Resources for Students

Standardized Testing Description

PSAT/NMSQT

The PSAT/NMSQT is given to all sophomores and juniors in mid-October during the school day. The PSAT test is a shortened, practice version of the SAT and it provides a good opportunity for students to get comfortable with the format, pacing and questions of the SAT. In addition, many of the AP courses at SJCS require a minimum score on one of the PSAT sections as a prerequisite, which will affect both sophomores and juniors when they register for classes for the following year. The eleventh grade results serve as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), which is owned and operated by the National Merit Foundation and co-owned by The College Board. National Merit scholarships are determined using this score alone. Scoring very well could bring national recognition and qualify a student for one of 9,600 college scholarships. It is well worth taking this test seriously by spending time in preparation.

ACT & SAT Test Dates 2018-2019
ACT Test Dates 2018-2019
Test Date
September 8, 2018
October 27, 2018
December 8, 2018
February 9, 2019
April 13, 2019
June 8, 2019
July 13, 2019
Registration Deadline
August 10, 2018
September 28, 2018
November 2, 2018
January 11, 2019
March 8, 2019
May 3, 2019
June 14, 2019
(Late Fee Required)
August 26, 2018
October 14, 2018
November 19, 2018
January 18, 2019
March 25, 2019
May 20, 2019
June 24, 2019
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SAT Test Dates 2018-2019
Test Date
August 25, 2018
October 6, 2018
November 3, 2018
December 1, 2018
March 9, 2019 *
May 4, 2019
June 1, 2019
Registration Deadline
July 27, 2018
September 7, 2018
October 5, 2018
November 2, 2018
February 8, 2019
April 5, 2019
May 3, 2019
(Late Fee Required)
August 10, 2018
September 21, 2018
October 19, 2018
November 16, 2018
February 22, 2019
April 19, 2019
May 17, 2019

*Subject Tests not offered on this date
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SAT
SAT Reasoning Exam

This 3 hour and 45 minute exam focuses on writing, critical reading, and mathematical reasoning ability. The writing section, with a 25 minute essay, is designed to provide colleges with a measure of writing reasoning and critical thinking skills. Critical reading emphasizes reading skills. Math contains enhanced college-preparatory math (Algebra II). It is recommended that students take the SAT Reasoning Exam for the first time in the spring of the junior year and again in October or November of the senior year. All testing should be finalized by the end of December senior year.

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SAT Subject Tests

There are nearly 20 offered in major academic disciplines. In addition to the SAT Reasoning Tests, many competitive colleges (about 50 in number) require two or sometimes three SAT Subject Tests. An hour in length, students may take up to three on any designated date. Please note that all tests are not administered on all dates. Subject exams should be taken as soon as possible after the student completes study of a single subject, for instance Physics, but as late as possible for subjects that are cumulative in nature like math. If a student is considering "most selective colleges," it is recommended that he/she take two or three Subject Exams by June of his/her junior year. They may be taken again in November or December of the senior year. Teachers are in the best position to advise students on which tests they are best prepared to take. All testing should be finalized by the end of December in the senior year. SAT Online Registration: http://sat.collegeboard.com/register

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ACT (American College Testing Program)

The ACT is another standardized college entrance test given several times a year. The test consists of four 35 to 50 minute sections and measures achievement in four areas: English usage, mathematics usage, reading comprehension, and science reasoning, and is curriculum based. In February of 2005, ACT added a 30-minute “optional” writing assessment. Post-secondary schools will soon be making the decision whether the writing assessment will be required. Students at St. Joseph’s are advised to sit for this optional section and are asked to check the requirements of the colleges/universities they are considering before registering. All colleges accept the ACT. For a test comparison of the SAT and ACT see the concordance table below. ACT Online Registration: https://services.actstudent.org/OA_HTML/actibeCAcdLogin.jsp

AP (Advanced Placement)

These three-hour examinations are based on a full-year college-level course in high school. If enrolling in an AP course, students are expected to sit for the exam in May. Academically qualified sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to include AP courses in their schedules.

Guidelines for Students with Disabilities

Before students with disabilities can take the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or Advanced Placement Exams with accommodations — such as extended time or the use of a computer — their request for accommodations must be approved by Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).  To start this process, please contact Aquinas Program director Carolyn Johnsen. Please note that it can take up to six months for accommodations to be approved.

Test Prep
  • Kaplan  As a “Kaplan at School” partner, all SJCS students have access to free online PSAT, SAT and ACT test prep courses, digital flashcards, and the Kaplan Quizbanks downloadable software to practice thousands of real SAT and ACT questions.
    • To access Kaplan’s free self-paced “On Demand” test prep programs for the PSAT, SAT, or ACT, ($199-299 value) or to take advantage of other services, click here to register. Any questions about the free online prep should be directed to 1-800-527-8378.
  • College Board online test prep for PSAT and SAT at https://sat.collegeboard.org/practice.
  • ACT online tests prep at http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/.
  • Khan Academy is another free online resource for SAT Prep as well as practice in any school subject area. Visit https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat.
  • SC Test Prep is a local Spartanburg company offering SAT and ACT preparation through six-week courses or individual tutoring. For more information, visit http://www.sctestprep.com/ or call 864-384-1021.
Helpful Books

There are many types of educational references to assist you in your search. While these guides vary in format, most include information on enrollment, curriculum, faculty, majors/programs offered, campus life, financial aid, cost, selectivity, and a profile of the most recent entering class.

General Guides

These guides specialize in factual/statistical information:

  • Barron’s, Profiles of American Colleges, 2010: This book lists general information on college facts and finances, college majors, and college profiles. Includes a CD-Rom.
  • College Board, College Handbook: This book includes separate sections for 4-year and 2-year colleges, an early decision/early action table, a list of colleges by type, special characteristics, size, admission selectivity, and colleges with NCAA sports by division.
  • Antonoff, The College Finder: This text offers information on more than 2,000 colleges arranged in more than 500 quick reference lists.
  • Peterson’s, Four Year Colleges 2010: This guide not only includes information on every US accredited four-year college but has nearly 1,000 in-depth descriptions and a majors index.

Special Guides

These guides offer a more subjective view. The narrative descriptions when used in combination with statistical information provide an excellent “check and balance” system to your college research.

  • Fiske Guide to Colleges 2010: This resource lists each college’s strongest departments and majors and is packed with student tips on academic and social life ratings for each school.
  • Fiske, Guide to Getting into the Right College
  • Pope, Looking Beyond the Ivy League
  • Pope, Colleges that Change Lives
  • Princeton Review, The Best 371 Colleges: 2010 Edition
  • Templeton Foundation, Colleges That Encourage Character Development
  • Thacker, Lloyd, Colleges Unranked: Ending the College Admission Frenzy
  • Yale, The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges

Guides for Particular Audience

  • Coburn & Treeger, Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years
  • Kravets & Wax, The Princeton Review, The K&W Guide for Students with Learning Disabilities: This resource lists colleges with special accommodations for learning disabilities by state and what those accommodations are.
  • LaVeist, DayStar Guide to Colleges for African American Students
    Peterson’s, Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders: In addition to detailed information on colleges with comprehensive programs for learning disabled students, there is a reference chart for you to quickly see what each college has to offer.
  • Peterson’s, Top Colleges for Science
  • The National Catholic College Admission Assistance, Official Catholic Colleges Guidebook

Guides for Majors, Careers, Finances/Scholarships, Sports

  • Cassidy, The Scholarship Book: This provides a complete guide to private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans for the undergraduates.
  • College Board, Book of Majors
  • College Board, Getting Financial Aid: One of the most practical guides to the financial aid process, this book also targets many common myths about financial aid.
  • College Board, Scholarship Handbook 2010: This book lists over 2,000 undergraduate scholarships, internships, and loan programs. Eligibility indexes allow you to search by many areas such as gender, minority status, and disabilities.
  • Leider, Don’t Miss Out: The Ambitious Student’s Guide to Financial Aid
    Peterson’s, Sports Scholarships & College Athletic Programs
NCAA Eligibility Center

If you want to play NCAA sports at a Division I or II school, you need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Learn more about playing college sports, by going to https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/.NCAA elegibility