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Take the standardized tests

Take the standardized tests

There are four primary standardized tests. You probably have to take at least one if you are considering going to college. If you are already in college and are preparing to go on to graduate, business, law, or medical school, there are additional exams you may have to take.

Check with your high school counselor or the schools you're interested in attending to find out what test(s) they require you to take. Also, ask your counselor, contact the testing agencies, or check your local bookstore for samples of past tests to become familiar with what to expect.

  • PLAN
    www.actstudent.org
    • Pre-ACT test
    • Taken in tenth grade to help you estimate how well you will do on the ACT
  • PSAT
    www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about.html
    • Two-part exam similar to the SAT 
    • Usually taken in fall of junior year in high school
    • Scores used to determine National Merit Scholars, students who qualify for merit-based scholarships in the United States
  • ACT
    www.actstudent.org
    • Assesses your general educational development and ability to complete college-level work
    • Often is used for college admission decisions
    • Nearly all U.S. colleges and universities accept test results
  • SAT
    www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/about.htm
    • Assesses your general educational development and ability to complete college-level work
    • Often is used for college admission decisions
    • Many U.S. colleges and universities accept test results

Other tests

Students interested in pursuing a graduate or professional degree may be required to take additional standardized tests to qualify for admission into those programs. These are the most common:

  • Graduate Records Examination (GRE)
    • www.gre.org
    • 3.5-hour aptitude test on verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities, intended for applicants to graduate schools
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
    • www.gmac.org
    • 4-hour standardized test required for admission to most business schools
  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
    • www.lsac.org
    • 3.5-hour multiple choice test used for admission into law school
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)/Test of Spoken English (TSE)/Test of Written English (TWE)
    • If you are a foreigner applying to a college in the United States, you may have to take these tests to measure your English language skills
    • For more information, contact the college you are planning to attend
      • The TOEFL is a 2-hour multiple choice test that evaluates English proficiency
      • The TSE evaluates English speaking ability
      • The TWE evaluates English writing ability