While standardized testing often receives a great deal of attention, it is important to know that test scores are just one of the many pieces that colleges consider during the application process. Many colleges no longer require test scores, and they are several standardized test options available depending on a student’s strengths and interests. Moreover, the importance of scores varies from student to student, depending upon the other attributes that he or she possesses. Seldom are scores used to measure the intellectual abilities of an applicant.

That’s why we think it’s helpful to consider testing as a “necessary evil,” an obstacle to be surmounted on the path to a college, and certainly not as frightening or all-important as some wish to believe. There’s no question that, all other factors being equal, high scores can aid an applicant’s chances at most colleges, but it’s equally true that small score improvements, often the result of random variation or natural maturation, tend to have little impact on the final admissions decision.

We feel that a long-term, rational plan of preparation is best, one that determines which test serves a particular student best: the ACT, SAT, or going test optional. With the use of practice tests administered at Laguna Blanca, students can gain comfort with the process and reasonably maximize their potential by identifying underlying weakness and systematically addressing them.

Don’t overdo it! Colleges are increasingly wary of, and wearied by, over packaged students who have relentlessly tested and sought to gain an advantage. Moreover, it’s important to remember that the hours spent in testing and test preparation might be better spent, perhaps through enrichment experiences, such as art, music, volunteering or work. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Mrs. Murray early in your Laguna career to discuss the issue and to develop a sensible, effective plan.


List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • PSAT

    In October of their sophomore and junior year students at Laguna Blanca take the PSAT. Laguna students are registered to take the PSAT and receive information about the test in September. This test serves as a practice test for the SAT, and is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). It is a three hour test administered during school hours.
  • SAT

    The SAT is designed to assess the skills necessary for success in college. The College Board administers the test and you can register online on their website. By the end of junior year it is highly advised to have one official set of results from the SAT.

    Testing time: 3 hours and 50 minutes
    Structure: Three tests
    Score range: Composite: 400-1600

    Test length and timing
    Reading Test: 52 questions | 65 minutes
    Writing and Language Test: 44 questions | 35 minutes
    Math Test: 58 questions | 80 minutes

    For more detailed information, including what to bring on test day, visit www.collegeboard.com.
  • ACT

    The ACT is designed to measure what a student has learned in school. The ACT includes four subject area tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science, plus a 30-minute Writing test. ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges in the United States. By the end of junior year it is highly advised to have one official set of results from the ACT Plus Writing.

    Testing time: 4 hours and 10 minutes
    Structure: Four tests, plus highly recommended optional writing section
    Score range: Composite: 1-36 | Essay: 2-12

    Test length and timing
    English Test: 75 questions |45 minutes
    Math Test: 60 questions | 60 minutes
    Reading Test: 40 questions | 35 minutes
    Science Test: 40 questions | 35 minutes
    Writing Test: 1 question | 40 minutes