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College Entrance Exams

If students are planning on applying to a 4 year college or university, they must take a college entrance exam – the ACT or the SAT.



The college entrance exam the majority of HHS students take is the ACT (American College Test). This test is required by most colleges and universities in the Midwest. The ACT is offered at HHS in September. HHS students are not guaranteed a spot at the HHS test site. All registration is done through ACT and placement is based on space available at the time you register. 

REGISTER EARLY! The test is also offered at several other locations including Inver Hills CC, Red Wing and Cannon Falls High Schools, and UW-River Falls. We do encourage students to register for the ACT Plus Writing option (as opposed to Multiple Choice Only).

Registration is done online at www.actstudent.org. The registration process is lengthy and will take some time to complete (including uploading a photograph). In the section that requests information regarding your grades, it is acceptable to "guesstimate."  Your high school code is 241050, and the Hastings High School test center code is 210500. 

After you submit your registration, ACT will send you confirmation of your registration. Bring your admission ticket, an ACT approved calculator and #2 pencils with you on the day of the test. The test starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m.




Attention parents of the class of 2016:

In 2014-15, all Minnesota high school juniors will begin taking the ACT, free of charge, under new graduation requirements approved by the 2013 state legislature.

What does this mean for your student?

It means all juniors will take the ACT on Tuesday April 28th, 2015 DURING the school day. Students do NOT need to register or pay to take the test on their own! 

What can students do now? 

Prepare for the test!  Not only does taking this test meet the state requirement, but it is also one of the factors colleges and universities use to determine admission.  How students do on this test matters!  HHS has a fantastic test prep tool on Family Connection called PrepMe.  Just like the test, it is FREE of charge.  Designed to help students meet their achievement targets, PrepMe’s web-based test prep system begins with an initial diagnostic test to assess strengths and areas for improvement. The results combine with the student’s upcoming test date to create a personalized weekly schedule, which includes interactive lessons, practice quizzes, and intermittent full-length tests. With PrepMe, students study smarter, not harder.  Encourage your student to log on to Family Connection and start his/her PrepMe journey! 




The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is the test most people mistakenly believe is required for college.  The acronym SAT has become synonymous with college admission. However, most of our students do not need to take the SAT. It is the “test of choice” for certain private schools in the Midwest, but most will also accept the ACT. It is specifically required by some schools on the east and west coasts. The SAT and ACT have different structures, content, and scoring mechanisms. The SAT is not administered at Hastings High School; however, there are many SAT testing sites in the metro area. Students can register for the SAT online at www.collegeboard.com. 


If you are going to apply to a college or university that is fairly competitive in its admissions, chances are they require applicants to submit scores from three SAT II Subject Test examinations. There are subject tests in Chemistry, Writing, Math, German, Biology, Physics, and Music. Most competitive schools want to see Writing, Math (Level I or II), and a third from another area (usually a science). Subject Tests are only 60 minutes in length. They are given on the same days as the SAT and you can take up to three Subject Tests on the same day. You cannot, however, take both the Subject Tests and the SAT I on the same day.