Other than the five STAAR EOC Exams that you have to pass to graduate from high school, the next group of tests that you should consider are college entrance exams: ACT, SAT, and the TSIA. They matter because:
- They determine college-readiness. To show you are ready for the first class in your degree plan, you must show that you can get a high enough test score on the ACT, SAT, or TSIA. If you do not score high enough on these exams, you will need to take a remediation or “college preparatory” course when you get to college. These courses help you get ready for college-level coursework but they cost extra money, take extra time, do not count in your degree plan, and do not help your GPA.
- They determine whether you will be automatically accepted into a public university in Texas or a major program at the school. The score that you must obtain for automatic admission will depend on how selective the school is. It is a good idea to include these score cutoffs in your college research.
- They help you get scholarship money. Generally, the higher the ACT or SAT score you obtain, the more competitive you are for scholarships. Even if your school is test-optional, consider taking the ACT to get free money to help you pay for college.
- They help you get fillers. The most common reason why seniors are denied a filler is because they have not shown they are “college-ready”. See more information below on what the minimum scores to be college-ready are.
A good score generally depends on what your goal is. Here are the scores it takes to be college ready:
Here are some examples of what scores schools around Texas require for automatic admissions*:
*Competitive schools like UT, Texas A&M, and Rice generally do not have automatic admissions based on scores. UT accepts the top 6% automatically. Texas A&M accepts the top 10% automatically. Rice does not have automatic admissions. The lowest 25th percentile of their most recent freshman class had an average ACT score of 34.
During the pandemic, colleges have introduced more flexibility and choice into the admissions process. Many have decided to adopt a “test-optional” policy regarding college entrance exams, either temporarily or permanently. If a college or university has a test-optional admissions policy, that means they allow all or some applicants to decide whether to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. It doesn’t mean that schools aren’t interested in seeing all applicants’ test scores—but if a student doesn’t submit their scores, it won’t be counted against them in the application review.
From the College Board's What is a Test-Optional College? article
A WORD OF WARNING
Just because some schools are test-optional for admission doesn’t mean some areas of study do not require scores for placement or scholarships. For example, the University of Texas has a calculus readiness requirement for math-intensive majors, like engineering. You must score a 26 by the admissions deadline.
School DAY ACT
All sophomores and juniors who took Algebra I in 8th grade will be automatically enrolled. Other juniors and seniors will be invited.
National ACT TEST DAtes
ACT Tutorial Dates
This exam is recommended as the easiest option to demonstrate college readiness. It is not used for admissions or scholarships. You should take this if you intend on pursuing an associate’s degree in community college or need to qualify for dual credit.
Fall 2024 Test Dates*
*Juniors & Seniors are also usually tested on the day of the English I and II EOC. All student in geometry and algebra II take the TSIA math in their math class. All students in English IV take the TSIA ELAR in their English IV class.
The SAT is not recommended unless you have very strong English/Reading skills.
If you qualify for free/reduced lunch, you can also get a fee waiver to make your test free.