PSAT®, AP®, and SAT®

Everything You Need to Know About These All-Important Tests

Testing for College-Bound High School Students

These three national tests are commonly taken in the junior or senior years by students who are considering attending a college or university.


As of July 1, 2015, a parent may provide a score from the ACT, SAT, or PSAT test that is equal to the fourth stanine on a standardized achievement test. A parent may submit the results of an ACT, SAT, or PSAT test administered at any time during the school year.

Although the ACT, SAT, and PSAT report may not provide stanine scores, percentile scores are usually reported. According to the Virginia Department of Education, students with a composite score at or above the 24th* percentile on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT will meet the requirement for academic achievement.

*HEAV has contacted the Virginia Department of Education to encourage consistency in using the 23rd percentile as the beginning of the fourth stanine on the bell curve. Historically, this has been an acceptable cutoff score for proof of academic progress.

PSAT/NMSQT ® exam Registration*

Public schools are required to notify homeschoolers about the availability of the PSAT/NMSQT®  exam. They are also required to administer the test to homeschool students who desire to take it.

Most students take the PSAT/NMSQT® exam during their junior year in high school. The PSAT/NMSQT® exam is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT® exam. It also gives students an opportunity to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

The PSAT/NMSQT® exam is administered each October. If your student would like to take the test this fall, contact your local high school well in advance to register for the test. Registration deadlines may vary from district to district. Online registration is NOT available. The test may also be available at some private schools.

The PSAT/NMSQT® exam number for Virginia homeschoolers is 994799.

Some schools districts have questioned administering the PSAT/NMSQT® exam to students under religious exemption. The Department of Education has indicated there is nothing to prevent a school from administering the test to religiously exempt students.

The PSAT/NMSQT® exam covers critical reading skills, math reasoning skills, and writing skills.

It does not require students to recall specific facts from classes. The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT® exam are:

  • to receive feedback on strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study;
  • to see how the student’s performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college;
  • to enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11);
  • to become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions the student will see on the SAT;
  • to receive information from colleges when you check “yes” to Student Search Services.

SAT® exam Registration*

Most students take the  SAT® exam during their junior and senior years, although students can take it earlier. It can be taken multiple times during the same year. The SAT® exam measures the critical thinking skills students will need for academic success at the college level. It assesses analytical and problem solving skills. Each section of the SAT® exam is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice and the essay.

The SAT® exam is scheduled six or more times each year beginning in October. Registration is required approximately 30 days prior to each scheduled testing date. Late fees are assessed for late registration. Students can register by mail, by phone, or on-line at The fee is approximately $54.50, with an additional fee for late orders. however, a waiver can be requested.

The homeschool number for the SAT® exam for all homeschoolers is 970000.

AP® exam Registration

AP® exam (Advanced Placement®) tests are administered in May of each year at public high schools and some private schools. College credit may be awarded based on AP test results. AP courses will help students develop study habits necessary for college level work and study subjects in greater depth and detail.

There are 33 courses and exams covering 22 subject areas. With a strong interest in the subject you plan to study and a willingness to work hard, a student can get a head start on college level work.

Arrangements should be made for testing with a high school or private school no later than March 1.
*Free reviews and practice tests for the SAT® and PSAT® exams, as well as many other tests, are available at

PSAT/NMSQT® is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and do not endorse, the services of HEAV 

[SAT® and AP® trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, the services of HEAV.