Love ’em or hate ’em, standardized testing doesn’t look like it is going anywhere anytime soon. For high school students, the scores from these tests play an important role (in addition to their SAT score) in college admissions.
Standardized Test #1: PLAN
The PLAN test is administered to 10th grade students to prepare them for the ACT test. PLAN scores help students assess their abilities in the four categories of Reading, Science, Math and English to see if they are on the right track towards developing the comprehensive skills needed to to be successful in college courses. There is also a “career exploration component,” which gets students thinking about their future after high school.
- The Reading section of the test contains 25 questions, which students must complete within 20 minutes and covers the subjects of Humanities, Prose Fiction and Social Studies.
- The Science section has 30 questions that must be answered within 25 minutes and covers the topics of Research Summaries, Data Representation and Conflicting Viewpoints.
- The Math section has 40 questions, which students are given 40 minutes to complete. The questions relate to the subjects of Plane Geometry, Elementary Algebra, Coordinate Geometry and Pre-Algebra.
- The English section contains 50 questions and must be completed within 30 minutes. The English section has questions pertaining to Grammar & Usage, Style, Organization, Punctuation, Sentence Structure and Strategy.
Standardized Test #2: ACT
The ACT tests high school students in the areas of English, Reading, Science, Math and has an optional Writing component. The scores from the ACT are readily accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the United States and shows a student’s overall general educational development.
- The English section contains 75 questions, which students are given 45 minute to complete. The subjects covered are the same as those listed above for the PLAN English section.
- The Reading section takes 35 minutes to complete and involves answering 40 questions based on four reading passages.
- The Science section has 40 questions and takes 35 minutes to complete. Natural sciences is the main topic and also deals with interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem solving. Calculators are not allowed for this section.
- The Math section has 60 questions and takes 60 minutes to complete. The questions are based on math subjects taught from a student’s freshmen year up to the end of their junior year.
- The optional Writing section is 30 minutes long and requires students to answer a prompt in essay format.
Standardized Test #3: PSAT
What makes the PSAT different from the SAT is that there are fewer sections and the total length of the exam is shorter. While the score from the PSAT is a good indicator as to how well a student could do on the SAT, it determines which students qualify for National Merit Recognitions and Scholarships. The PSAT focuses on three sections: Math, Critical Reading and Writing.
- The Math section is split into two 25-minute sections and contains 39 questions related to algebra, geometry and arithmetic.
- The Critical Reading section is also split into two 25-minute sections and has 48 questions related to subjects like fact versus opinion and vocabulary.
- The Writing section has 39 questions, takes 30 minutes to complete and covers word choice, grammar and mechanics.
There are a variety of free online study materials, resources and programs that high school students can look into in order to properly prepare them for acing these types of standardized tests.