Standardized entrance exams are typically used to evaluate a student’s knowledge and skillset by college admissions. For students preparing for college, they’ve most likely heard about the importance of their standardized test scores from the ACT or SAT.
The score not only gives students a competitive advantage against other applicants but can also dictate which schools they qualify for. The higher the score they earn, the more choices they’ll have when it comes to attending their dream university. However, it’s important to remember that the score doesn’t define students, but rather supplements their application and informs their potential enrollment.
Let’s discover the types of tests students may have to take and how to prepare for them to stand out for college admissions.
Types of College Entry Standardized Tests Students Need to Know
When a student selects the schools they plan on applying to, they will need to verify which standardized tests are required and the scores they’ll need to earn. Here are the common standardized tests that different colleges may require for U.S. and international students:
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)
Designed as a practice test to prepare students for the ACT or SAT examinations, the PSAT is traditionally taken by sophomores and juniors in high school. While the score won’t affect their college admissions or transcript, it’s still important to take the test seriously to gain experience for the qualifying tests. The PSAT also qualifies students to become a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.
Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
The SAT is a standardized aptitude test that measures readiness for college by three categories: language arts, math, and an essay section. The SAT scores range from 400 to 1600 and the average is 1068. While the essay is optional, it’s important to inquire if the student’s potential schools require it. They have three hours available to finish the exam and 50 minutes for the optional essay.
American College Test (ACT)
Similar in content and assessment to the SAT, the ACT is a multiple-choice test based on science, math, English, reading, and also includes an optional essay section. With an average score of 20.8, each portion is scored from 1-36 and the final score is an average of all four main categories. The writing test will receive a subject-level writing score and an ELA score.
How to Prepare for College Standardized Tests
While all tests measure a student’s potential, each one will require different preparation needs. For example, an ACT preparation book will not be the same as an SAT. Unlike knowledge tests, standardized aptitude tests measure their potential and ask questions beyond a typical curriculum, such as problem-solving applications.
The best way to properly prepare for standardized aptitude tests is to study. There are several resources available to help:
- Enroll in AP courses during high school
- Hire a tutor who has experience taking the tests
- Take practice tests with detailed score reports
- Invest in test preparation books
Take Control of Entrance Exam Preparations
Standardized aptitude tests help higher education establishments and counselors determine a student’s strengths or weaknesses. With the ability to guide students’ academic future, it’s essential to understand what each prospective school requires and prioritize studying for those tests. Beyond enrollment, schools may also use their score to award scholarships, college credits, and even class placement.
Ready to start the college admission process? Contact Bruscan Educational Information Services for premier academic counseling services.