Every high school senior knows what standardized testing is. And constantly hears how important it is! Just imagine: on average, a student takes over 110 tests throughout school, and this number doesn’t include entrance exams and advanced placement tests. Today we will talk about college exams which are definitely the most difficult and important among the rest.
Fortunately, college entrance exams are the final standardized tests you will need to take throughout academic years. However, SAT, ACT, and other exams require lots of attention because they help colleges to estimate your performance, skills, and aspirations.
High scores may award you a place at the best colleges in the country. But how should students know which tests to take? And what requirements to follow? Below we will discuss the most popular tests like PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and ACT to help you make a choice.
Types of college entrance exams
Many students are worried that they might choose the wrong test or will fail to meet the high standards. However, if you know what things to consider and which test to take, you’ll be able to prepare and get the highest score. Let us discuss the most popular college entrance exams and their main differences.
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test or PSAT
This test is completed by high school juniors or sophomores who are willing to get ready for the SAT and ACT. This exam acts as a practice and may give students an additional advantage: qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, which can reduce tuition fees.
Considering that PSAT is an exam for practicing, the score doesn’t impact the student’s transcript. Its main goal is to help students test their own skills and improve weak sports. Scores may indicate areas where you should work harder and help to get ready for college entrance exams effectively.
Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT
This standardized test evaluates a scholar’s preparation for college. SAT consists of reading, math, language and writing, and an essay (optional). The majority of questions have multiple choices, and the essays are based on the analysis of a particular piece of writing.
The score for this exam ranges from 200 to 800 points per each section. Thus, the total biggest score is 1,600. If students choose to write an essay, the results are given separately. The decision of whether to write an essay or not depends on the requirements of the college you are willing to enter. Get familiar with their requirements in advance.
The Scholastic Assessment Test takes place seven times during a year and lasts three hours (+50 minutes for an essay).
SAT Subject Tests
Initially, it was named SAT II. It aims to evaluate student’s knowledge of certain subjects and a chance to apply it. This exam is held separately from the Scholastic Assessment Test and is required only by a few colleges.
Students can take five subject tests: English, Languages, History, Science, and Mathematics. Usually, the test lasts one hour and includes multiple-choice questions. The test is regularly changed to meet the latest educational updates and demands. Usually, the SAT Subject Test is used as a college entrance exam or to advise scholars which course to take.
American College Test or ACT
Another widely popular exam is ACT. It also evaluates whether a student is ready for college or not. The questions derive from the high school curriculum and concern the accepted educational program.
The ACT consists of four areas: English, reading, science, and math. Questions have multiple answers, which are a real nightmare for most students. There is also a writing section, which is not compulsory. If a student picks it, it’s added to the English section. The decision whether to complete it or not depends on the requirements of the school you are applying to. Read their requirements and then decide if you need the writing section.
Every section may give students from 1 to 36 points, and the final one is an average of these four areas. If you decide to pass the writing test, you’ll get the writing score separately from the English one.
The ACT takes place six-seven times per year and takes around three hours, including 30 minutes for writing.
Advanced Placement or AP
AP is a series of standardized exams that high school students need to pass to evaluate how well they master college material in various subjects. Similar to the SAT Subject Tests, this exam evaluates skills in particular courses and is usually taken by the end of the course. However, the AP course is offered not in all colleges.
Every exam is awarded 1 to 5 scores. These scores depend on scores of students who have taken the AP exam.
Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL
TOEFL is an exam that evaluates how an individual understands, speaks, and writes in English on a college level. This test is a common requirement for foreigners who want to study in the US.
TOEFL can be taken both on paper or online. The test consists of four subjects: writing, reading, listening, and speaking. It lasts around four hours, and the results are valid for two years.
General Education Development or GED
GED is equivalent to regular high school graduation. It is taken by people who didn’t have a chance to graduate high school. GED evaluates knowledge and skills in four areas: science, math, social studies, and language arts.
How to pass college entrance exams
As you see, there is a large number of tests and exams which students need to take in order to get into college or enroll in a program of their dreams. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to score well in all areas and to ensure the highest grades among thousands of other test-takers. However, nothing is impossible!
If you want to get the highest scores, the best advice is to study. Yes, this sounds rather boring, but it is the only way how you may increase the chances of getting into the college of your dreams. Start with taking preparatory or advance placement courses if they are offered in your school. If not, head to official websites and pass the courses and programs online.
The great idea is to take training tests and download detailed reports, so you can learn more about the areas and subjects you should work on. Fortunately, the majority of schools have tutoring classes and assistance to help students with preparations for standardized testing.
In case you don’t want to get a tutor’s help, there are numerous preparation books on the Internet or in a library. Just purchase the one for the college entrance exam you have chosen. In addition, there are numerous courses where people can get ready for a particular exam for a certain fee.
Everything is a bit different with aptitude tests like the SAT and ACT. They aim to evaluate your potential and not only knowledge and skills. The questions may cover aspects beyond the traditional curriculum, and the results show your strong and weak sides. Some school advisors even use the results of aptitude tests to help students with choosing an academic path.
If you need to complete an aptitude test, the best way to prepare is to get familiar with possible questions and the types of fields that are covered. First of all, there are official study tutorials that cover all parts of the test and explain what the time limits are and how the scores are awarded.
In addition, there are practice tests, both free and paid, once, which contain tests from previous years and help students understand what to expect during the exam. When practicing, you’ll be able to understand types of questions and how to fit in the time frames.
Get help with college entrance exams from PaperHelpWriting writers
At first, it may seem that it’s impossible to pass college entrance exams on a decent level. Especially considering that millions of students across the country are taking the same tests. However, everything is possible, and the best way is to study well in advance. Pick a college, find out what entrance exam they require, and start learning.
If you want to improve your chances of getting the highest scores, we recommend turning to PaperHelpWriting. Our team of experts consists of teachers and tutors who have been working with students of all academic levels.
We know peculiarities of different college entrance exams and have passed them ourselves. Thus, we are able to explain everything, guide you, and significantly improve your skills. Moreover, while we’ll be working on your regular assignments, you’ll be able to concentrate on preparation for the exam.
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