American College Testing
The ACT assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. Most four-year colleges or universities require the ACT or SAT.
Students who enroll in AP courses are expected to take the related exam. Exams are three-hours long and are administered in May. Most four-year colleges give students advanced placement and/or credit on the basis of AP exam scores.
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test
The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT. It measures verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities. At Columbia, the test is offered during regular school hours and fees are paid by the school district. Juniors, who receive exceptionally high scores, may qualify for the opportunity to enter scholarship competitions administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Scholastic Aptitude Test
This test is usually taken in the junior year. It is primarily a multiple-choice test designed to measure verbal and mathematical reasoning ability. There is a required 25-minute essay. Most four-year colleges or universities require the SAT or ACT.
SAT Subject Tests
These tests cover a variety of academic subjects and are designed to test your level of knowledge in a specific subject. Colleges requiring these tests usually require either two or three. Students should investigate college requirements and be aware of when tests are given. Most students take the SAT Subject Tests in May or June as they are completing the relevant class so the material is fresh in their mind.
The TOEFL measures the ability of nonnative speakers of English to use and understand English at the university level. Some colleges may require the TOEFL exam if English is not a student’s first language.