What is the PSAE?

PSAE stands for Prairie State Achievement Test and is required to be given to every junior in the state. It is a two-day test
that consists of the following:

Day 1: ACT test in English, math, reading, science reasoning, and writing

Day 2: WorkKeys tests in math applications, reading for inofrmation and a state-developed test in science

Why should YOU take this exam seriously?

1. All Illinois students must take the PSAE to receive a high school diploma.

2. Scores from the ACT portion of the PSAE can be used to determine college admissions.

3. The PSAE is a complete ACT, and it is FREE!

4. Scores from the PSAE become a part of the student's permanent transcript that stays on file.

5. These tests provide students you with feedback about your strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

6. Specifically, the WorkKeys portions will help you understand how to improve your skills to get better-paying jobs.

7. Meeting or exceeding on the PSAE may qualify you to be a Rocket Scholar-a recognition of being a top academic performer which will
look great on college applications and your resume!

Attendance is mandatory!

Attendance on both April 23 and 24 is mandatory for all junior students.  Parents, please encourage your students to do well on the PSAE and please make every effort to ensure their attendance. 

Also, do not forget to note that all juniors will be allowed to take a “non-attendance day” on Friday, April 25.  This day is designed for junior students to decompress from two days of testing and to start exploring their options after high school whether it be a college visit day or job shadowing.


Day 1: Wednesday, April 23
*Free Breakfast served 7:20 - 7:40
Testing 7:45 - 11:30
**Dismissal - 11:30

  • ACT English – 45 minutes (75 questions)

  • ACT Mathematics – 60 minutes (60 questions)

  • Required 15-minute break

  • ACT Reading – 35 minutes (40 questions)

  • ACT Science – 35 minutes (40 questions)

  • Required 5-minute break

  • ACT Writing – 30 minutes (1 essay prompt)

Day 2: Thursday, April 24
*Free Breakfast served 7:20 - 7:40
Testing 7:45 - 11:30
**Dismissal - 11:30

  • ISBE-Developed Science – 40 minutes (45 questions)

  • WorkKeys Applied Mathematics – 45 minutes (33 questions)

  • Required 15-minute break

  • WorkKeys Reading for Information – 45 minutes (33 questions)
* All juniors should report to the LCHS cafeteria for breakfast!
** Actual dismissal times are dependent upon completion of tests by ALL students.

Preparing for the test - sample test questions!
Day 1: Wednesday, April 23
Day 1 Preparation Guide | ACT Test Preparation

Day 2: Thursday, April 24
Day 2 Overview and Preparation Guide | Applied Mathematics |
Reading for Information

What to expect on testing day
  • Be sure to bring a photo id (driver's license or school id) and a #2 pencil.

  • The supervisor or proctor will direct you to a seat. If you need a left-handed desk, tell your supervisor as you enter.

  • Do not leave the test room after you have been admitted.

  • Only pencils, erasers, a permitted calculator, and your ticket will be allowed on your desk. You will be required to put all other personal belongings away.

  • You are not allowed to have scratch paper, books, dictionaries, notes or other aids, highlighters, colored pens or pencils, mechanical pencils, ink pens, correction fluid, reading material, or any electronic devices other than a permitted calculator.

  • You may not use tobacco in any form or have food or drink (including water) in the test room. You may have snacks and drinks outside the test room during break.

  • Testing will begin as soon as all examinees present are checked in and seated.

  • Listen carefully to all directions read by your supervisor.

Test taking tips
  1. Practice using the study materials above.

  2. When you begin a test, quickly scan all of the questions. This will help you see what the test is about and how many questions you will have to answer.

  3. It is important to manage your time while taking a test. Begin by checking the number of questions in the test and the amount of time you have to take the test. Try to complete about half of the questions by the time you are about halfway through the total test time. Keep track of the time as you work.

  4. Read all directions very carefully. Don not begin answering questions before you read the directions. If you fell nervous before a test, try this: Close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths. Spend a few minutes relaxing in your mind.

  5. Try to answer all the test questions. Do the easy ones first. When you come to a hard question, don not spend too much time trying to figure it out. Wait until you have finished the easy questions. Then go back and work on the hard ones.

  6. All tests have some hard questions. They are meant to stump you! It is best to make a good guess at the answer. First, find any choices that you know are wrong. Then look at the leftover choices and make your best guess.

  7. Mark your answers by filling in the circle with a dark pencil mark. If you make a mistake, erase thoroughly. Then fill in the circle next to the correct answer.

  8. When you have finished the test, go back and work any questions you skipped, or go back and check your answers.

How parents can help
Download the PSAE parent brochure

  • Be sure your child gets a good night's sleep.

  • Be sure your child wears comfortable clothes to school.

  • Be sure your child has a good breakfast before going to school.

  • Avoid disagreements and arguments the night before testing and the morning of the test.

  • Be sure to remind your child to do his/her best!