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The Skinny on Standardized Tests

The SAT, the ACT, the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT Subject Tests…. Standardized tests, standardized tests everywhere! Yes, I know it may seem overwhelming. But today, I want to make you feel a bit better about these standardized tests by explaining a bit more about their purpose as well as what ELSE you can gain by studying for and writing them!
The questions in the SAT and the ACT are rigorously researched and tested to provide a measurement tool that assesses students from all backgrounds equally. Your standardized test scores can help you identify which universities you will be eligible to apply to.  Upon admission, not will your score help you with admissions, but it will also help you connect to scholarship opportunities. Last, but not the least, by taking the SAT/ACT you will be able to learn more about your academic strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.
While most universities require a test of English proficiency, you will find that not all universities require the SAT/ACT for admission.  In making admissions decisions, most universities consider other factors such as your grades in high school, leadership positions, extra-curricular activities, etc. What a relief that universities acknowledge that a standardized test cannot measure your college-readiness!  However, even if your university doesn’t require the SAT/ACT for admission, we recommend that you do write the exam.  The standardized test scores may not be necessary for admission but they are often the tool of measurement used for awarding scholarships – we don’t want you to miss out on free money!  In addition, visa officials may ask for your SAT or any other standardized test scores as part of your visa approval process.
Studying for standardized tests gives you a glimpse of what will be expected of you in college. It helps you brush up on your basic mathematics and English comprehension. It strengthens your reading, writing and critical thinking abilities. By learning how to take the exams, you will also strengthen your strategic thinking skills.  Studying for the exams also makes you aware of the academic discipline you will have to maintain while in college, and you are able to get a glimpse of what type of critical thinking and comprehension is required. I remember when I was doing research for my first analysis I realized how much the standardized tests prepared me for the work that I was going to be doing in college.
Standardized tests could be overwhelming but the fruits of labor is rewarding as well! Not only can the test scores be a significant factor to admissions and scholarships, but the process of the exam-taking can be a learning experience in itself. So as you prepare for these exams, make sure you reflect on what knowledge you have gained and the skills you have attained; the fruits are much more than just your final score!

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