Undergraduate Standardized Testing

Let’s ALL go to College! Wouldn’t that be great? We just decide that we want to enroll and pack up the car! Off to College we go!

Well, don’t put your car in drive just yet! Deciding to attend College is just the first of many steps you will take in order to enter the school of your choice. Another of those steps is successful completion of standardized tests. That’s right! You’ve spent a good portion of your life working hard at your job and/or being inundated with quizzes and tests in high school, but that wasn’t quite good enough. There is always one more test to go

So what are these standardized tests that we speak of, and what exactly is their purpose? It depends on the test. Prospective undergraduate students should inquire about the following:

PSAT/NMSQT – This stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This test serves as a practice test for the SAT and gives you the opportunity to qualify for the NMSQT. The PSAT does not test you in specific subject matter; rather, it is a test of your critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. Because it is taken preliminary to the SAT, you can better determine your strengths and weaknesses in these areas.

SAT Reasoning Test (Also called the SAT I) – This test assesses you in the same areas as the PSAT; however, the scores from the SAT or used in most every schools’ admission process. The SAT Test can be taken several times and individual scores from individual sections of the test can be combined. It is highly recommended that you take the SAT Reasoning Test if you plan on enrolling in a College or University.

SAT Subject Test (Also called the SAT II) – These tests are subject specific and assess you in areas of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Languages. Some schools require the SAT Subject Test in addition to the SAT Reasoning Test. Your scores will be helpful in determining your overall academic strengths and weakness, and they are also helpful in determining course placement.

AP Tests – This stands for Advanced Placement Tests. Students can get a head-start on college level courses by enrolling in courses that are specifically offered to high school students, prior to students even graduating high school. An AP Test will determine if you’ve mastered specific content and will demonstrate to schools that you have the academic maturity to excel in College courses.

CLEP – This stands for College-Level Examination Program. Demonstrating proficiency on the CLEP can earn you anywhere from 3 to 12 college credits. So what are you tested on? Skills and knowledge you’ve already acquired through job training, previous courses, internships, work-experience, professional development and more. There are 34 CLEP exams offered that can help you to move beyond introduction courses, apply credits toward graduation, and save money on pay-per-credit courses.

There are many resources available to assist you in preparing for any of these tests, and it is highly recommended that you explore these resources in great detail. While you have been preparing for your entire life to demonstrate mastery of the basic skills assessed on these tests, it never hurts to give a cheat sheet one last glance! After all, your future might just depend on it.

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