As part of the application process, most undergraduate programs require one or more U.S. standardized test scores. Your test scores, academic record, and other factors are used to predict how well you will do as a university student. The test scores are one way to compare students from the United States and international students from different educational systems.
In the United States, there is no national college entrance examination administered by the government that students must pass to gain admission to higher education. Rather, different universities or schools establish their own admission requirements, including which third-party standardized test they accept.
Standardized tests should be taken a year to 18 months before you plan on studying. Many students take the exams more then once to achieve higher scores. There are many websites, books, and tutors available to help you prepare and you can find an overview of test preparation resources here.
Standardized Tests for Undergraduate Studies
Most colleges and universities in the United States require standardized testing for undergraduate admissions. Admission requirements vary, so be sure to confirm which test(s), if any, you need with the institutions that interest you.
ACT: A curriculum-based multiple-choice assessment that tests reading, English, mathematics, and science, with an optional essay section. The ACT is widely accepted at accredited two and four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and hundreds of institutions around the world.
SAT: A test that measures critical reading, writing, and mathematical abilities. The SAT Subject Tests measure knowledge in specific subject areas. The SAT is widely accepted at accredited two and four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and hundreds of institutions around the world. (Please note that an updated SAT made its debut in March 2016 and impacts students in the class of 2017 and younger.)
English Proficiency Tests
Being able to communicate in English is a basic requirement for successful undergraduate study in the United States. If English is not your native language, U.S. colleges and universities will probably ask you to take an English Language proficiency test before admission. Some tests for English language ability are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and the Duolingo English Test. Learn more about these exams here.