What is Standardized Testing for College?

Eleventh grade students may take an optional PSAT in October.  We advise against any formal preparation for the PSAT. Juniors will take the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT when they are most ready to do so.  For some exceptionally strong testers, this may be sometime in the fall semester. Most juniors will sit for either exam in the period between February and June.  Both tests are offered regularly throughout the year including July in the case of the ACT and August for the SAT. Students should consult the test agencies websites (collegeboard.org, act.org) for specific dates and exams offered.  SAT-Subject tests are no longer required at most colleges. Some institutions, however, recommend them, while others will consider them if submitted. Given this wide range of attitudes, our best advice is that students consider taking Subject tests in those academic areas of their strengths or interests.  Taking these exams will require some additional level of preparation since no high school course is designed to fully cover all the topics on a Subject test. Subject tests are best taken at the conclusion of the highest level course in an academic area of study, most often in the spring of the junior year.  

Twelfth grade students may need to take additions tests in the fall.  SAT and ACT dates include opportunities in August, September, October, November and December.  Please confer with your college counselor.  

Sophomores are invited to take an optional PSAT in October as a practice test to gain familiarity with the SAT.  A practice ACT exam is also offered in the spring. 

Some tenth graders may consider taking an SAT Subject test in an appropriate discipline.

Some ninth graders may consider taking an SAT Subject test in an appropriate discipline.

The College Entrance Tests

List of 5 items.

  • The PSAT

    The Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), required of juniors in October, is a shortened version of the SAT.
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  • The SAT I: Reasoning Test

    The SAT Reasoning Test, a three-hour and forty-five minute test of verbal and quantitative abilities administered by the Educational Testing Service.
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  • The SAT II: Subject Tests

    The SAT Subject Tests, one-hour exams offered by ETS, are also used in admissions.
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  • The ACT

    The ACT Assessment is a test similar in nature to the SAT Reasoning Test that was traditionally administered to high school students in the Midwest.
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  • The AP Tests

    Advanced Placement Tests (APs) are not required for college admission. In fact, the results of APs are generally not available until after you have been admitted, since many students take the bulk of their AP exams during their senior year.
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Reporting Admissions Test Results

Although your Trinity transcript includes your SAT Reasoning Test or ACT scores and any SAT Subject Test scores, colleges will require official reports sent directly to them from the testing agency. It is your responsibility as an applicant to report your scores by 1) indicating a college as a score recipient at the time you register to take a test, 2) indicate the colleges you want to receive your scores at the time you take the exam, or 3) completing a request on the College Board website or by calling the College Board with this request. Please follow the instructions given by the College Board.

Subject Tests

List of 6 items.

  • Science

    Please consult the Chair of the Science Department for guidance on taking Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
  • Modern Languages

    There are several parameters for students taking the Modern Languages Subject Tests.
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  • Latin

    Most students enrolled in the Trinity Latin program take Latin Caesar-Vergil AP in the tenth or eleventh grade.
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  • Mathematics

    Two options exist for Subject Tests in Math: Level 1, and Level 2. 
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  • English

    The Subject Test in Literature is available to students who have a high level of verbal ability and sensitivity to language.
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  • History

    Students who have felt comfortable with the language and concepts of Trinity's courses in Modern European History and American History may consider taking the SAT Subject Tests in World History and United States History in the spring of their 10th and 11th grade years, respectively.
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When should I take the tests?

The following suggests when students might sit for these examinations. These are, however, general recommendations and students contemplating a particular test should first consult with the College Office or their teachers.

Grade 9
Physics: May, June

Grade 10
Latin, Chemistry, World History:
 May, June

Grade 11*
 March, May, June, August
ACT: February, April, June, July
Biology, French, Spanish, Literature, US History: May, June
Math 2: January for Honors sections, otherwise, May, June

*All students should have taken the SAT or ACT and perhaps a Subject Test or two Subject Tests before the end of the junior year.

Grade 12
Seniors may re-test in any area in consultation with their college counselor.
For early applications: September, October, November
For regular applications: October, November, December, January

Test Preparation

Standardized exams are like any other tests in that they can and should be studied for. The method of preparation will vary student to student—self-readied, group class or individual tutoring.  The decision to seek professional test preparation should be a personal one made by each family in consultation with your college counselor. Trinity sponsors a standardized test preparation course taught by Zinc Educational Services, hosted here at school.  The course runs from November to March each year and is low cost with financial aid available. Registration information is sent in September. While testing has its place in the college process, please keep in mind that the most important part of a student’s record is school performance—academic and extracurricular.  Standardized tests and the preparation for them should be kept in perspective.
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Located on Upper West Side of New York City, Trinity School is a college preparatory, coeducational independent school for grades K-12. Since 1709, Trinity has provided a world-class education to its students with rigorous academics and outstanding programs in athletics, the arts, peer leadership, and global travel.