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Gifted & Talented Education (G.A.T.E.) Overview



Many colleges consider students' standardized test scores as part of their acceptance criteria. Colleges will accept either the SAT or the ACT and do not prefer one over the other. Your counselor can help you decide which test might be best for you. There are several distinct differences between the two tests and you may discover that one test suits you better. A handful of students take both tests junior year, in order to discover a better fit. Juniors should take the SAT in March or May or the ACT Plus Writing in April or June.  These tests can be repeated in your senior year for a higher score.

Regardless of what SAT dates or ACT dates you choose, be sure to register early so you can have the best selection of testing locations.

Some juniors may also wish to take two or three SAT Subject Tests usually in June, as they have just finished studying for finals at that time. A handful of colleges require two SAT Subject tests, and some even recommend submitting three SAT Subject tests.

The University of California now requires only the SAT or ACT for admission. Students applying to the UC campuses may also want to take and submit two SAT Subject Tests to be competitive for the more selective campuses. If the scores are strong (equal to your SAT/ACT scores or better), you can include them in your application to give you a competitive advantage.

Select Subject Tests in areas that are your strongest. To help you determine which subjects to take, talk with your subject area teacher and review sample SAT Subject Test questions online. Please note that Language with Listening tests are offered only in November. For freshmen and sophomores in advanced classes, taking an SAT Subject Test at the end of the year may be advisable.

Senior year you will have three opportunities to retake both the SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests: October, November, and December. Similarly, you can take the ACT again in September, October, and December. All three dates will enable scores to arrive on time for private colleges, the UCs and the CSUs.