About SAT Testing

Standardized Testing (SAT, AP, ACT, etc.)


Standardized test scores give colleges some indication of a student's aptitude for college work, however these scores are only one of several criteria used in the admissions decisions. Colleges accept students with a range of scores; colleges resource books generally indicate the middle range of scores (25th to 75th percentile) for accepted freshmen. Test scores are one way a student can assess his/her chances for admission at a given college.

There is small list of colleges for which standardized testing is optional. For a list of these schools, check out

Testing Schedules

SAT schedule

ACT schedule

TOEFL schedule

AP schedule

SAT Registration Online

SAT II Information


SAT I Reasoning Test

The SAT Reasoning Test is the nation's most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. It tests students' knowledge of subjects that are necessary for college success: reading, writing, and mathematics. The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college—skills that students learned in high school.

The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge they have attained in and outside of the classroom—including how they think, solve problems, and communicate. The SAT is an important resource for colleges. It's also one of the best predictors of how well students will do in college.

Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories, and six times a year overseas.

SAT II Subject Tests

These tests measure a student's mastery of specific subjects. Scores are used primarily for placement purposes, sometimes allowing a student to bypass an introductory college course. However, they are also often used by highly selective colleges for the admissions process. Many selective colleges will "recommend" or "require" the SAT II (usually a writing test, a math test and a third subject of choice). Students generally take SAT II Subject Tests in June of their sophomore and/or junior years as they complete courses (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Math and U.S. History).


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The TOEFL measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is used in college and university settings.

Scores on the test are required by more than 4,300 two- and four-year colleges and universities, professional schools, and sponsoring institutions.

The test includes four sections (Listening, Structure, Reading and Writing), plus computer tutorials and a break. It takes between three and one-half and four hours to complete everything. The test is offered on computer at a testing center in South Portland.

Appointments are available throughout the year, but you must call at least three days before your first-choice appointment date. Centers fill quickly, so it is best to schedule your appointment early. You can only test once per calendar month. The busiest months are October, November, December, April, and May. The TOEFL costs $110; if you receive free or reduced school lunch, see your counselor to find out about a fee reduction. For more information on the TOEFL, visit the Student Services Office or


The ACT measures achievement, or what students have learned in the past, versus aptitude (SAT). It is another test that may be used in the admissions process.


Additional Information

  • Registration materials are available in the Guidance Office and on-line - for the SAT/SAT II and for the ACT.
  • Test fees are listed on the registration form. If you receive free/reduced school lunch, see your counselor to find our if you qualify for a fee waiver.
  • Important numbers:

200-820 Portland High School Code

20-270 Portland High Test Center Code for SAT (not all test dates offered at P.H.S. - check registration bulletin)

189520 Portland High Test Center Code for ACT (not all test dates offered at P.H.S. - check registration bulletin)

20-265 Deering High Test Center for SAT (check registration bulletin for dates)

  • Refer to the inside front cover of your registration bulletin for further information, services and telephone numbers.