Types of Standardized Tests

Sarah Frank
Published on
May 27, 2021

What Is Standardized Testing?

Standardized tests are where all the tests are given and scored in a consistent way to be able to compare your score with others. Some standardized tests taken in high school are:

  • ACT (American College Testing)
  • SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
  • AP (Advanced Placement) exams
  • PERT (Postsecondary Education Readiness Test)
  • PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test)

What does it cost?

Most students take the SAT in junior year. The school offers it for free the first time, but all other times, the test costs around fifty to sixty dollars and depends on if the student takes the essay portion (closer to seventy-eighty dollars with the essay). If the student registers late, the test will cost around thirty dollars more.

The ACT costs around the same as the SAT including late fees and the writing portion option.

What to expect when testing?

Standardized tests like the ones listed above are all taken in the same conditions as the other students. Testing is usually in a quiet room, normally with other people. There is no talking allowed from the students during testing and no notes. The exception to usual standardized testing was last year with Covid-19. Standardized tests can be multiple choice, essays, or a combination of both.

The SAT school event for juniors occurs in the gym with all the juniors testing at the same time.

AP testing is also in the gym if you take the class in school. AP tests are a combination of multiple choice and free response.

PERT testing takes place at a college, usually HCC. A proctor may be in the examination room with the test takers. There will also be a proctor for the SAT, ACT, and AP testing.

When is testing?

SAT and ACT testing seasons are usually around spring of junior year. The ACT score lasts for five years after it is taken which allows the student to take it any time in high school. A student can also take the SAT throughout their high school career. However, some content may not have been covered in early high school classes.

PERT testing is encouraged at the end of sophomore year to begin enrolling in dual enrollment classes in junior year. PERT testing is available throughout the grades so a student could take it as early or late as preferred. PSAT testing happens at the beginning of freshmen, sophomore, and junior year leading up to the SAT. The PSAT will be taken during the school day and is given by homeroom teachers. AP testing occurs at the end of the year around May and is given during part of the school day. AP testing times can be AM or PM sessions.

What are some study tips?

Do not cram!! That is the number one thing to keep in mind when preparing for an exam. Studying over a long period of time can help a student retain more information for the test. Some ways to study are:

  • Making or buying flashcards (EX: Barren’s flashcards for AP subjects)
  • playing Kahoot (a trivia game with student/teacher made quizzes)
  • using Quizlet (an online flashcard and definition resource)
  • making a study group
  • Getting a study app (EX: ISCORE5)
  • Watch Youtube Videos

How to prepare for the test:

  • Study leading up to the exam
  • Look up practice tips from sites such as College Board
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Eat well before the exam
  • Look over what the tests will be on

Why take a standardized test?

Standardized tests are used to determine how much a person has learned in a subject or generally. Some scores, like the PERT, are used to determine what classes a student is eligible to take. Standardized tests are needed for applications such as Dual Enrollment, or college admission like the SAT and ACT.

Some tests, like the PSAT, are to help lead a student on the path to prepare for another standardized test. Another use for testing is to give credit to a student if the student passes. An AP test verifies that a student scores enough to prove they learned sufficiently in their class to get college credit for taking the course. AP classes can also be used to bypass college credit (see AP vs DE section). Standardized tests can help get a student into college and raise a GPA.

How to access scores:

  • SAT scores can be found at College Board online. PSAT scores and AP scores can also be found on that website. A student can link their college Board account to their Khan Academy (study tool with quizzes and video help) and AP Classroom (an online place to review AP assignments and to receive AP help) to help prepare for more testing.
  • PERT scores will be printed at the college the test is taken at.
  • ACT scores are found on the ACT website that a student can access with a given code.

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