The SAT (officially known as the SAT Reasoning Exam) tests the student in three areas: critical reading, mathematics and writing.


The PSAT, or the Preliminary SAT, is a version of the SAT geared to high school freshmen and sophomores. The PSAT is jointly sponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which awards financial aid to a select number of students.


The ACT is an exam composed of four multiple-choice components: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. Unlike the SAT, the ACT does not have a mandatory writing section. Most competitive colleges in the East Coast require the SAT. However, certain schools do allow their applicants to substitute the ACT in place of the SAT.