Millions of test-takers sign up for the ACT, SAT, or another standardized test every year. Admissions officers rely on test scores when making acceptance decisions. So it's important to understand admission tests before you start applying to colleges or universities.
Our guides walk through everything you need to know before taking a standardized test — and we also offer study tools and tips that can increase your score.
Are you applying to college for the first time? Or perhaps you have your eye on business or law school? You'll likely need to take a standardized test as part of the admission process.
Prepared students do better on admission tests. But what's the best way to prepare for the ACT or SAT? And should you take the GMAT or GRE if your program accepts both? Use the resources below to learn more about standardized tests for college.
More than half of all high school seniors took the ACT in 2019. As one of the most popular undergraduate admission tests, the ACT is a must for many college-bound students.
Check out our resources on the ACT to learn about the test format, scoring, and how to boost your ACT score.
Business school is one of the most popular options for graduate school. And many business programs, including top MBA programs, require GMAT scores.
By reading our GMAT guide, you'll learn more about the test and what skills you'll need to increase your score.
Graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, education, and engineering require GRE scores. Many business schools also accept GRE scores as well.
But what is the GRE, and what format does the test use?
Visit our GRE guide to learn more about the test.
Interested in law school? Then you'll need to take the LSAT.
The test includes reading, reasoning, and writing sections. And its focus on logical reasoning and persuasive writing make the LSAT different from many other standardized tests.
Our LSAT guide walks through the test sections, LSAT scoring, and when to take the LSAT.
Before applying to med school, you'll need to master the MCAT.
Among the longest standardized tests, the MCAT clocks in at eight hours. It tests your knowledge of biological systems and your critical analysis skills.
Check out our MCAT guide for information on the test format, scoring system, and cost of the MCAT.
One of the oldest admission tests, the SAT remains one of the most popular today.
But the next few years will bring major changes to the SAT, including a move toward digital testing.
Before studying for the SAT, check out our SAT guide to learn more about the test and upcoming changes.
The TOEFL measures your English language skills and your preparation for college-level study at American colleges and universities. It's the most common English-language assessment for international students.
Before you sign up for the TOEFL, visit our TOEFL guide to learn more about the assessment and alternatives.
So far, support for doing away with the standardized testing requirement for American Bar Association-accredited law schools is outweighing those who want to see the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) remain as a requirement.
The Council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted in May to send out proposed amendments to Standard 503 for public comment.
Dartmouth should reinstate its standardized testing requirement.
For Dartmouth’s Classes of 2025, 2026 and 2027, the admissions office has instituted a “test-optional” policy, in which applicants may choose whether to submit standardized test scores as part of their application, but will not be penalized if they do not. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ website claims that “it is not the moment to restore the testing requirement” due to the pandemic. Recently, standardized testing has come under fire for two different reasons: access and equity. But these attacks do not hold up under scrutiny. recent advancements in public health and technology, as well as extensive research, all show that these arguments are either inaccurate or wholly unfounded. Ultimately, Dartmouth will be less able to accept students who will succeed academically if it stays test-optional. The College should once again require applicants to submit standardized test scores.
From an admissions perspective, these tests. are a strong indicator of future academic success. This predictive ability is why another top university reversed course on its testing requirement earlier this year: as of March, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began requiring standardized test scores as part of its application for the class of 2027 and beyond. MIT stated that it could not reliably predict how a student would do academically unless it considered standardized test results as part of the student’s application. MIT’s dean of admissions even explained that by considering SAT and ACT scores, the school actually increased admissions from socioeconomically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.
The first main argument against standardized tests — lack of access — is more easily addressed. During the pandemic, many opportunities to take the test were canceled due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Now that most pandemic restrictions have subsided, students are again able to take these tests. Widespread vaccinations, the expansion of the free in-school SAT and the advent of the digital SAT have all overcome these roadblocks to access that students may have faced during the last few years.
But addressing the second main argument, equity, is more difficult. Critics have labeled the test a racist perpetrator of structural inequalities in the American education system. There are two main kinds of disparities contributing to this accusation: disparities caused by wealth and by race. Access to outside coaching, more rigorous schools and more supportive environments have all been targeted as unfair factors leading to certain students being better equipped to take these tests.
Regarding disparities caused by wealth, wealthier students who can pay for outside test prep and coaching do not score much better than those who cannot afford to do so. Coaching only has a small positive effect on the SAT, resulting in about a 10-to-20-point total improvement, concentrated mostly in the math section. The effects of coaching are minimal, and far less than what major commercial test preparation companies claim to achieve.
Nor do standardized test scores follow income distribution. Studies have demonstrated that when considered together, an applicant’s SAT score and high school GPA are a more accurate predictor of future academic performance than either one on their own. Even when controlling for the socioeconomic status of test-takers, the SAT maintains this accuracy, implicitly showing that SAT results are not just a reflection of socioeconomic status.
The second component of the inequality equation is race. Standardized tests show disparities across races and ethnicities in test results. As a whole, white and Asian-American students score higher on standardized tests than Black and Hispanic students. These gaps in scores are not a cause of systemic inequality, but rather a result of it. Instead, social, economic and cultural factors all play a role in causing this distinction. In getting rid of standardized tests, we remove one more indicator of that gap, which erases one more signal of the inequalities that we should address instead.
Finally, according to the dean of admissions at MIT, standardized tests are more objective compared to other means of evaluating a student and can increase the admission of disadvantaged applicants. Well-off applicants can pay for outside essay coaches (and in some cases, essay writers). A perfect score on a test is a better measurement of scholastic aptitude than your ability to write an essay that can entertain a random admissions officer for seven to eight minutes. A bright but underprivileged student may not be able to found a nonprofit or go on a mission trip to Nicaragua, but they can take the SAT.
While the move by the College’s admissions office to go test-optional for three years makes some sense in light of the pandemic, any further adoption of this policy will hurt Dartmouth in the long run. Progress in public health and technological advancements have made it safer and more accessible for students to take standardized tests than in past years when the pandemic ran rampant. Standardized tests are accurate predictors of future academic success, even when controlling for the socioeconomic background of applicants. Nor are these tests the relics of white supremacy their opponents paint them as, for Asian-American students, rather than white ones, score highest on it. Dartmouth should make the move that will best position it — and its student body — for success in the long run by reinstating its testing requirement for future classes.
Rajshahi University (RU) on Wednesday cancelled the entry test result of an admission seeker who hired a proxy examinee to take the test for him.
The proxy examinee Bayezid Khan, who also was a former RU student of folklore department, secured first position on behalf of Tanveer Ahmed (Roll 39534) in Group-2 of the A-Unit entry test for the first year honours course of academic year 2021-2022.
The A-Unit results of the admission test were published on Wednesday (3 August).
However, Bayazid Khan along with two other proxy examinees were jailed for one year each after they got caught taking the test on 26 July.
They were taking part in the test on behalf of Limon (Roll 17228), Tanveer Ahmed (Roll 39534) and Ishrat Jahan (Roll 62828) respectively.
Bayezid had said that Chhatra League leader Tonmoy, who has been absconding since the incident, had arranged for him to sit for the examination as a proxy.
Despite being caught the answer sheets were not discarded, which attracted widespread criticism.
Following this, the university authority cancelled his answer sheet. RU Public Relation Administrator Pro Pradip Kumar Pande issued a media release regarding the issue around 12:30pm on Wednesday.
He also said, "We are checking if any more such incidents took place. If found, those results will also be cancelled."
Rajshahi University Social Science faculty Dean and A unit entry test co-coordinator Professor Ilius Hossain said, "We weren't informed that a proxy examinee took part in the entry test on behalf of Tanveer. That is why his name came in the result."
Every year, several students across India seek admission to Delhi University. Take last year for example, DU received a whopping 1,70,186 applications!
This year, with Common University Entrance Test in place, the university on Wednesday, August 4 approved a new admission process for its undergraduate programmes based on CUET scores.
Most of you might have questions regarding this process. Don’t worry we break it down for you here.
How will the admissions be conducted this time?
A central portal called the Common Seat Allocation System 2022 has been designed for admission to all colleges. It will be conducted in three phases: In the first phase, students can log onto the common portal and fill in the application form. You will also have to make a non-refundable payment at this stage.
In the second phase, which will only begin after the CUET UG results have been declared, students will have to select the programme and college combination that they prefer on the centralised portal itself. In the third phase, seats will be allocated through a merit list.
What will happen if two or more students have the same CUET merit score?
In such cases, the student with a higher percentage of aggregate marks — for the best three subjects of Class XII — will be given preference. And if the score is still tied, the older student will be given preference.
What if a student wants to withdraw their admission?
Officials have informed that students who wish to withdraw their admission would be charged Rs 1,000. Additionally, there will be no option to withdraw once the spot admission round is announced.
What about students who want to apply under the Extra Curricular Activity (ECA)?
These students will have to pay an additional fee. For admission through the sports quota, 50 per cent weightage will be given to the CUET score and the rest to a performance-based test.
Delhi University aspirants will need to indicate their preferences for colleges and courses, based on priority, on a Common Seat Allocation System (CSAS) for admission this year.
Delhi University’s Academic Council Wednesday approved the admission process, which was formulated by a Standing Committee for admissions this year. Admissions will be based on results of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET).
The admission process will be done in three phases. In the first phase, aspirants will have to fill application form in CSAS. In the second phase, they will select course and colleges and indicate their preferences, and third phase will include seat allocation and final admission based on a merit list.
If two students are tied for a seat with the same score, class XII board test results will be considered a tie-breaker. If students are still tied, the older candidate will be given preference. This is the first time that CUET is being held for admission in Central universities. Earlier, admission was based only on class XII marks. DU had been contemplating admission based on entrance tests for a long time, as many colleges end up admitting more students than the number of seats since the university is obligated to admit all who meet the cut-off.
The entire admission process will be done online
DU will start a Common Seat Allocation System, a centralised portal for undergraduate admissions to all DU colleges
Login to the dashboard and access the Program section
Aspirants will be asked to select a course and college combination, multiple options can be selected
Addition of programmes cannot be done after the deadline for application
The order of selection of the Program + College combination will also determine the preference order for allocation of seats.
How course and college will be allotted:
a. Order of preference of Program + College combination selected by the candidate in the application form.
b. Position of the candidate in the Program-Specific merit list
c. The category (unreserved/reserved) of the candidate
d. Availability of seats in different categories for which the candidate is eligible.
Once a seat has been allocated in a particular round, the candidate will have to “Accept” the seat offered before the last date/time specified for the given round
After verification, the College will “Approve” or “Reject” the provisionally Allocated Seat of the candidate, after which fee has to be paid within stipulated time.
Freezing or upgrading seats:
After the completion of a seat allocation round, candidates will have to opt for either “Freeze” or “Upgrade”.
A 2-day window will be given for the admitted candidate to opt for either “Freeze” or Upgrade”.
A 2-day window will be given for the admitted candidate to opt for either “Freeze” or Upgrade”.
Upgrade option will not be available for the candidate who has been offered his/her first preferences.
Spelling good news for the undergraduate students, the Delhi University's academic council on Wednesday approved a new process to admit students to undergraduate courses based on Common University Entrance Test (CUET) scores. A per the process, a central portal will be designed for admission to all colleges, and admission will be done as per the rules stated in the Common Seat Allocation System (CSAS), according to news agency PTI report.