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Which test(s) should I take?

ALL U.S. COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES ACCEPT BOTH ACT and SAT! Submit whichever scores reflect your best performance! Check with the college(s) of your choice regarding their testing policy: do they require you to submit all scores? Just your best scores? Do they superscore (take the highest subsection from every test date to make a new, potentially higher composite score, sometimes even rounding up to the nearest whole number? (e.g., UNM does this.) Will they let you submit improved test scores that qualify you for a higher scholarship, after you've already been awarded a scholarship based on your lower test scores? (Some colleges do). Do they require the ACT or SAT optional writing section?  When in doubt, ask the college admissions or scholarship/financial department!


Also see the Test Preparation page for practice tests, online test prep sites and a lit of tutors!

Latest COVID TESTING UPDATE!  Jan. 2021 

Colleges are well aware of students' difficulties in taking both ACT and SAT during COVID and are prepared to be flexible with deadlines & requirements for testing. Many have gone "test-optional" at least for admissions purposes, and many for scholarship awards, too. See the website of the college(s) of your choice for updates!

Big news announced by College Board on 1/19/21: The are no longer offering SAT Subject tests, and will be discontinuing the optional SAT Essay after the June 2021 test! News release here.

ACT 2020-21 (scroll down for sat)

ACT Test Date Registration
Late Deadline*
(+ $35 fee)
Dec. 12, 2020 Nov. 16 Nov. 20 (no fee)
Feb. 6, 2021 Jan. 8 Jan. 15 (NO late fee!)
Apr. 17, 2021 Mar. 12 Mar. 26
June 12, 2021 May 7 May 21
July 17, 2021 June 18 June 25

Register here

  • Eldorado CEEB High School Code 320009: you need this to register.
  • ACT is always given on a Saturday morning. EXCEPTION: ACT offers some Sunday morning test times, traditionally only available for students who cannot test on Saturdays due to religious beliefs. 
  • Eldorado is NOT an ACT testing center; when you register, you'll be prompted to select from several schools in ABQ that offer the test.
  • What to bring: ACT test admission ticket (print out from website once you register), photo ID, calculator, #2 pencils with erasers, pencil sharpener, silent watch.
  • No cell phones or smart watches!
  • Cost: $55/$70 with optional writing section (see section below)
  • Late fee: $35
  • Standby testing (absolute last-minute): $56
  • Test date change or test center change fee: $35
  • Fee to send score reports to 5th and 6th college choices (1st 4 are included): $13 (must request online before test)
  • Fee to send additional score reports to colleges (after test): $13
  • Test Information Release (get copy of your test questions & answers: great for studying!): $22

ACT Writing Section: What you need to know

The 40-minute ACT writing test is optional, and is required by some U.S. colleges & universities. (At this time (Fall 2020), the ACT writing section is NOT required by any of our in-state colleges.)  Signing up for the ACT writing test adds an extra $15.00 to the cost of the test, for a total of $70.00. 

SAT 2020-21


   Test Date

Registration Deadline Late Registration (+$30 fee)
Mar. 13, 2021 Feb. 12 Mar. 2
May 8, 2021 Apr. 8 Apr. 27
June 5, 2021 May 6 May 26

Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. 2021 dates TBA



Register here:

  • Eldorado CEEB High School Code: 320009. You need this to register.
  • SAT is always given on a Saturday morning (exception: students whose religious beliefs do not allow Sat. testing; these students contact College Board for Sunday testing.)
  • NOTE: Eldorado is NOT a testing center for the SAT; when you register, you'll be prompted to select from several schools in ABQ that offer the test.
  • What to bring: SAT admission ticket (print out from website once you register), photo ID, calculator, #2 pencils with erasers, pencil sharpener (if you like), silent watch.
  • DON'T BRING: phone, smart watch
  • Cost: $52/$68 with optional essay (see section below)
  • Late fee: $30
  • Additional score reports (the first 4 are included) sent to colleges: $12
  • Question & Answer Service (purchase your test questions & answers: great for studying!): $18
  • Change fee (to change test date or center): $30
  • Waitlist fee (for absolute last-minute registration): $53

SAT Writing Section: What you need to know

The SAT writing section/essay is optional. Check with the college(s) of your choice to see if it is required. When in doubt, err on the side of signing up for and taking the essay portion.  At the time of this writing (Fall 2020), none of our in-state colleges require it. Adds $15 to the cost of the test, bringing it to $68.  Helpful essay information here.

SAT Subject Tests

As of January 2021, College Board is no longer offering SAT Subject Tests. News release here.

ACT/SAT Score Concordance

Click here for how the scoring of the two tests relate.

Fee Waivers/Discounts on ACT/SAT registration

Both ACT and College Board (makers of SAT) offer fee waivers for their exams, bringing the cost to $0. If you qualify for free or reduced lunch at school or believe you would qualify for a discount based on your family's income, contact Ms. Velhagen or your counselor to ask about fee waivers! You may be eligible for up to 2 waivers for ACT and 2 waivers for SAT. These can also lead to discounts on college application fees. Pay attention to test registration deadlines and ask early: the waivers may count toward late registration fees.

Good article re: ACT & SAT tests

brief video: what you need to know about act & sat

Fee Waivers

Students who qualify for APS Free or Reduced Lunch Program, or who meet specific income guidelines, qualify for up to two fee waivers for the ACT and two for the SAT (as well as waivers for college application fees). Students simply ask Ms. Velhagen for a fee waiver!

Other benefits: students who qualify for ACT and SAT fee waivers are also entitled to FREE college application fee waivers and free ACT & SAT test prep resources. Ask Ms. Velhagen for details!

Sign up for the Free or Reduced Lunch Program every year!