ACT and SAT Preparation

You'll find that NC colleges have different ACT and SAT requirements.  Some independent colleges are test optional, meaning that the college will rely on other factors to determine admission.  NC public universities require the ACT or SAT and have minimum score requirements. NC community colleges, don't require the ACT or SAT, but will use these scores to place students in the appropriate beginning courses.  You'll need to check  the requirements at the colleges where you are applying.

Students often take the ACT or SAT once in their sophomore or junior year, and then again in the fall of their senior year.  This allows you to take advantage of "super-scoring" where many colleges will consider the highest scores across test dates (for instance, your best English score combined with your best reading score).

Both the ACT and SAT provide a number of resources to help you prepare including sample tests, webinars, preparation books, and free online preparation courses.  Also, your high school might offer test preparation courses or workshops.  One of the most important things you can do is to become familiar with the subjects covered on the tests and the types of questions you'll encounter.  Here are some resources to get you started!


The ACT measures skills in English, math, reading, and science reasoning. You'll receive a score on each section and a composite score between 1 and 36. The ACT is offered during the school day for free to juniors at NC public high schools. Otherwise, it costs approximately $60-85 (with writing).

ACT Test Preparation Resources

Dates and Registration for ACT

The SAT measures critical thinking skills using questions in two categories: Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing, and Math. The total possible score range is 400-1600, and it costs approximately $55.

SAT Test Preparation Resources

SAT Preparation with Online Khan Academy

Dates and Registration for SAT

Talk to your school counselor to learn if you qualify for a testing fee waiver based on financial hardship.