The College Board's SAT Program consists of the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT) and SAT Subject Tests. The SAT is three hours and 45 minutes long and measures skills in three areas: critical reading, math, and writing. Although most questions are multiple choice, students are also required to write a 25-minute essay. The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, mostly multiple-choice tests in specific subjects. These tests measure knowledge of particular subjects and the ability to apply that knowledge. Many colleges require or recommend one or more of these tests for admission.
The ACT test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple choice tests cover four skill areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The Writing test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.
The College Board's Advanced Placement Program (AP) test allows high school students to take college-level courses and exams and earn college credit or advanced placement.
Sixty percent of U.S. high schools currently participate in the AP program. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. and other countries have an AP policy granting incoming students credit, advanced placement, or both, on the basis of their AP exam grades. Many of these institutions grant up to a full year of college credit (sophomore standing) to students who earn a sufficient number of qualifying AP grades.