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College Entrance Exams: What You Need to Do before Admission

College Entrance Exams: What You Need to Do before Admission

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Get more information about degree programs at American Public University.

By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

Colleges and universities commonly have various admission requirements that you must meet before being admitted to the school. Many schools require you to show a level of “college readiness” by taking one or several college entrance exams.

The Financial Cost of College Entrance Exams

Every school has different requirements in regard to admission tests, so make sure you fully understand which tests are necessary. Some of these tests charge a fee, so taking an unnecessary test doesn’t benefit you financially.

What You Should Know about the SAT and ACT

Most schools require a passing grade from either the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT) exam. Both of these exams cost money and take several hours to complete.

It is important to keep in mind what your school is looking for. Check with the school’s admissions department to be sure you know important information such as:

  • Which test or tests are required
  • The minimum score necessary for acceptance
  • If the school of your choice accepts the higher score of multiple tests

Both the SAT and the ACT can be very stressful to take. In addition to paying for these tests, you must invest time in studying and taking them. You might even want to enroll in an ACT or SAT preparation course, which will mean an additional cost.

The SAT and ACT are long, comprehensive exams that cover multiple subjects, including math, science and reading comprehension. Most schools also require you to submit the essay portion of the exam for grading to assess your writing skills.

Other University Admission Tests

The SAT or ACT is not a requirement for admission at all schools. At American Public University System, we administer an admissions assessment to first time, non-military students before admittance. This exam, much like the SAT or ACT, measures a student’s college readiness.

SAT and ACT Practice Tests Are Available

The best way to prepare for these types of exams is to take at least one practice test. Many high schools offer practice tests to students.

You can also find sample questions online or purchase sample tests. The College Board website offers free, online SAT prep.

Reducing the Stress of Taking the SAT and ACT

Typically, practice tests do not take as long as the actual test. Remember, taking practice tests and looking at sample questions is a great way to study for the SAT or ACT. By using practice tests, you’ll feel more confident when it is time to take the real SAT or ACT.

Other ways to reduce your stress include:

  • Eating a hearty breakfast
  • Having sufficient supplies (pencils, scratch paper, calculator) on hand during the test
  • Staying calm and collected during test taking

Applying for college can be stressful enough. But when you put one or more college entrance exams on top of everything else, it can amp up your anxiety level.

Take the admissions steps one at a time. When it comes time for the entrance exam, make sure you are fully prepared. Studying, removing distractions and staying calm will aid you when you take these exams.

Get more information about degree programs at American Public University.

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