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Standardized Tests:

College Admissions Tests Overview

A big part of a college application will be standardized test scores. Colleges use special standardized tests that are referred to as COLLEGE ADMISSIONS TESTS as one tool to evaluate a student's high school career and promise of future educational success.

Getting ready for these tests starts right away. All the work students do in school is part of the preparation, but there are a few other specific steps:

Getting to Know the Tests

Standardized Tests are tests used to assess progress and achievement. They are called standard because they are given under the same circumstances to students all over the country. They are usually multiple-choice and timed. All of these tests are different. Students need to become familiar with the tests: what kind of test, what content is tested, and how long the test will take.

In this section you can find a page on each of these tests:

Two of the tests listed above are "pre" tests that help students to prepare for the College Admissions Tests. PLAN is a pre-ACT and PSAT is a pre-SAT.

Most colleges and universities require either SAT or ACT. It is important to find out which tests is required by the institutions where a student plans to apply. It is possible that a student will apply to some schools that require one test and some schools that require the other test. So, some students will take both the SAT and the ACT.


Test Timeline:

These tests will span a student's high school career. Not all students should or can take all of these tests. Not all schools offer all these tests, and not all universities require all of these tests.

There are a few that all students should plan to take:
SAT or ACT (or both)

It's important that all JUNIORS take the PSAT in October of their junior year.

SAT and/or ACT should be taken near the end of the JUNIOR year or at the beginning of the SENIOR year.


How should students prepare for these tests?

  • Take practice tests. Samples are available free on the websites above, or you can buy/borrow a book by a test prep company
  • Plan 6 weeks prior to spend some time every day preparing for the test
  • Ask for help from teachers at their high schools 


Registration Dates/Deadlines:

Students must register for these tests, usually six weeks before the test date.
Each year, the dates will vary slightly. It is important to check each test company's website for the exact dates.


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