Admissions Tests

General information

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Preparing For the SAT/ACT

Psat 8/9

Irvine Unified School District will be providing a FREE PSAT 8/9 to all freshman students that focuses on the classroom skills and knowledge your child will need to be prepared for life after high school.  The PSAT 8/9 is the first test in the SAT Suite of Assessments. Tightly aligned with SAT and PSAT/NMSQT, it establishes a baseline for college and career readiness and supports all students with early feedback on the skills and knowledge that matter most for college and career success.


Irvine Unified School District will be administering a FREE PreACT to all 10th grade stduents. This multiple choice assessment provides 10th graders with short practice for the ACT test, as well as a full view of students’ college and career readiness by identifying areas of strength and improvement for student success. With PreACT, you can get useful information to help your child choose the right high school courses, think about ways to work on areas for improvement, and even begin discussions about their college and career interests. This year, we’ve chosen to administer the PreACT as one of the first actionable steps your sophomores can take to become ready for college and plan for the future.


Irvine Unified School District will be administering a FREE PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) to all junior students.  This is an important step as students work towards college and career readiness. The PSAT/NMSQT provides practice for the SAT under real timed conditions, and colleges won’t see student’s scores.  Students with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program, and could potentially be awarded a Merit Scholarship. In addition, students will receive free college planning tools to help with their college search and information on the types of AP® courses for which they may be particularly well prepared.

The best preparation for college entrance exams is exactly what you are already doing, being an attentive student. Enriching your vocabulary, reading widely, writing frequently, and practicing math concepts is your best approach. Although professional test preparation is available, research shows that taking a prep class does not guarantee that your score will increase significantly. We suggest you study on your own the first time you take the test, then reevaluate your studying options after receiving your first scores. Do not wait until a week before you take the exam.

If you would like your student to opt-out of taking any of these practice exams, please follow this link to the appropriate opt-out form (located on the right-hand sidebar). 

    Suggested NO or LOW-COST ways to practice:

    Suggested Books:
    • The Real ACT Prep Guide: The Only Guide to Include 3 Real ACT Tests, Author:
    • The Official SAT Study Guide, Author: The College Board
    • The Official SAT Subject Tests (a separate book for each subject), Author: The College Board


    AP® and Advanced Placement® are registered trademarks of the College Board. Used with permission.