In the U.S. standardized tests are used to assess the
abilities of individuals. We use the the results of these tests to determine
everything from college admissions to
professional licensing. The SAT and ACT are what most people think of as
standardized admissions tests. At most U.S. schools they will require that you take one or more standardized admissions tests.
Admissions tests like the SAT and ACT are intended to provide a standard measure
of achievement and ability. The school will use your standardized test scores to
see if their school is a good match for you. If you score far below their
average student they will know that their courses will be too challenging for
you. On the other hand if you score far above their average they know that
perhaps their courses will be too easy for you.
You must submit your standardized test scores from these tests with all of
your other application materials. The school will generally determine your
eligibility according to all of the materials you submit to them, not just your
test scores. Test scores play a different role in each school's final admittance
For undergraduate admissions, you will usually only be required to take the Scholastic Assessment Test
(SAT) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Almost all programs
graduate or undergraduate will require you, as an international student, to take
the TOEFL. This test determines whether you have adequate proficiency in English
to do well in a U.S. school.
Graduate schools often require specialized tests in whatever area you are
going to be studying in. These tests can include:
- Dental Admission Testing Program (DAT- for
- Graduate Record Examinations (GRE- for liveral
arts, sience, math)
- Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT - for
business schools/MBA[master's in business administration] programs)
- Law School Admission Testing Program (LSAT
test - for law schools)
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT test- for
- Optometry Admission Testing Program (OAT)
- Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Test of Spoken English (TSE)
- Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT)
Contact each school that you are applying to, they will tell you which tests
they require. Once you know which tests you have to take, it
is important to find out when and where they are offered in your country. You
can sometimes contact the institution administering the test for testing site
and time information.
As soon as you find out when and where you can take the test register.
Registering early will make sure that you get to take the test when you want to.
And taking the test earlier is always better as it helps ensure that your
scores will arrive in time to meet your application deadlines.
Each time you take a standardized test there will be a testing fee. This fee
pays for testing materials as well as for your scores to be sent to several
schools. Sometimes the amount of schools that they send your scores to won't be
enough. In that case you can pay an extra fee to have your scores sent to all of
There is tons of material out there to help with test preparation. You may
often find free publications and sample practice tests are
available to help you become familiar with the type of questions asked on the
test. You may also want to go through our SAT preparation
guide. It will give you some good general testing smarts that apply to
taking all standardized tests, not just the SAT.