges.

Which Test(s) Should I Take?

  • All colleges in the U.S. will accept either the ACT or SAT​​​​​​​.*
  • Most will use your highest Composite Score on either test.
  • Some college superscore, which means they will take a student's highest sub-scores from multiple test dates and create a new, often higher composite score. 
  • You can compare your ACT and SAT scores here​​​​​​​.
  • Some, called "test optional colleges," do not require standardized test scores for admissions; they may require additional information, such as a graded essay or interview, and many also use test scores for merit scholarship awards.

Testing requirements vary widely, so be sure to check with individual college admission offices for details on what they look for in their successful candidates.

Some colleges require or recommend SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT. Some schools will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT Subject Tests. SAT Subject Tests are like multiple-choice finals. It is helpful to study for them and to take them as soon as possible after completing the appropriate course. Use this sortable list to find out which colleges require or recommend Subject Exams, how many, and which ones: www.compassprep.com/subject-test-requirements-and-recommendations/,

The PSAT/NMSQT is a practice version of the SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The ACT ASPIRE for 10th graders projects an estimated ACT score.

When Should I Take the Test(s)?

All 11th graders in Alabama public schools take the ACT in the spring of their junior year.  Students may also wish to take the ACT and/or the SAT on other dates, which you can find on websites maintained by ACT and College Board (SAT). Dates and registration information are below.

We generally recommend that students begin taking the tests no sooner than December of the junior year, although some students feel more comfortable beginning earlier. This is an individual decision; what is right for one student may not be for another.  

You can retake the tests as well, later in the spring or the fall of your senior year. As you plan for test dates, take into account factors such as rehearsals, performances, family travel, and any other obligations you might have. When you plan a sequence of testing, consider the following:

  • Some schools will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT II: Subject Tests.
  • You cannot take SAT and SAT II: Subject Tests on the same day.
  • You can take up to three SAT II: Subject Tests on the same day.
  • Not all SAT II: Subject Tests are offered on all testing dates (check the ACT or College Board testing schedules for details).
  • Some schools require or recommend particular SAT II: Subject Tests. Find out from the colleges on your list if any SAT II: Subject Tests are required or recommended.


2019-20 ACT & SAT Test Dates & Deadlines

ALL ASFA 11th graders will take the ACT in February 20, 2019 as part of state graduation testing. You will receive more information during the school year. In addition, students may register themselves  to take the ACT on one of the following national test dates:

In addition, you are encouraged to take or retake the test on your own on national test dates,. You must register on your own at:

ACT –  www.actstudent.org/regist/

SAT - https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register

Get ahead of the curve by deciding on your test dates in advance. Make sure you register ON TIME TO AVOID HEFTY LATE FEES.  Here are the test dates to help you get started:

Test Date



Late Registration

Multiple Choice Scores Available

August 24, 2019

SAT & Subject Tests

July 26, 2019

August 13, 2019

September 6, 2019

September 14, 2019


Aug 16, 2019

August 30, 2019

September 24 - October 8, 2019

October 5, 2019

SAT & Subject Tests

September 6, 2019

September 24, 2019

October 18 - 24, 2019

October 26, 2019


September 20, 2019

October 4, 2019

November 14 - 26, 2019

November 2, 2019

SAT & Subject Tests

October 3, 2019

October 22, 2019

November 15 - 21, 2019

December 7, 2019

SAT & Subject Tests

November 8, 2019

November 26, 2019

December 20 - 26, 2019

December 14, 2019


November 8, 2019

November 22, 2019

December 24, 2019 - January 7, 2020

February 8, 2020


January 10, 2020

January 17, 2020

February 19 - March 4, 2020

March 14, 2020


February 14, 2020

March 3, 2020

March 27 - April 2, 2020

April 4, 2020


February 28, 2020

March 13, 2020

April 14 - 28, 2020

May 2, 2020

SAT & Subject Tests

April 3, 2020

April 21, 2020

May 15 - 21, 2020

June 6, 2020

SAT & Subject Tests

May 8, 2020

May 27, 2020

July 15, 2020

June 13, 2020


May 8, 2020

May 22, 2020

June 23 - July 7, 2020

July 18, 2020

ACT (Not Offered in CA and NY)

June 19, 2020

June 26, 2020

July 28 - August 11, 2020

Test Preparation

Scroll to the bottom of this page to download a list of Test Prep Resources to help you get started. 
 Whether you prefer to work on your own, in a structured classroom setting, or with an individual tutor, there are plenty of options available, no matter what your budget.

There are plenty of free or low-cost options to practice, such as the PSAT and ASPIRE tests that 10th and 11th graders at ASFA all take, free full-length sample ACT tests available in the 3rd Floor Student Center, test prep guidebooks in the library, and several free online test prep sites. See Test Prep Resources linked at the bottom of this web page for details.

What are the Tests and Their Differences?
The following descriptions were taken directly from The College Board and ACT web sites:

ACT Assessment
The ACT Assessment is a national college admission examination that consists of tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science Reasoning. The ACT Assessment tests are curriculum based. The ACT Assessment is not an aptitude or an IQ test. Instead, the questions on the ACT are directly related to what you have learned in your high school courses in English, mathematics, and science. Because the ACT tests are based on what is taught in the high school curriculum, students are generally more comfortable with the ACT than they are with the traditional aptitude tests or tests with narrower content.

The SAT measures verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities that students develop over time, both in and out of school, which are related to successful performance in college.

SAT Subject Tests
SAT II: Subject Tests are designed to measure knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge, in specific subject areas. Students take the SAT II: Subject Tests to demonstrate to colleges their mastery of specific subjects like English, history and social studies, mathematics, science, and language. The tests are independent of any particular textbook or method of instruction. The content of the tests evolves to reflect current trends in high school curricula, but the types of questions change little from year to year. Note that not all colleges require SAT II Subject Exams, and some will accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT IIs.  The following web page offers a sortable list of colleges that require or recommend SAT II tests, but always double check all testing requirements with individual college admission offices: 

Sophomores and juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) in late October. It's a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT.  It also gives juniors a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs. 

Sophomores take the Pre-ACT as part of state testing. It provides practice for the ACT.

Fee Waivers
If you qualify for the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program, you automatically qualify for ACT and/or SAT fee waivers. Families must apply through the Child Nutrition Program Manager in the cafeteria. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch may contact Mrs. Karen Kennedy in the Student Center to request fee waivers. 

More information on SAT fee waivers and ACT fee waivers.

​​​​​​​More Information

The Compass Guide to College Admission Testing is a very detailed resource that you may wish to consult.