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College Entrance Testing

ACT and SAT tip sheet 

  • Testing Policy 101: Colleges across the US will take either the ACT or SAT test for admission review purposes. We advise our students to take one standardized test sometime starting in the spring semester of junior year. Developmentally, most students peak late in 11th grade into early fall of 12th grade so plan your testing calendars to match this.

  • National Test Dates and Registration Process: ACT and SAT both offer national test dates, typically seven test dates held on Saturdays over the calendar year. You can find the national test dates and register online at their respective websites (SAT) and Be sure to check your work, extracurricular or athletic schedules in advance to avoid date conflicts.

  • In-School MUHS ACT Test Date: MUHS hosts and offers a weekday, in-school ACT test date to all juniors, which will take place on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. The MUHS Counseling Department coordinates the registration process for this in-school test date. Junior families will be invited to register several months in advance and can opt-out of this test date if desired. Those who choose to take this in-school test date are billed for this test fee directly to their MUHS bill. All students on School Choice must take this in-school ACT test and no fee is assessed.

  • Registration Fees and Test Waivers: Registration fees will vary depending on when you register (early/regular, late or standby) and if you are taking the writing portion. If a test fee cost is a burden, please see your MUHS College Counselor about the possibility of a fee waiver for the process. ACT and SAT have eligibility requirements for fee waivers and MUHS is bound to comply with these requirements. Participating in the School Choice program does not guarantee a fee waiver for a national test date.

  • Student Photo Required: Students also have to take and upload a head and shoulders photo of themselves for registration and test security purposes. Please check respective websites for photo upload directions and deadlines.

  • Taking ACT or SAT With or Without Writing: The SAT and the ACT each have an optional writing section. You'll need to decide if you want to (or need to) take the writing when you register. You can always consult a college's website (usually under “Admission Requirements”) to learn if that college requires the writing test.

  • Choosing a Test Site: When you register for a national test date, you'll also have to check the test date for testing sites in the area and select a location for testing. The benefit of registering early is that your test site should be closer to home. Some students registering late have had to drive to Kenosha, Madison and Illinois. Please note: MUHS is NOT a national test date site for ACT or SAT.

  • Sending Test Scores to the Colleges: At the time of registration, you have the option to select up to four (4) colleges to receive your test scores automatically following the test. The benefit is that you won't have to pay an additional fee to send to colleges at a later date. Students will be able to select the particular test date(s)/test score(s) to send to their colleges for both ACT and SAT. Students typically send more than one score since most colleges will take the best composite but may consider sub-scores depending on major preferences. Some colleges may also “super score” which means they create a new composite based on the best sub-scores earned on different sections of the test on different test dates. Remember, sending your scores during the test registration process is not required. You are always welcome to wait to send your scores or feel free to consult with the College Counseling Center if you're uncertain.

  • How many times should I take a college entrance exam? According to experts from school counseling, college admission and test preparation fields, the best answer for the majority of students is two, or, at most, three times. A higher score on either test can play into an admissions decision as well as a scholarship decision, depending on the college. A second or third-time tester can benefit from being more familiar with the test format and environment. After a second or third time, score increase is found to be minimal and a student and parent needs to consider the diminishing return to the amount of time and energy expended away from important daily school work, life balance and sleep.

  • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: If your son has a documented disability, he may be eligible for testing accommodations including extended time, testing across days, a reader, etc. Documented disabilities and accommodations and the process/timeline for required documentation are provided by ACT and SAT. Appropriate forms with signatures and documentation must be postmarked by the deadlines set by the testing agency. In order to meet deadlines, families are required to get the appropriate paperwork to Mrs. Cleary in the Counseling Office well in advance of posted deadlines.

  • Test Preparation: There are free test materials including ACT Academy or SAT’s Khan Academy. MUHS hosts Wisconsin Test Prep, an eight-week test prep class that is held at MUHS in the early evening. We recommend checking a few resources to decide what the best fit is for your son. As far as recommendations go, please review this link for test prep options our students have used in the past. In addition, much depends on the student’s attitude-a student who wants to learn something about standardized testing probably will get more out of any prep sessions over a student who doesn’t want to take the class. Remember, everyone does NOT need to pay to have productive test prep.

  • SAT Subject Tests Discontinued: The College Board announced in January 2021 that SAT Subject exams and the optional essay (writing) portion of the SAT will be discontinued. Students no longer need to plan or schedule these test options offered by SAT.

  • Test Optional / Test Flexible: In recent years, a growing number of colleges and universities have gone “test optional” or “test flexible” which means they put less emphasis on standardized test scores (ACT and/or SAT) when making admission decisions. Review each of your prospective colleges to understand their test score submission requirements or options. For example, some colleges may require a test-optional applicant to complete an additional essay in the application in place of submitting test scores or you may find they still require a score for certain academic or scholarship program consideration. Over 1,800 colleges are currently using this practice. A searchable database of test optional colleges can be found at

  • Questions: As with all topics related to the college search and decision-making process, please feel free to contact the College Counseling Center.

ACT and SAT Testing Information

Getting and Sending SAT and ACT Test Scores

Services for Students with Disabilities

Various accommodations are provided by the testing agencies for students with documented disabilities including learning and reading disabilities and some health conditions. More details are provided through the following links.