As students prepare for college, they’ll take at least one or more college entrance exams. There are several kinds of standardized college admission tests that students take typically in the junior and senior year of high school, namely the SAT or the ACT. Other tests they may take throughout high school include the PSAT, PreACT and SAT Subject Tests.
WHY DO STUDENTS HAVE TO TAKE THESE TESTS?
Most 4-year colleges require standardized test scores (standardized means that the test is given and scored consistently) and they view the ACT and SAT equally. However, there are more and more colleges jumping on the “test-optional” bandwagon.
WHAT IS TEST-OPTIONAL?
If a college adopts a test-optional admissions policy, it means the student is not required to submit an ACT or SAT score. Test-optional schools consider the student’s academic history is the most reliable prediction of future college success. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (www.fairtest.org) offers a comprehensive list of test-optional schools.
WHAT ARE SAT SUBJECT TESTS?
SAT Subject Tests are standardized tests on individual subjects where students can highlight their academic strengths. Most colleges do not require subject tests, although there are a handful of colleges that do. Some colleges recommend subject tests for admission as well. Additionally, entrance to specific majors at some colleges may also require subject tests. Students need to check individual colleges for entrance requirements.
Standardized tests and links:
- PSAT/NMSQT: Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Assessment Test, typically taken sophomore and junior year (CollegeBoard) https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10
- SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test (CollegeBoard) https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat
- ACT: (American College Testing) https://www.act.org/
- SAT Subject Tests: (CollegeBoard) https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests
- PreAct: (American Testing College) Taken sophomore year