Which Test to Take?

Within reason, there is no cause NOT to take one test or another. There is also no reason to avoid another sitting of the SAT or ACT. Colleges will consider your best score in admissions decisions.

Understandably, there is often considerable confusion about testing. There are several tests. They sound alike. Some are required; some are not.

Gilman tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders have access to free online test prep through their Khan Academy and ACT Online Prep.

In an effort to keep it comprehensible, we offer the following definitions and descriptions.


Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the SAT is a three-and-half-hour test that measures the reading, mathematical and writing abilities the student has developed over many years, both in and out of school. Each section is scored on a scale of 200 (low) to 800 (high).

Please note that the colleges will use the highest score posted, regardless of when the test was taken.

If you are a Gilman student, we will receive a copy of your SAT scores IF YOU HAVE INDICATED THE SCHOOL CODE - 210-095 - on the correct forms. If no school code is included or if the wrong school code is indicated, we will not receive your scores. You are strongly encouraged to use the school code so that the score reports are sent to Gilman. They are a very useful tool in the advising process. Students who attend other schools should include the appropriate school code on their registrations.

Many colleges/universities insist that they receive score reports sent directly from the testing agency - SAT and ACT. The schools will need an "official" score report sent directly from SAT or ACT. More and more schools are allowing applicants to self-report their scores. 

SAT Subject Test

Subject Tests measure your knowledge or skills in a particular subject and your ability to apply that knowledge. A number of highly selective colleges/universities require or request SAT Subject Tests be taken by applicants.

The JUNE SAT date may be the best time to take some SAT Subject Tests. Consider taking the SAT Subject Test in any subject area whose study will conclude at the end of the junior year.


The ACT measures skills in four major curriculum areas, English, mathematics, reading, science reasoning, and writing. These areas are tested because they include the major areas of instruction in most high school and college programs. The ACT is scored from 1 (low) to 36 (high) in each of the four curricular areas. The highest possible composite score is 36.

Virtually all colleges will accept either the SAT or the ACT. Please see each school's guidelines for their expectations.

Unlike the SAT, the mathematics section of the ACT does require some trigonometry. Students who have particular trouble with the SAT are encouraged to take the ACT. Because there is a stronger emphasis on 'content' rather than 'aptitude,' students who have received especially rigorous instruction in core courses can occasionally score better on the ACT.

Another important asset of the ACT: Recently, more selective schools are permitting one ACT as an option to satisfy the traditional requirement of one SAT plus three SAT Subject Tests. Of course, because many colleges have slightly different testing requirements, it is best to look at the published requirements for each college.

Those curious about how SAT and ACT scores compare with each other can find the ACT-SAT concordance at http://www.collegeboard.org/.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement exams offer students the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced standing. Visit the College Board website for comprehensive information about AP fees, dates, and exam content.

For Your Information

Gilman School is an SAT test site.

Gilman CEEB code

Gilman test center code


SAT Customer Service


ACT Information

For vocabulary building and practice word puzzles, visit http://www.vocabulary.com/