Most colleges and universities require admissions tests for students seeking admission. The ACT is the most commonly used entrance exam for students in the Midwest. Students seeking admission to schools on the East Coast or West Coast often times take the SAT. When registering for the ACT or SAT, students will need to use the school identification code: 501-980.


The ACT test contains four curriculum-based, multiple choice tests that measure academic achievement in the areas of English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, as well as an optional Writing Test, for which students complete an essay.

  • English Test (75 questions - 45 minutes)

The English Test measures the student's understanding of the conventions of standard written English (punctuation, grammar and usage, and sentence structure) and of rhetorical skills (strategy, organization, and style). Spelling, vocabulary, and rote recall of rules of grammar are not tested. Three scores are reported: a total test score, a subscore in Usage/Mechanics, and a subscore in Rhetorical Skills.

  • Mathematics Test (60 questions - 60 minutes)

The Mathematics Test assesses the mathematical skills that students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade twelve. The test requires students to use their reasoning skills to solve practical problems in mathematics. The problems assume knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills but do not require memorization of complex formulas or extensive computation. The use of calculators is permitted on the Mathematics Test. Four scores are reported: a total test score, a subscore in Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry, and Plane Geometry/Trigonometry.

  • Reading Test (40 questions - 35 minutes)

The Reading Test measures the student's reading comprehension as a product of referring and reasoning skills. The test items require the student to derive meaning from several texts by 1) referring to what is explicitly stated and 2) reasoning to determine implicit meanings and to draw conclusions, comparisons, and generalizations. The test comprises four prose passages that are representative of the level and kinds of writing commonly encountered in college freshman curricula. The passages are selected from published sources. Three scores are reported: a total test score, a subscore in Arts/Literature reading skills (based on the prose fiction and humanities sections), and a subscore in Social Studies/Sciences reading skills (based on social studies and natural sciences sections).

  • Science Test (40 questions - 35 minutes)

The Science Test measures the student's interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. The test is made up of seven sections, each of which consists of some scientific information (the stimulus) and a set of test items. The scientific information is conveyed in one of three different formats. One score, a total test score, is reported for the ACT Science Test.

  • Cost: ACT (No Writing): $42.50 ACT + Writing: $58.50
  • ACT Test Prep



Kaplan Test Prep

Test-Guide Practice ACT

*TBD: The ACT WorkKeys Grade 11 will be administered at Ithaca High School.*TBD: The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11 will be administered at Ithaca High School.

ACT Aspire
  • Linked to ACT College Readiness Benchmarks and aligned with the Common Core State Standards
  • Subject areas: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing
  • Testing Window: TBA (9th and 10th Grade)

Understanding Your ACT Aspire Results

  • Nearly every college in America accepts the SAT or Subject Tests as a part of its admissions process. That's why more than two million students take the SAT every year.
  • Cost: $57.00 (with essay) $45.00 (no essay)
  • Subject Tests: $26 per test.

Students wanting to attend technical colleges will be asked to take an entrance exam also. One common exam is the COMPASS test. This is an untimed test which is taken on a computer. The purpose of this test is to assess the student's current academic skills. The test results are used for advising purposes to help students register for the appropriate level courses. Testing is available at the Commercial Avenue Education Center; no appointments are necessary. Please see the testing schedules. If you have questions regarding the test, please call the Assessment Center at (608) 246-5220.


The ACCUPLACER is web-based and measures academic skill levels in language, reading, and math.

  • The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a rigorous, national assessment that measures the critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills for junior students and high achieving sophomores for higher education and careers after high school. Last year, over 23,000 schools opened the door to college for over 3.4 million students by administering the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • Date: 
  • Cost: $15.00
UW System Placement Testing
  • The UW Center for Placement Testing coordinates the University of Wisconsin Placement Testing Program for all campuses in the University of Wisconsin System. The program currently offers subject tests in English, Mathematics, German, French, Latin (UW-Madison only) and Spanish.
  • Dates: See placement testing link above 
  • Cost: FREE