College Entrance Exams and Standardized Tests

College Entrance Exams 


Many schools require college entrance exam scores as part of their college application. The SAT and the ACT are the two test that colleges usually consider. Most colleges will consider either test, but you should check the requirements of the schools you are applying too. There are some “test optional” schools that do not require test scores. If you will be submitting test scores, be sure that you have sent an official test score report to all the colleges that you are applying to. This can be done online through the test’s website. There is a fee to send test reports.

 Here is a great pamphlet to learn more about college entrance exams for universities and community college. It has information about average test scores, costs, and when to take the exams.

 College Entrance Exams

Test Optional Schools

Some “Test Optional” schools do not require you to submit SAT or ACT scores. These schools rely on the other parts of your application for admission decisions. Other schools have put less impasses on test scores in there admission process. These schools may only require scores if GPA does not meet a cut off score, for out of state, or may only use the scores for placement. A list of these schools can be found in the link below.

In NC, schools that are test optional or put less emphasis on test scores include:

 Apex School of Theology, Durham, NC; Barber-Scotia, Concord, NC; Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC; Bennett College, Greensboro, NC; Carolina Christian College, Winston-Salem, NC; Catawba College, Salisbury, NC; Guilford College, Greensboro, NC; John Wesley College, High Point, NC; Laurel University, High Point, NC; Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC


SAT- Scholastic Assessment Test

The SAT is a college entrance exam required by many colleges. The test is 3 hours and 45 minutes long. It consists of an essay on a prompt and a multiple choice section in reading, math, and writing. SAT scores are reported on a 200-800 scale per section. The composite score for the SAT is found by adding the Math and Reading sub scores. On this scale a perfect score would be a 1600.

You can register and pay for the SAT online at
If you qualify for free and reduced lunch, you can also receive a waiver to cover the cost.
See Ms. Graham in the Counseling office for waivers.

SAT tests are given at North Buncombe High School for the 2017-2018 school year in both October and March.

SAT Subject Tests
 (sometimes referred to as SAT II)

Subject Tests are one hour long tests in a specific subject of your choice, such as Chemistry, Latin, and World History. In one session of testing, you may take up to three subject tests. You pick which subjects you would like to take. Your results are reported on an 800 point scale, like a single section of the SAT. Subject Test show colleges your knowledge in a specific subject. Some competitive colleges, such as Duke, require subject tests. Many college may not require the tests but will consider them if submitted. 

For more information visit


ACT- American College Testing Program 

This is another test that many colleges will accept in their admissions process. The test consists of a 3 hour and 35 minute multiple choice section followed by an optional 30 minute essay portion. Before registering for the test, check with the college that you are applying to and see if they require the optional writing portion. Many colleges do and will not accept the scores if you do not take the writing portion. The multiple choice section contains one section each of english, math, reading, and science. Scores are reported on a scale from 1-36. All juniors will take the ACT for free during a designated school day in March.

The ACT is also given at NBHS in September of each school year, and other local schools throughout the year.

To register online visit
If you qualify for free and reduced lunch, you can also receive waivers to cover the cost of the ACT.
See Ms. Graham in the Counseling Office for waivers.

 Here is a comparison chart between SAT and ACT scores



This test is taken by all sophomores. The test resembles the ACT that students will take their junior year. It is designed to show students their strengths and weaknesses. The test will also give students a prediction on how they will score on the ACT as a junior.

For more information visit


PSAT/NMQST-The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

This test is in a similar format to the SAT. It gives students the opportunity to see what the SAT will be like and identifies their strength and weaknesses. The test will also predict students scores on the SAT. Juniors taking the test may be qualified, based on their scores, to enter into the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

For 2017, the scheduled PSAT/NMSQT is on October 11th.
Students can sign up in the Counseling office, and pay their $16 test fee by either cash or check. 

For information visit


AP Tests- Advanced Placement Test

These are tests that evaluate your knowledge based on a specific subject. At NBHS if you take an AP class, you must also take the AP test in that subject.  AP tests this year are to be given the second and third weeks of May. There are many different AP tests. AP scores are reported on a scale of 1-5. Scores can be accessed online beginning in early July. Depending on the school, AP scores may allow you to receive college credit for the course.

For more information visit