The MN Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) is a state-wide test in math, science, writing or reading. Students are scored on a scale: below proficiency, partially proficient, proficient, and exceeds standards. The MCA tests are taken in April of each year. See the district calendar for this year’s testing dates.
Generally, students take one to two MCA tests per year.
Reading, Grade 10
Science, Grade 10/11
Math, Grade 11
The EXPLORE test is part of the family of tests from the ACT company. It is taken in grades 8 and 9. Results also give feedback about career interests and strengths. The EXPLORE test is taken in October of each year and results come back in the winter.
The Explore test includes four multiple-choice tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science.
Subject Number of Questions Length of Section English 40 30 minutes Math 30 30 minutes Reading 20 30 minutes ACT 28 30 minutes
The American College Test (ACT) is a standardized college entrance test used for admissions at most MN colleges and universities. The ACT test can be taken at grades 11 and 12. Many students opt to take the test more than once to try to improve their scores. Scores are on a scale of 1-36; though generally, scores at or above 22 will allow the incoming college freshman to not need to take any remedial courses in college. The ACT is offered many times throughout the year. Two fee waivers are available per student. ACT testing areas are math, English, reading, science, and (optional) writing.
Students need to create an account with ACT to upload a picture of themselves before coming to the ACT test session.
The Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) is an aptitude test. It tests material that may not have been directly taught to you. The SAT test is most commonly used for east coast colleges and universities. Fee waivers are available.
The Pre Scholastic Achievement Test (PSAT) is both a practice for the SAT and other standardized tests as well as a nation-wide talent search for the National Merit Scholar Program. The PSAT is offered as an option for students in grades 10 and 11 each fall at CHHS. Fee waivers are available.
Preparing for the ACT or SAT
Columbia Heights High School has a College Entrance Exam Course offered each fall. Students use online tools to review concepts for spring ACT testing. To find out more, check out the Course Registration Guide or talk with your dean.
Get Ready for Standardized Tests This Spring with Test Prep Tips and Practice Guides
ACT and SAT scores are a critical factor in college admissions, and while test scores alone do not determine whether a student is admitted or not, they do play a role in the overall evaluation of your college application.
If you’re unsure which test is right for you, learn the basics of both the ACT and SAT, and take a practice tests for each under realistic conditions. The results of these practice tests should give you an idea of which test is a better fit for you.
For those who know which test they’re taking this spring and need help prepping, here are some good practice resources and tips for the ACT and SAT:
·Not sure where to start in your test prep? The SAT Study Plan is a good first stop. While the “plan” is general, it provides some good resources to help you kick off your test-prep. For a real, in-depth test-taking plan and schedule, be sure to talk with your counselor or tutor about what you need to be doing in the weeks or months before the test to prepare.
·Both the College Board and the ACT offer practice questions to help students prepare for the exams. This is a great way to get practice material straight from the source.
·College Board also offers a full SAT practice test for free online (and also a printable version).
·If you’re taking an SAT Subject Test, College Board also offers practice questions for each of the 20 Subject Tests with detailed answer explanations.
·Since these tests are timed, strategy and overall test-taking efficiency is important. The ACT provides some good test taking tips for the multiple choice sections, as well as tips for the writing portion.
·In the days leading up to the test, keep your brain exercised with official daily practice questions for either the SAT or the ACT. If you prepped well in the weeks leading up to the test, you shouldn’t need to cram the week of. Stay sharp with practice questions but don’t exhaust your brain before the big day.
·The week of the ACT or SAT can be nerve-wracking, so here are some tips to help you stay organized and prepared.
·Also, make sure you know what to bring and what not to bring on test day:
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all resources, it’s a good place to start for official tips and practice questions straight from the people who make the tests.