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College Testing

The Counseling Department can provide you with more information on the Preliminary  Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), the Scholastic  Assessment Tests Program (SAT), which includes the SAT Reasoning Test (Evidence-based Reading &  Writing and Mathematics), the Advanced Placement Exams, and the American College Testing (ACT)Program.

Students should consult the college’s website to determine which tests are required or  recommended. Specific test dates are available at Dedham High School. Please visit the College Board  website at or the ACT website at for more information.  


The Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test  (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test that provides first hand practice for the SAT. It also gives students  a chance to qualify for National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSQT) scholarship programs. Since  only the top half of the top one percent of PSAT test-takers go on to be named National Merit Scholarship  winners. The PSAT is exclusive preparation for the SAT for the vast majority of students. 
Only once each year is the test given nationally. At Dedham High School, all junior and sophomore  students take the test. Before the test, students receive the PSAT/NMSQT Student Bulletin that contains  a full-length practice test that they can score. Counselors also encourage students to review the sample  PSAT/NMSQT Evidence-based Reading, Writing, and Math questions on the College Board website at
Students receive PSAT scores in the winter. A student’s PSAT Score Report can be accessed online  through the student’s College Board account. It provides personalized skills feedback for each student  based on their responses to test questions. For each area (Evidence-based Reading, Math, and Writing), a  student can review the question, question difficulty and access free online resources to develop a skill  further. Providing specific feedback, especially for younger students who still have time to improve skills, helps students prepare for the SAT and post-secondary education.

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) 
The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a standardized test administered by the College Entrance  Examination Board (CEEB) that most four-year colleges require for admission and placement into their  programs. 
SAT Reasoning Test 
On Saturdays, the SAT Reasoning Test is administered during the academic year at local area high  schools. Dedham High School administers the SAT Reasoning Test in August, October, November,  December, March, May, and June. 
Students can register online at  Students eligible for free/reduced lunch may  qualify for a test fee waiver. Students should see their counselor for more information on test fee waivers.  
The SAT scores provide colleges with a way to compare students' academic preparation and ability to  apply for admission. Although the high school record (grades, course selection, etc.) is the best single  indicator of how well a student will do in college, high schools can be very different in the courses they  offer and how they give grades. The SAT gives a student the chance to show colleges what they know and can do independently of the grades they receive. 
The SAT Reasoning Test measures students’ developed reasoning and critical thinking skills based on  curriculum-related test content and closely aligns with current high school curricula and instructional  practices. The test focuses on the college success skills of writing, critical reading, and mathematics.
Students may register for the SAT Reasoning Test online at  The CollegeBoard is  used to send official scores to colleges of their choice. Please note DHS cannot send official SAT scores. 
American College Testing (ACT) 
The ACT program is another college entrance exam students may take. Some students choose to take the  ACT in place of or in addition to the SAT. The ACT exam tests the knowledge of English, Mathematics,  Social Studies, and Natural Sciences. Visit ACT’s website at for online registration.  Dedham High School is not a testing site for the ACT. Check each college’s admissions page to  determine its test preferences. 
Advanced Placement Program (AP) 
Dedham High School participates in the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program. AP courses are  the equivalent of college courses. College credit for AP courses may be granted individually to students  if the student meets the exam score standards set by the college. There is a fee for each exam a student  takes. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch may qualify for a reduced fee through the College  Board and the Massachusetts Department of Education. 
Standardized Testing & Students with Disabilities 
Students on an Individual Education Plan (IEP), 504 Accommodation Plan, or provide documentation  from an appropriately licensed professional of a disability, may qualify for accommodations on the PSAT,  SAT, ACT, and AP exams. These students must see their counselor well before registration deadlines to  ensure that they follow proper accommodations request procedures. Students with disabilities must  complete a signed consent to apply for accommodations, which they can get through their counselor.  The testing agency (College Board or the ACT) reviews accommodations and approves or denies requests. Possession of an IEP or a 504 Accommodation Plan does not guarantee accommodations.  Please visit the College Board website and the ACT website for more information.  


A Typical Testing Pattern for Students 

Freshman/Sophomore Year 

Sophomores will take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. AP exams are administered in May for those  students enrolled in AP courses. 

Junior Year 

Juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT in October, the SAT Reasoning Test, and the ACT in the spring (March,  April, May, June). The AP exams are administered in May. 

Senior Year 

All students usually retake the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT in the fall of their senior year. AP exams are  administered in May.

Test Overviews