Study for Entrance Exams

Prepare for entrance exams — They're important, but tests are not the only criteria for college admissions.


If you go to college, you'll probably have to take an entrance exam. Don't worry though — they're probably not as bad as you think.

Want more good news? Tests aren't everything. No college or university decides who gets in and who doesn't based only on test scores. Whether you get in, and where you get in, depends on many factors. Test scores matter, but don't let the thought of taking them overwhelm you.

So, what tests do you need to take?

It varies. If you're in high school and thinking about college, check with your high school counselor or the school you're interested in attending. They can tell you what, if any, test you must take to be admitted.

Here are three tests that many high school students consider taking when they start planning for college:

  • PSAT — Most students take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) in the fall of their junior year in high school. Scores on the PSAT are used to determine National Merit Scholars.

    Talk to your high school counselor for a free practice test and more information or visit The College Board Online.

  • SAT — The SAT is one of the two most widely used college entrance exams. Most students take it in their junior or senior year in high school. The admissions office in the college or university you plan to attend can tell you which portions of the SAT you might need to take.

    Contact your high school counselor for a free practice test, test dates, locations, and study guides, or visit The College Board Online.

  • ACT Assessment — Should you take the SAT or the ACT? Most colleges and universities will accept scores from either for admissions purposes. Check your school's requirements, just to make sure.

    Your high school counselor can provide you with a free practice test, test dates, locations, and study materials to familiarize you with the test's content and questions. You can also visit the ACT website.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Students whose native language isn't English who apply to a college in the United States may have to take tests to measure English language skills.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a multiple-choice test that evaluates a student's English proficiency in reading, writing, and listening; the Test of Spoken English (TSE) evaluates English speaking ability; and the Test of Written English (TWE) evaluates English writing ability.

For more information, contact the college you are planning to attend or visit the TOEFL website.

See also


Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: