Testing Calendar for Juniors – Class of 2022

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: November 12, 2020

Although many selective colleges have temporarily gone test-optional because of the pandemic, test-optional doesn’t mean “test-blind.” Not only will test-optional colleges consider your scores if you submit them, but submitting competitive scores that are well into a college’s mid-50% range for admitted students has the potential to improve your admission chances. For students who don’t submit scores, colleges will place far more emphasis on other crucial admission factors, such as your academic record, extracurricular commitment, essays, and recommendations. So, if you’d like to improve your potential for admission, here’s our advice about your junior-year testing calendar. This means YOU, members of the class of 2022:


When you get your PSAT scores in December, analyze the results overall and question-by-question to determine how you can improve your PSAT scores. Your score report lists your answers to each question alongside the correct answers, so you can specifically review the questions you answered incorrectly or omitted. Through your score report, you’ll gain online access to the test questions. In addition, many high schools return your actual test booklet with all your notes in it to help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses.


SAT-Study-GuideYou’re likely to take your first SAT in March of your junior year, giving you three solid months to prepare for it after you get back your PSAT scores. If you’re prepping on your own, use the College Board’s book of official tests, The Official SAT Study Guide, the only test-prep book on the market with REAL tests. You can also take advantage of practice questions and tests from Khan Academy, College Board’s official test-prep partner. When you register for the March SAT, request the Question & Answer Service. Several weeks after the test, College Board will provide you with the questions on the test you took as well as your answers and the correct answers a great tool for learning from your mistakes! This service is available only three times each academic year: October, March, and May. 

If you're trying to achieve a higher score for admission to your top-choice colleges, you still have several opportunities in 2021 to take the SAT again: May*, June, August, October*, November, December. And most of these dates will allow you to submit your scores in time for Early Action and Early Decision. Our SAT test prep tutors have been helping students improve their scores for decades.


ACT-Study-GuideBecause colleges treat the SAT and ACT exactly the same, consider taking the ACT instead of, or in addition to, the SAT. We believe that the December ACT is the best one for juniors to begin with because the Test Information Release is available for it: ACT will mail you a copy of the test you took, your answers, and the correct answers -- a great tool for learning from your mistakes! There’s a tome of actual tests with which to prepare for the ACT, starting with ACT’s Official ACT Prep Guide. In addition, ACT has its own online test-prep program.

If you need a higher score for admission to your top-choice colleges, you still have several opportunities to take the ACT again in 2021: February, April*, June*, July, September, October, December*. And most of these dates will allow you to submit your scores in time for Early Action and Early Decision. Our ACT test prep tutors are here to help!

SAT vs ACT Which is the Better Test for You?

As we noted above, colleges treat both tests exactly the same, so focus on whichever is likely to give you a higher score. Not sure? Then any of these five ways will help you determine which may be your better test – so that you can establish an effective testing calendar:

  1. Review the SAT vs ACT comparison chart below
  2. Contact your nearest Score At The Top Learning Center to schedule an SAT vs ACT assessment
  3. Register for our free test simulations to take an SAT or ACT under actual testing conditions
  4. Prepare for, then take an actual SAT and ACT
  5. And, of course, use your experience with the PSAT to gauge how you might fare on the SAT; the PSAT has always been a good predictor of SAT success.

5 sections:
• 1 Reading
• 1 Language and Writing
• 2 Math
• 1 Essay (optional)

4 answer choices for multiple-choice questions

Total | 3 hrs w/o essay
Time | 3 hrs 50 mins w/essay

~70 seconds/question, on average

5 sections:

• 1 English
• 1 Math
• 1 Reading
• 1 Science
• 1 Essay (optional)

5 answer choices for math
4 answer choices for other sections

Total | 2 hrs 55 mins w/o essay
Time | 3 hrs 35 mins w/essay

~40 seconds/question, on average


Combined score: 400-1600 (sum of first 2 scores):
• Reading & Writing: 200-800
• Math: 200-800
• Essay: 2-8 (3 scores: Reading, Writing, Analysis)

12 additional scores:
• 3 Test Scores: Reading, Writing, Math
• 2 Cross-Test Scores:
Analysis in Science, Analysis in History/Social Studies
• 7 Subscores: Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Command of Evidence, Words in Context, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving & Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math

Composite score: 1-36 (average of first 4 scores):
• English: 1-36
• Math: 1-36
• Reading: 1-36
• Science: 1-36
• Essay: 2-12 (plus 4 subscores)

4 subscores & indicators:
• STEM Score
• Career Readiness Indicator
• English-Reading-Writing Score
• Text Complexity Indicator

SAT & ACT: No penalty for wrong answers.



5 reading passages (700-750 words), 65 minutes:
• 4 regular passages
• 1 paired passage
• 52 questions

• US & world literature
• History & social studies
• Science

Includes informational graphics
4 reading passages (700-900 words), 35 minutes:
• 3 regular passages
• 1 paired passage
• 40 questions

Content (always in this sequence):
• Prose fiction
• Social science
• Humanities
• Natural Science
SAT Reading emphasizes vocabulary in context more than ACT Reading.
At least one SAT passage is more challenging than all of the ACT passages.
SAT tests ability to draw inferences/conclusions from evidence;
ACT tests speed & instant recall.

Writing / English


Revise & correct errors in 4 writing passages, 35 minutes ― 44 questions:
• Grammar & usage
• Punctuation
• Structure
• Rhetoric
Includes informational graphics
Revise & correct errors in 5 writing passages, 45 minutes ― 75 questions:
• Grammar and usage
• Punctuation
• Structure
• Rhetoric
SAT Writing emphasizes vocabulary in context more than ACT Writing.
SAT Writing questions > 50% rhetoric; ACT Writing questions < 50% rhetoric.
SAT Writing passages tend to require a higher level of reading than ACT English passages.



Content (Algebra is King!):
• Algebra 1 & 2
• Geometry (< 10%)
• Trigonometry
• Problem-Solving & Data Analysis
• Statistics, Probability
• Emphasis on word problems & questions in real-world context

• 80 minutes
• 45 multiple-choice questions
• 13 grid-in questions
• Math formulas provided (at start of each section)
• 1st section: no calculator (34% of all math questions)
• 2nd section: calculator OK
• Pre-Algebra
• Algebra 1 & 2
• Geometry (~25%)
• Statistics, Probability
• Trigonometry

• 60 minutes
• 60 multiple-choice questions
• No math formulas provided
• Calculator allowed on all questions
• Questions more straight-forward than SAT
SAT: almost ⅔ algebra, limited geometry;
ACT: more evenly balanced algebra & geometry.

SAT Math questions often require multi-step, multi-concept problem-solving.
ACT Math questions generally involve straightforward application of a single math concept.


• Optional
• 50 minutes
• Closely read and analyze a 650-750-word source document, then write about how the author builds his or her argument
• Optional
• 40 minutes
• Read a background paragraph on a complex issue, analyze and evaluate 3 perspectives, create your own perspective


No separate science section

Science infused in all sections of the test and reported as a separate “cross-test score”
Tests reasoning more than knowledge, and the ability to interpret tables, graphs, and charts in the context of topics from these fields:
• Biology
• Physics
• Chemistry
• Earth/Space Science

• 6 passages
• 40 questions
• 35 minutes

Test Dates

Dec 5, 2020
Mar 13, 2021 *
May 8, 2021 *
June 5, 2021
Aug 28, 2021
Oct 2, 2021 *
Nov 6, 2021
Dec 4, 2021

* Question & Answer Service available

Dec 12, 2020 *
Feb 6, 2021
Apr 10, 2021 *
June 12, 2021 *
July 17, 2021
Sept 11, 2021
Oct 23, 2021
Dec 11, 2021 *

* Test Information Release available

Another important distinction: ACT allows you to remove scores from your permanent record, while College Board only lets you cancel a score within four business days of taking the test, which means you never get a score on that test. So, essentially, the ACT is risk-free!


* SAT’s Question & Answer Service and ACT’s Test Information Release are available for these national test administrations.

Topics: ACT ACT/SAT Test-Prep Tutoring Educational Consulting SAT

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