Many four-year universities - including all of the four-year colleges in Washington state - have announced test optional applications. That means that  taking a first-time or repeat test may not be a required option for you.
    Many college admissions representatives are encouraging applicants to focus on the other parts of the application: an effective personal statement (if required); strong effort in coursework; evidence of extra-curricular, employment or volunteer activity that displays growth; and letters of recommendation (if allowed). In a nutshell, give the colleges you are applying to other good reasons to admit you.
    It is important to know this difference: "test optional" does not mean "test blind." That means that colleges may not require your SAT or ACT score for you to apply - but they may consider them when reviewing your application. Shorecrest recommends you check with all prospective colleges on your application list to determine whether or when they weigh exam scores.
    We know some students will still take the SAT or ACT.  To register for the SAT, go to  To register for the ACT, go to Need a fee waiver? Please see your counselor.
    As always, two-year/community colleges do NOT require the SAT or ACT.
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     Start practicing today with hundreds of previously unreleased Math, Reading, and Writing questions from real SATs and more than 200 videos that show step-by-step solutions to each question:

    Learn more about our SAT prep

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     ACT vs. SAT Comparisons 

    Most colleges accept scores from either test, so you can take the test that’s right for you. Your college application journey is likely starting with the question, “Which test should I take?” Use this guide from Kaplan to help you decide:

    Test Structure and Format




    3 hours, 35 minutes (including the optional Writing Test, not including breaks)

    3 hours, 50 minutes (including the optional Essay, not including breaks)


    4 sections*

    • English
    • Math
    • Reading
    • Science

    *Plus an Optional Writing Test

    4 sections*

    • Reading
    • Writing and Language
    • Math without a Calculator
    • Math with a Calculator

    *Plus an Optional Essay





    You will receive a composite score on a 1–36 scale. This score is an average of your scores on the 4 multiple-choice test sections (each section is scored on 1–36 scale).

    The optional Writing Test is not included in the composite score. You will receive 5 scores for the Writing Test: one overall score on a 2–12 scale and 4 domain scores, also 2–12, that are based on an analytic scoring rubric.

    You will receive an overall score out of 1600. This score is calculated by adding your score on the Math section with your score on the Evidence-Based Reading & Writing section (each section is scored on a 200–800 scale).

    The optional Essay is not included in the overall score. You will receive 3 scores for the essay: Reading, Analysis, and Writing, which are all on 2–8 scale.

    Wrong Answer Penalty

    No penalty for wrong answers.

    No penalty for wrong answers.

    Sending Score History to Colleges

    You can decide which score is sent to colleges. Note: all scores from your selected test date are sent.

    You can decide which score is sent to colleges. Note: all scores from your selected test date are sent.

    Topics Covered





    Key Ideas and Details
    Craft and Structure
    Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

    Command of Evidence
    Words in Context
    Analysis in History/Social Studies and in Science


    Preparing for Higher Math:

    • Number and Quantity
    • Algebra
    • Functions
    • Geometry
    • Statistics and Probability

    Integrating Essential Skills

    Heart of Algebra
    Problem Solving and Data Analysis
    Passport to Advanced Math
    Additional Topics in Math


    Interpretation of Data
    Scientific Investigation
    Evaluation of Models, Inferences, and Experimental Results

    Science content is not tested on the SAT, but the test does measure your ability to interpret charts, infographics, and data on scientific topics in other sections.

    A Science Insight Score, based on these abilities, is provided.

    English/Writing and Language

    Production of Writing
    Knowledge of Language
    Conventions of English

    Optional Writing Test (essay)

    Command of Evidence
    Words in Context
    Analysis in History/Social Studies and in Science
    Expression of Ideas

    Optional Essay


    Optional final section, 40 minute testing time

    Separate score, not included in composite score

    Topic presents conversations around contemporary issues

    Tests ability to argue a point of view in a clear way, using concrete examples

    Optional final section
    50 minute testing time
    Separate score, not included in overall score
    Topic comes from a 750-word passage to be read on test day
    Tests reading, analysis, and writing skills

    Frequently Asked Questions:
    "Which should I take - the SAT or the ACT?"
    Take five minutes and answer 13 questions for free to see which style works better for you.
    or check out this info-graphic:

    "How do I know if the college(s) I want to apply to require the writing portion of the ACT or SAT?" 

     See an updated list of schools requiring this at:

    (From the

    Colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. So which should you take?

    It's all about the numbers. Some students end up scoring substantially higher on the SAT; others do better on the ACT. In lieu of a crystal ball, we created The Princeton Review Assessment (PRA) designed to help you determine which test is better fit with your abilities.

    To help you zero in on the right exam, here are seven key differences:

    ACT questions tend to be more straightforward.

    ACT questions are often easier to understand on a first read. On the SAT, you may need to spend time figuring out what you're being asked before you can start solving the problem. For example, here are sample questions from the SAT essay and the ACT writing test (their name for the essay):

    SAT: What is your view of the claim that something unsuccessful can still have some value?

    ACT: In your view, should high schools become more tolerant of cheating?

    The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.

    If you're an ardent wordsmith, you'll love the SAT. If words aren't your thing, you may do better on the ACT.

    The ACT has a Science section, while the SAT does not.

    You don't need to know anything about amoebas or chemical reactions for the ACT Science section. It is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a given set of facts. But if you're a true science-phobe, the SAT might be a better fit.

    The ACT tests more advanced math concepts.

    In addition to basic arithmetic, algebra I and II, and geometry, the ACT tests your knowledge of trigonometry, too. That said, the ACT Math section is not necessarily harder, since many students find the questions to be more straightforward than those on the SAT.

    The ACT Writing Test is optional on test day, but required by many schools.

    The 25-minute SAT essay is required and is factored into your writing score. The 30-minute ACT writing test is optional. If you choose to take it, it is not included in your composite score — schools will see it listed separately. Many colleges require the writing section of the ACT, so be sure to check with the schools where you are applying before opting out.

    The SAT is broken up into more sections.

    On the ACT, you tackle each content area (English, Math, Reading and Science) in one big chunk, with the optional writing test at the end. On the SAT, the content areas (Critical Reading, Math and Writing) are broken up into 10 sections, with the required essay at the beginning. You do a little math, a little writing, a little critical reading, a little more math, etc. When choosing between the SAT and ACT, ask yourself if moving back and forth between content areas confuse you or keep you energized?

    The ACT is more of a "big picture" exam.

    College admissions officers care about how you did on each section of the SAT. On the ACT, they're most concerned with your composite score. So if you're weak in one content area but strong in others, you could still end up with a very good ACT score and thus make a strong impression with the admissions committee.

    # # # # # # # #  

    SAT & ACT Preparation Classes and Study Opportunities:  Practice test, six-session prep course, textbook and materials: $389. Register online using credit card: Questions? Email or call 425.305.7269.

    Study Smart at University of Washington – Seattle (UW Womens Center): Dates/times to be determined.

    ACT Test preparation 

    Kaplan Test Prep offers a variety of FREE online ACT prep classes:

    They also offer fee-based test prep, including a self-paced online option:

    EDGE Academics & Athletics: College Application Guidance with local Lake Forest Park-based program

    College Application Cafe' Summer Personal Statement Writing Workshops:
    5:1 student/instructor ratio. Enrollment limited to 10 students per session. 
    Approximate cost: $1,850. Includes application scheduling; researching college list; reviewing test-taking strategies; securing letters of recommendation; completing all personal statements, and primary and supplemental essays. Aug. 19-23 in Lake Forest Park, eight-hour sessions.
    College Application Workshops in November-March, by reservation. 
    Contact: Emily Gallagher. 206.240.6202/
    Sandweiss Test Prep                    
    Free diagnostic test offered before practice course series.
    Both ACT and SAT course feature 14.5 hours of classrooms instruction and several full-length tests. Class size limited to 12 students; one-to-one prep also available.
    Courses offered for SAT, ACT, SAT II and ISEE. 
    University District and Bellevue locations; lead by a Lake Forest Park couple.
    Saturday and Sunday classes available.
    $575 includes all books and materials.
    Varsity Tutors (local): 206.743.1564. 
    One-on-one tutoring.
    ACT and SAT tutoring.
    Free online classes at:
    FREE Kaplan Test Prep
    Take a FREE practice test every Saturday in Seattle. Register at 1-800-KAP-TEST. Other dates available.
    Online at

    Education Access Network -
    SAT and ACT Test Prep classes. Check the website for details
    Kaplan Private Tutors (Tim Hossain)
    Travels to student homes
    Seattle Kaplan Center
    421 University Way NE
    Seattle, WA 98105
    1-800 KAP-TEST

    March 2 Success: Teaming with Petersons and College Options Foundation, March 2 Success offers practice tests, flashcards and games to help students prepare for college entrance exams. Includes seven full-length, timed- and scored- practice tests for the SAT and ACT. When a section is completed, students can review their test and see detailed explanations. The practice test sections also include information about the test, test dates and tips and test taking strategies.

    Also offered: 25 decks of flashcards (20 Verbal and 5 Math) ranging in difficulty from easy to hard; Zero Hour Threat I & II SAT/ACT preparation games.  These games allow users to review for their test while playing an interactive game. Each question you answer correctly brings you closer to resolving the  game scenario.

    Teaming with Petersons, it also features practice test banks with detailed explanations in the following categories:

    • Social Science: A total of 1002 practice questions covering Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Financial Accounting and Personal Finance.
    • Nursing: Practice materials for all standards nursing entrance exams – PAX-RN, PSB-Registered Nursing School Aptitude Examination (RN), Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), and PSB-Health Occupations Aptitude Examination.
    • Technology: A total of 1200 practice questions covering Information Systems and Computer Applications, Introduction to Computing, Management Information Systems and Technical Writing.
    • Pre-Engineering: A total of 725 practice questions covering Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Physics.
    • Math: Includes 1194 practice questions covering Algebra, College-Level Algebra, Data Analysis and Probability, Geometry, Numbers and Operations, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Statistics and Business Math.  The Math unit also includes learning modules with interactive exercises.
    Applerouth Tutoring Services: Free full-length SAT or ACT practice tests under real conditions. Each test comes with detailed score report highlighting your personal strengths and weaknesses. Test at Seattle University on downtown's First Hill or at Bellevue College on summer 2017 Saturdays. 
    Prep classes for up to six students with three practices tests also available ($899).
    Details: 206.456.6864
    Education Access Network -
    SAT and ACT Test Prep classes. Check the website for details
    Dartmoor School -
    One-to-one tutoring at office locations (Bellevue, Issaquah Plateau, Seattle and Woodinville)
    13401 Bel-Red Rd #B4
    Bellevue, WA 98005
    Sylvan Learning Center -
    Contact: Tami Haan, 425-609-8257
    Locations in Everett and Lynnwood.  $960 for 34 hours of small class instruction,and $40 to $45 per hour for individualized instructional time.


    PrepNorthwest (Molly Metz and Terry Lin)
    Services provided in Kirkland.
    12006 98th Ave. NE, Suite 104
    Kirkland, WA  98034
    Chegg Test Prep: Access to SAT, ACT, and GRE test prep guides - including a link to the Top 50 strategies for SAT test day
    * designates a portion of registration feeds to support students through Shorecrest PTSA