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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between weighted and unweighted GPA?
Weighted GPA is used to distinguish advanced classes (AP, IB, Honors) from the regular level classes by using a 5 point scale versus the 4 point scale used for unweighted GPA. This means that if a student earns an A in an Honors level course, they will earn 5 grade points. If a student in a regular level course earns an A, they receive 4 grade points. GPA is the average number of grade points a student has earned. For example: A student earns three A's and 3 B's in one semester. Each of the classes is regular level (4 point scale) and each class is worth .5 credits. The student is awarded 4 grade points for each A for a total of 12 and 3 grade points for each B for a total of 9. The students total grade points for that semester is 21. Divide the total grade points (21) by the number of classes (6) and the students GPA comes out to a 3.5. If the scenario above was exactly the same except the courses were Honors/AP/IB level, the GPA would come out to 4.5 weighted GPA. Your cumulative GPA consists of all of your grades for your entire high school career. This means that at the end of each semester, you will have the semester GPA, which will only consist of the average number of grade points earned for that semester and that semester GPA will be averaged along with the grade points from each of the previous semesters. For online GPA calculators, please visit:

Which GPA do colleges look at, weighted or unweighted?
Most colleges will use the unweighted GPA for admission and scholarship purposes. Weighted GPA serves as an advantage when it comes to class rank. In addition, many schools will calculate your core course GPA, meaning that they will use the grades earned in core courses (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Fine Arts) only to calculate your GPA.

What is the difference between the SAT and the ACT?
Admissions officers and educators often describe the difference between SAT and ACT in these terms: the ACT is a content-based test, whereas the SAT tests critical thinking and problem solving. Many questions on the ACT test critical thinking, and there is a predictable range of material that's tested on the SAT. But the SAT and ACT reward different attributes, so performing well on each test can boil down to what kind of test taker you are.

Here are some of the factors that make the SAT and ACT very different breeds:

The ACT includes a science reasoning test; the SAT does not.
The ACT math section includes trigonometry.
The SAT tests vocabulary much more than the ACT.
The SAT is not entirely multiple choice.
The SAT has a guessing penalty; the ACT does not.
The ACT tests English grammar; the SAT does not. 
*Information provided by Kaplan

What is an average SAT/ACT score?
The national average for the SAT is 1500 for Math, Critical Reading, and Writing combined. The national average for the ACT is 20-21.

Are you an SAT or an ACT?
By now, I think it's safe to assume that you've all heard at least a little something about the ACT. You might not have ever seen one or taken a practice exam, but it's been the hot new testing item on everyone's minds for the past 3 years. Rather than get into what makes them different, which is covered here, I'd rather discuss which test is more suitable for specific types of students. In order to help you out, take this quiz:

Which Test Are YOU?
1. Do you like to read?
2. Would you say your vocabulary is "lacking" or you have trouble memorizing words?
3. Are you likely to make careless mistakes on math exams?
4. Do you enjoy science?
5. Do you know when to use a semi-colon?
6. Do you have a good knowledge of history, current events, or books?
7. Are you the type of student who does well on tests if you study?
8. Have you done trigonometry yet?
9. How about logarithms?
10. Do you have issues with timing?

***If you answered Yes to any of the questions except 6 OR 10, give yourself a 1. If you answered No to questions 6 or 10, give yourself a 1. Add up all of the questions. If your score is greater than 6, then you are an ACT. If your score is less than a 5, you are an SAT. And if your score is a 5 or 6, you can do either.

How do I practice for tests?
To practice, you can get books in the counseling office, sign up for questions of the day online. There are also books and classes you can take to better prepare you for the tests.

How do I sign up? Are there waivers?
Students can sign up for the ACT at and for the SAT Students need to create an account on each site, then sign up for a test. Waivers are available for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch in the counseling center.

How do I requests transcripts?
You may requests transcripts in the Counseling Center.

When should I start applying for college? 
Students should apply the beginning of their senior year. Many schools will have early admission deadlines in the fall.

How can I discover my credit status and progress toward graduation? 
Login to the student portal and click on "Reports", your transcript with credit summary is available there.

What if I don't know what I want to do for my career path? 
Go into your ECAP in AZCIS and complete the Interest Inventory Assessment or the Career Pathways Assessment. Your results will give you some direction as to career pathways that would be suited to your interests.

How do I discover which schools offer a program of study for the career field in which I am interested? 
Use the AZCIS website to do a school sort. Choose a particular occupation and then do a school search or complete the "School Sort" activity to generate a list of schools that offer your major and meet your preferred criteria.

How do I earn college credits while still in high school? 
Dual enrollment classes and AP classes are the two main options for earning college credits while still in high school. Some high school campuses offer both AP classes and dual enrollment classes. Contact your counselor for details.

What is the difference in Dual Enrollment credits and AP college credits? 
Mainly, the difference is in how you earn these credits. College credit is earned in a dual enrollment class by registering with the community college and earning a minimum of "C" in the course. College credit is earned in an AP class when the student takes the AP exam and earns a score high enough to awarded credit.

What test do I have to take to enroll in community college? 
Maricopa Community Colleges require that all students take a a placement test before enrolling in math and English classes. The placement test is offered on the campus of the community college. Contact the college for test center hours.

How do I discover what classes I am scheduled in for the next school year? 
You may view in the student portal window if it is open or you may contact your counselor.