College Entrance Exams

Idaho supports students in understanding and creating Next Steps after high school in a variety of ways. Taking a college entrance exam is a Next Step opportunity and a chance for students to receive resources and personalized feedback to assist in preparation for entry level college coursework. Every spring, Idaho coordinates and pays for a statewide college entrance exam, currently this is the SAT.

The SAT is available for all public high school juniors. The PSAT exam is available as a state paid opportunity for all public high school sophomores. Students and parents should contact their high school guidance/career counselor for information and local logistics on testing days.


IDAPA 08 Title 02 Chapter 03
08.02.03 – Rules Governing Thoroughness
105. High School Graduation Requirements

Temporary and Proposed Rule Effective June 16, 2017. Pending legislative vote to finalize in 2018. Updated language indicated in bold.

03. College Entrance Examination. (Effective for all public school students who enter grade nine (9) in Fall 2012 or later.) (3-12-14)

  1. A student must take one (1) of the following college entrance examinations before the end of the student’s eleventh grade year: SAT or ACT. Students who participated in the Compass assessment prior to its final administration may also use the Compass to meet this requirement. Students receiving special education services through a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may utilize the ACCUPLACER placement exam in lieu of the SAT or ACT.
  2. A student who misses the statewide administration of the college exam during the student's grade eleven (11) for one (1) of the following reasons, may take the examination during their grade twelve (12) to meet this requirement: (3-25-16)
    1. Transferred to an Idaho school district during grade eleven (11) and has not previously participated in one of the allowed college entrance exams outlined in Subsection 03.a;
    2. Was homeschooled during grade eleven (11) and is enrolled in an Idaho high school as a diploma seeking student; or
    3. Missed the spring statewide administration of the college entrance exam dates for documented medical reasons. (3-12-14)
  3. A student may elect an exemption from the college entrance exam requirement if the student is:
    1. Receiving special education services through a current Individual Education Plan (IEP) that specifies the student meets the alternate assessment eligibility criteria;
    2. Enrolled in a Limited English Proficient (LEP) program for three (3) academic years or less; or (3-12-14)
    3. Transferring from out of state to an Idaho high school in grade twelve (12).
    4. A school district, on behalf of a student, on a form established by the State Department of Education, may submit an appeal application requesting the Superintendent of Public Instruction or their designee consider another college entrance exam or college placement exam to fulfill this requirement, or exempt the student due to extenuating circumstances.
  4. A school district, on behalf of a student, on a form established by the State Department of Education, may submit an appeal application requesting the Superintendent of Public Instruction or their designee consider another college entrance exam or college placement exam to fulfill this requirement, or exempt the student due to extenuating circumstances.

As part of the SAT suite of assessments, the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test- NMSQT is coordinated and offered at no cost for Idaho sophomores. Although not required, districts/schools and students are encouraged to participate in this preliminary test. PSAT/NMSQT reports can be great tools for students and educators, and allow insight into strengths and needed areas of improvement.

Customer Service for PSAT:

PSAT General Questions: 1 (888) 477-7728
College Board's Services for Students Disabilities Program: 1 (609) 771-7137
College Board's SSD Program 1 (609) 771-7137

College readiness is a continuum. Colleges and universities utilize admissions test as one component of a holistic admissions process. Students scoring below the SAT® benchmarks can still be successful in college. A student’s SAT® score is only one snapshot of how they can perform in college or career. Many colleges and universities take a comprehensive look at the total student.

The New SAT®, administered for the first time in Idaho in 2016 has a number of features that are different from the Old SAT® such as:

  • No penalties for guessing.
  • Greater emphasis on the meanings of words in extended contexts instead of vocabulary in limited context.
  • The New SAT® has scores ranging from 400 to 1600.
  • Sub-scores are available for every test with additional question item analysis. Resources and practice materials and tests are available for every student free of charge.

On the New SAT, students are assessed on reading and writing (combined) and mathematics. An essay section that Idaho includes for the Statewide School Day Administration is scored and reported separately. Because of these differences, the New SAT and the Old SAT test scores cannot be directly compared. The College Board’s SAT Score Converter provides only estimates of score correspondence from one test to another. Caution must be used in using this table as it will not provide an exact comparison.

For explanation on SAT Benchmarks, refer to the Collegeboard website.

SAT Practice Resources:

The Khan Academy is a no-cost practice resource that can be linked to a student’s free College Board account. It provides personalized, interactive practice recommendations and offers four official full length practice tests as well as test taking tips. Educators can also access instructional resources via Khan Academy.

Customer Service for SAT:

1 (866) 253-0385
SAT School Day Support »
SAT Collegeboard »

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The ACT with writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 40-minute writing test. ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the US. The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT with writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 40 minutes if you are taking the ACT with writing). The ACT is administered on five test dates.

Idaho ACT Representative:

Rickard Moody, Ed.D.
1 (360) 866-6331
Richard.Moody@act.org

General Questions Related to ACT

(319) 337-1270

The purpose of the ACCUPLACER® test is to provide educators with useful information about the academic skills of their students in math, English, and reading. The results of the assessment, along with a student's academic background, goals, and interests, can be used to determine remediation and course placement.

Staring 2017, College Board introduced the next generation ACCUPLACER placement assessments. Users have the option of administering either the classic tests or the next-generation tests but not both at the same time.

Student practice/study prep available with a free downloadable app from the collegeboard website.

ACCUPLACER® Support:

Kathie Montognese
1 (917) 613-7014
kmontognese@collegeboard.org


Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
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