Science Tech Math Magnet » Testing Information

Testing Information


It is a fact that you will need to take many tests in life.  There are College Achievement Tests (SAT and ACT) which are required for entrance into most universities. There are college placement tests that might be required before you register for classes.  There are even tests that will be required for graduate studies. 

You can do a lot to make the process less painful.  Knowing which tests are needed, and being prepared ahead of time, will make you feel more comfortable and increase your chances of doing well.  It is important to take these tests seriously because they could be the deciding factor in your eligibility to attend your dream university or settling for something else.  Remember, getting accepted to college is very competitive!  You should do everything you can to prepare yourself to compete against other students.  THEY are probably preparing themselves right now too!  Following is a little information about some of the common tests that you may have to take, as well as links to the application websites and test preparation materials.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC or CAASPP) is given to all 11th grade students to assess progress in High School.  It is also used to determine the Early Assessment Program (EAP) of the California State University system and Community College systems.  If students score well on this test, they will be determined to be "College Ready" and will NOT have to take the CSU placement tests or Community College Placement tests.  This will also enable students to go directly into freshman English and College Level Math without having to take (and pay for) remedial classes. Scores for this test are available in early Fall and will become part of the student's transcripts.  Students will want to do their best on this test so that their transcripts will show universities that they are ready for college.  Students can access practice problems at Training Test Site.  Students will need their State Student ID to log in to the site. Ms. Steinert and Mr. Towar can give you that number.

The PSAT or Practice Scholastic Achievement Test - This is a test that is given to help students practice for the SAT.  We offer this test to students in October every year.  It is highly recommended that students take it when they are in the eleventh grade. It is a great idea for students to take it in lower grades as well. The good thing is that it is much less expensive that the SAT. You can visit the College Board website for information or try the Test Prep Practice website for sample tests.

Advanced Placement Tests - The Sylmar Charter High Science Tech Math Magnet offers Advanced Placement courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, Calculus, English Language, English Literature, World History, U.S. History, Government, Economics, Spanish Language, and Spanish Literature.  If students pass the Advanced Placement Test with a score of 3 or higher, they can apply for college credit from their university. Many selective universities will want to see that students have taken several Advanced Placement classes in high school.  Visit the College Board website for more information about Advanced Placement courses and tests.  There are many Advanced Placement Test preparation books available in book stores and online.  Don't wait until the last minute to study!

College Achievement Tests (SAT and the ACT) are required by most universities and are extremely important to the highly competitive colleges.  Even though courses and grades are crucial, the test results will be a substantial factor in the admission evaluation.  Early preparation is recommended for testing. Prepare for the SAT or ACT by reading books and manuals with testing tips and sample questions.  You can find these in bookstores and public libraries.  You should also consider attending workshops on how to prepare for the entrance exams.  These may be offered by local colleges and universities, and by private firms. There are web sites that can be useful. See below for the links to these sites.

College Board - this is the organization that administers the SAT Reasoning Test. You will register on their site when you want to take the test. You should plan to take the SAT Reasoning test in the spring of your junior year and then again in the fall of your senior year.  Please register early!  Spaces at local schools fill quickly, including Sylmar Charter High School.  You do not want to be driving 60 miles away to take an important test.  The College Board website also provides some preparation materials and a great college search feature.  EVERY STUDENT should have an account with them. Not only do they administer the SAT and PSAT, they also administer the Advanced Placement Tests.  You will go to their website when you want to send scores to your university. Get registered now, if you haven't already.
You will need to send your scores to the universities you are considering. You can indicate which universities you want when you register for the test. OR, you can send them after you receive your scores. Every time you register for the test, you automatically get four free score reports. You can use these free reports anytime between registration and nine days after your test date. After that, you must pay for each score report. You can send your scores to ALL of the CSU (Cal State) Campuses by using the CSU Mentor code, 3594. This will make your SAT scores available to ALL CSU campuses wile only using one score report. If you send your score report to ONE UC (University of California,) all UC campuses have access to that score. To summarize, you can send your scores to all UC and CSU campuses while using only two of your free score reports if you use the CSU Mentor code 3594 for the CSU score AND any one UC campus.
The SAT was revised for the 2016 school year! It is a totally different test so older materials may not help you prepare. You can check out this website for an overview of the new SAT.  The Khan Academy offers FREE test preparation materials for the new SAT.  You will need to create an account with them. They also offer may other tutorial resources.  Click here for Khan Academy SAT prep.

The ACT - is another college aptitude test.  It is similar to the SAT and can be substituted for the SAT at most universities.  You will register on their site when you want to take the test.  They also provide some preparation materials and information on college and career planning. 

Test Prep Practice - This is a site that has test preparation materials for the SAT, ACT, PSAT, GRE and many other tests that you may need to take one day.  Check out their numerous practice tests!

The Princeton Review is a company that makes test preparation materials.  They have materials for the SAT, ACT and many other tests.  They also have a great 5 minute Career Quiz that will help you figure out what you might like to do in the future.  You will have to create an account but it is free! Click on the 5 Minute Career link and then click START. is another website that has free test preparation materials for the SAT, ACT, GRE and vocabulary building. Try it!

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a test you will probably have to take if you want to go to graduate school.  You should begin preparing for that one at least a year before you need to take it. Check out Test Prep Practice or for this test.

College Placement Tests
Most colleges and universities require English and Math placement tests that must be completed prior to registering for classes.  We are not talking about the SAT or ACT here!  Most community colleges require them as well. You should carefully read the instructions on the web sites of the universities. Many colleges and universities offer exemptions to the tests.  The exemptions for California public universities are posted in documents below.  The document that explains the CSU exemptions is called "Cal State Placement Test Exemptions."  The document that explains the UC exemptions is called "UC Analytical Writing Placement Examination."  If you plan to attend a university that is not part of the UC or CSU system, you should check with their website to learn about their placement tests.  They probably require them.

The web site to apply for the CSU Placement Tests is:

You can find practice tests here:

Here is a document that will help you understand more about the CSU Placement Tests.  EPT and ELM Bulletin.
Cal State University EPT and ELM Exemptions

English Placement Test (EPT)The CSU EPT must be completed by all non-exempt entering undergraduates prior to enrollment in any course, including remedial courses. Students who score 147 or above on the EPT will be placed in college-level composition classes.

Exemptions from the EPT are granted only to those who present proof of one of the following:

• A score of 550 or above on the SAT Evidenced Based Reading and Writing section.

• A score of 22 or above on the ACT English Test.

• A score of 3 or above on either of the A.P. English tests.

• A score of “Standard Exceeded” or "Ready for college-level English courses" 11th grade CAASPP.

• A score of “Standard Met” or "Conditionally ready for CSU English courses” on the 11th grade CAASPP, provided you earn a “C” or better in both 12th grade English classes OR earn a 510+ on the SAT or 19+ on the ACT.

• Completion and transfer to CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in English Composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better.

Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) ExaminationThe CSU ELM must be completed by all non-exempt entering undergraduates prior to enrollment in any course, including remedial courses. Students who score 50 or above on the ELM will be placed in college-level mathematics classes. Exemptions from the ELM are granted only to those who present proof of one of the following:

• A score of 570 or above on the mathematics section of the SAT Math Test.

• A score of 23 or above on the (ACT) Mathematics Test.

• A score of 3 or above on the A. P. Calculus or Statistics examination.

• A score of “Standard Exceeded” or "Ready for CSU Mathematics courses" on the EAP taken on the grade 11 CST.

• A score of “Standard Met” or "Conditionally ready for CSU Mathematics courses" on the 11th grade CAASPP & provided you earn a “C” or better in Math Analysis, Calculus or TC Math Stats. OR earn a 520+ on the SAT or 20+ on the ACT.

• Completion and transfer to CSU of a college course that satisfies the requirement in Quantitative Reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better.

The web site to apply for the UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam is:

You can find sample essays and prompts here:

Here is the web site for the Los Angeles Community College District (Mission) placement test information: