10th-11th Grade PreACT

River Campus - 801 Rio Grande St., Austin, TX 78701
Headwaters requires our 10th and 11th grade students to take the PSAT and a practice ACT to help give them experience with college entrance exams. After taking two practices of each, our students will be able to confidently choose which test they should pursue as they start down the path of college applications in semester two of 11th grade.

  • PACT
    • Saturday, November 10 at 8:30 AM
    • Students meet on Deck at 801 Rio Grande

  • College Admissions Testing Information Session
    • Wednesday, November 14 at 6:00 PM in Studio
    • All Headwaters families are welcome to attend this event, but it is geared specifically for the PARENTS of the class of 2020. The session will address college admissions testing timelines for semester two as well as questions parents may have.

Important reminders regarding the upcoming PACT
  • Students must arrive by 8:30 AM the day of the exam to participate
  • Late arrivals will not be allowed to test
  • There will not be make-up test dates for either exam (see FAQ for alternate ideas)

What to bring or not bring?
  • Students may bring a calculator according to these specific rules:
  • Students must bring two sharpened #2 pencils.
  • Food and water is not allowed in the testing rooms.
  • Students should bring a water bottle and snacks for breaks.
  • Cell phones and all bags are not allowed in room.

See some FAQs below, and reach out to me with any questions.

Best Regards,

Lisa Dubuque



Are these practice exams important?
Yes, like it or not, for most colleges the SAT or the ACT is required. While more and more colleges are going test-optional, you cannot guarantee that your student will only be interested in test-optional schools. Preparing for all scenarios is a wise choice. The majority of students see decent score bumps each time they take the exams. We want our students to have their first attempts at their scores on an unofficial record.

My student receives accommodations at Headwaters, will they have them on the test?
Only if your family has contacted Lisa Dubuque to run the process of requesting accommodations directly through either testing company. Please call Lisa at 512-623-5410 with any questions after reviewing the guidelines for requesting accommodations for the SAT here and the ACT here.

Why is the PACT being held on a Saturday instead of a school day like the PSAT?
This year the Saturday PSAT date was the day after we returned from the Forward. In order to ensure our students felt fresh and ready to take the test, we had to take the alternate testing date on a school day as opposed to our preference of offering it on a Saturday.

Do I have to pay for or register my student for the exams?
No. Lisa Dubuque has ordered the exams for all Headwaters 10th and 11th graders and the testing fees are paid for by Headwaters.

How long is the test?
The test is usually right around three hours. It could be shorter or longer depending on how cooperative the students are getting settled into their testing room to begin the test. Students with accommodations may test for around four-six hours.

How can my student prepare for the official SAT or ACT / take practice exams (including if they missed the official PACT or PSAT test day on Headwaters campus)?  
Both CollegeBoard and the ACT offer free tools and practice exams for test prep. I highly recommend that you use Khan Academy (SAT) and ACT Academy (ACT) as a great option to assess what type of extra support the student may need. Students can set a schedule for prep with these online tools, 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes at a time can be a great start.

After this, think about scheduling free practice exams with More Than a Teacher, view their schedule at this link. Afterwards, consider contacting them for tutoring support. For many students, doing everything you can for free to have a solid idea of exactly what they need to prepare for and then booking one on one targeted tutoring is better than taking an entire prep class.

If your student prefers to take practice exams on paper, please see ACT resources at this link and SAT resources at this link.

SAT or ACT? How do I choose?
This fall, all sophomores and juniors will be required to take a PSAT and PACT on the Headwaters campus. This is an excellent opportunity to help our students understand which test they should pursue while on the track to college admission. Each test has its particular nuances and many students will score higher on one over the other. The best way to know which test is for you is by taking advantage of the opportunity to try each and then compare your scores and overall experience to determine which test you should officially pursue.

What are SAT Subject Tests and which schools require my student to take them?
SAT subject tests are content area based SAT exams that are required by many selective colleges. Often times the test the student must take correlates with a specific department. For example, those wishing to major in engineering may want to take Mathematics Level II and one other of their own choosing. It is the responsibility of each family to research and understand what tests specific colleges require of the students and to make sure they schedule them accordingly.

How do I schedule official testing FOR MY JUNIOR in the upcoming months?
It is extremely important that our students follow the timeline below to avoid stress and the need for last-minute testing during their senior year. All of our students take two official tests second semester of their junior year in hopes they will hit the scores they need for the colleges of their choice. Seniors have a lot on their plates while they complete their applications, and adding testing on top of that increases their stress exponentially.
SAT Schedule for Junior Year
  • Take first test on March 9 (register by February 8) - date falls the Saturday before Project Week
  • Take second test on May 4 (register by April 5)
  • After reviewing your second set of scores, decide if you will take a third test on June 2 (register by May 3) or pursue test prep for the summer
  • There is one final test in June (register by May 3)
  • Students needing to test during their senior year will have two opportunities to do so in the fall of 2019.
  • Register for the SAT at this link
ACT Schedule for Junior Year
  • Take first test on February 9 (register by January 11)
  • Take second test on April 13 (register by March 8)
  • After reviewing your second set of scores, decide if you will take a third test on June 8 (register by May 3) or pursue test prep for the summer
  • There is a July 13 (register by June 14) if that works for your schedule
  • Students needing to test during their senior year will have two opportunities to do so in the fall of 2019.
  • Register for the ACT at this link

Springs Campus

18 months to Pre-K
6305 Manchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-443-8843

Creek Campus

Elementary School
9607 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-804-2708
Fax: 512-628-4810

River Campus

Middle & High School
807 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-480-8142
Fax: 512-480-0278