College Entrance Exams

As you apply to colleges during your senior year, you must submit scores from one of two college entrance exams including the SAT Reasoning Test and/or the ACT exam.

The Tests

These tests can be nerve-wracking, but they should not stop you from wanting to apply to college. The more you know about the testing process, the better you will feel when you take the exam.

These tests are not pass or fail; they measure what you have learned so far in school. If you do not receive a high score, it does not mean you will not be eligible for college nor that you will not graduate from college. But you want to do your best when you take them.

The list below describes which admissions tests are required for each system:


  • ACT with writing or SAT Reasoning Test
    • The UC no longer requires the SAT subject tests, but certain programs on some campuses recommend them. You can also use subject tests to satisfy the "a-g" requirements.


  • ACT or SAT Reasoning Test


  • ACT or SAT Reasoning Test

Community College

  • not required

Make certain that you take the ACT/SAT Reasoning Test by December of your 12th grade since all UC campuses and some CSU campuses will not accept the scores after December. We do not recommend using score choice.

Remember, if you attend a community college after high school and did not take these exams, when you transfer you are NOT required to take these exams. However, if you do not attend a Community College and then decide to apply to a UC or CSU, you must meet their requirements by taking these exams.


Students also have the option of taking the PSAT, a test that allows you to prepare for the SAT exam which helps in learning hints and to practice. The fee for the PSAT is $14.00, but some programs offer free exams for qualified students. Check with your school counselor for more information.

Advanced Placement Courses and Exams:

These exams are offered in almost all high schools, but are not required for admission. High schools differ in how many courses offer the AP exam, but taking these classes will offer a good indication of what freshman in college will experience in their college classes. Benefits are:

  • preparation for college work
  • improves chances of being admitted to a competitive college
  • helps explore a possible major
  • builds self-confidence for college work
  • increases likelihood that you will graduate from college

AP exams cost $87.00 each, but some students can qualify for fee waivers. Get more information on earning college credit with AP exams.

Test Preparation

You can prepare for the SAT and ACT exams by:

  • taking challenging courses
  • reading books
  • taking your education seriously
  • doing your homework and getting good grades in your exams

Visit the following web sites for more specific information like application deadlines, test hints, and practice problems.

Upward Bound or your school counselor can offer you an exam free fee waiver if you qualify, but will not help you cover late fees.