SAT (Standardized Test)
The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It was first introduced in 1926, and its name and scoring have changed several times, being originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, and now simply the SAT.
TOEFL (Internet-based test)
Since its introduction in late 2005, the TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) format has progressively replaced the computer-based tests (CBT) and paper-based tests (PBT), although paper-based testing is still used in select areas. The TOEFL iBT test has been introduced in phases, with the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in 2005 and the rest of the world in 2006, with test centers added regularly. The CBT was discontinued in September 2006 and these scores are no longer valid.
Initially, the demand for test seats was higher than availability, and candidates had to wait for months. It is now possible to take the test within one to four weeks in most countries. The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills (while some tasks require integrating multiple skills), and all tasks focus on language used in an academic, higher-education environment. Note-taking is allowed during the TOEFL iBT test. The test cannot be taken more than once every 12 days.
The Reading section consists of questions on 4–6 passages, each approximately 700 words in length. The passages are on academic topics; they are the kind of material that might be found in an undergraduate university textbook. Passages require understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Students answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas. New types of questions in the TOEFL iBT test require filling out tables or completing summaries. Prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer.
The Listening section consists of questions on six passages, each 3–5 minutes in length. These passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. The conversations involve a student and either a professor or a campus service provider. The lectures are a self-contained portion of an academic lecture, which may involve student participation and does not assume specialized background knowledge in the subject area. Each conversation and lecture passage is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes while they listen and they may refer to their notes when they answer the questions. Each conversation is associated with five questions and each lecture with six. The questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.
The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently. In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk. In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard. In the integrated tasks, test-takers are evaluated on their ability to appropriately synthesize and effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and may use their notes to help prepare their responses. Test-takers are given a short preparation time before they have to begin speaking. The responses are digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network (OSN), and evaluated by three to six raters.
The Writing section measures a test taker’s ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it. The test-taker then writes a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states their opinion or choice, and then explain it, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices. Responses are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least 3 different raters.
Task Description Approximate time
Reading 3–5 passages, each containing 12–14 questions 60–100 minutes
Listening 6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions 60–90 minutes
Break Mandatory break 10 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks 20 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 50 minutes
One of the sections of the test will include extra, uncounted material. Educational Testing Service includes extra material to pilot test questions for future test forms. When test-takers are given a longer section, they should give equal effort to all of the questions because they do not know which question will count and which will be considered extra. For example, if there are four reading passages instead of three, then one of the passages will not be counted. Any of the four could be the uncounted one.
TOEFL iBT Test
The TOEFL iBT test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points.
Each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The scaled scores from the four sections are added together to determine the total score.
Each speaking question is initially given a score of 0 to 4, and each writing question is initially given a score of 0 to 5. These scores are converted to scaled scores of 0 to 30.
Accepted TOEFL Scores
Most colleges use TOEFL scores as only one factor in their admission process, with a college or program within a college often setting a minimum TOEFL score required. The minimum TOEFL iBT scores range from 61 (Bowling Green State University) to 90 (MIT)
ETS has released tables to convert between iBT, CBT and PBT scores.
Linking TOEFL iBT Score Ranges to IELTS Scores
IELTS Score TOEFL Score
IELTS (THE INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE TESTING SYSTEM)
The IELTS provides a test that grades a person’s proficiency in the English language. There are 2 versions of the test: the Academic Module and the General Training Module. The Academic Module is usually for people wanting to follow an Academic Course in English and the General Training Module is usually for people wanting to follow a non-academic course or for immigration. Both modules are in four parts: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
IELTS is administered by 4 organizations:
University of Cambridge ESOL Exams
The British Council
IDP Education Australia
IELTS has been accepted as the standard international test system for English language proficiency by a whole range of institutions. These include the majority of all education establishments operating in English in Australia, Canada, the UK, USA, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Denmark and New Zealand. US educational institutions are also now starting to use it. Many international immigration services also use the IELTS as well as various professional organizations including the British and Australian Medical Councils and the UK Ministry of Defence.
THE ACADEMIC READING TEST
This is a 1 hour test in 3 sections with 40 questions based on 1 reading text per section (ie: 3 reading texts). The length of the Academic reading test will be between 2000 and 2750 words. Candidates are given a question paper and an answer paper. They may write on the question paper but they may not remove it from the test room after the test. All answers must be put onto the reading answer sheet before the end of the hour – there is no extra time after the 1 hour set for the academic reading test for the transfer of answers to the answer paper.
A variety of question types is used. Questions types that you will see will usually come from the following list:
notes/summary/diagram/flow chart completion
choosing from a heading bank to identify paragraphs or parts of the text
identification of writers opinions/ideas – yes/no/not given
identification of information in the text – yes/no/not given OR true/false/not given
matching lists or phrases
Texts are taken from magazines, journals, books and newspapers. Texts are for an undergraduate or postgraduate readership but assume NO specialist knowledge of the subject. All reading passage topics will be of general academic interest. At least one text will contain a logical argument. One text may include a diagram, graph or illustration. If there are any words or terms of a specialist technical nature, which candidates would not be expected to know, and then a short glossary will be provided.
THE ACADEMIC WRITING TEST
The AC writing test is of 1 hour duration. Candidates are required to do 2 tasks.
The Academic Writing Task 1 asks the candidate to describe in his or her own words factual information given to the candidate in pictorial form(s). The pictorial form(s) could be a line graph, a bar chart, a pie chart, a table or a picture describing a process. There could be a combination of these input forms. Candidates must write a minimum of 150 words.
The Academic Writing Task 2 asks the candidate to write an essay on a general academic topic. Candidates must write a minimum of 250 words.
THE ACADEMIC SPEAKING TEST
The IELTS Academic Speaking Test is the same for both the AC and GT modules. The test is conducted with 1 examiner and 1 candidate. The Academic Speaking test is recorded. The Academic Speaking Test is divided into 3 sections.
Section 1 The Academic Speaking Test Section 1 begins with some general introductory questions. This is followed by some questions on personal information similar to the type of questions one would ask when meeting someone for the first time. Finally the examiner asks a series of questions of 2 topics of general interest. (4 – 5 minutes)
Section 2 The Academic Speaking Test Section 2 is a monologue (1 person speaking) by the candidate. The examiner will give the candidate a card with a subject and a few guiding questions on it. The student must talk for 1 to 2 minutes on this subject. The examiner decides on the exact length. The student has an optional 1 minute in order to prepare for his talk and is provided with some paper and a pencil in order to make some brief notes. After the candidate’s talk the examiner will ask 1 or 2 brief questions in order to finish off the section. (3 – 4 minutes)
Section 3 In the Academic Speaking Test section 3 the examiner will ask some more questions generally related to the subject spoken about in section 2. These questions will be more demanding and require some critical analysis on the part of the candidate. (4 – 5 minutes)
THE ACADEMIC LISTENING TEST
The IELTS Academic Listening Test is the same for the AC and GT modules. The candidates will listen to a tape and answer a series of questions. The tape will be played ONCE only. The Academic Listening Test is in four sections with 10 questions in each (ie: a total of 40 questions) and will last for about 30 minutes with an extra 10 minutes at the end to transfer answers to the answer sheet.
A variety of question types is used in the Academic Listening Test. Questions types that you will see will usually come from the following list:
notes/diagram/flow chart completion
HOW THE IELTS TEST AND IELTS PRACTICE TESTS ARE GRADED/BANDED
The results IELTS candidates are graded/banded using a 9 BAND scale. The candidate will be given a Test Report Form on which they will find a full or half band for each part of the test and a final full or half band along with details of the candidate’s nationality, first language and date of birth. The 9 bands correspond to a series of descriptions that relates to the candidate’s English ability at that level. These band descriptors for the IELTS results are as follows:
BAND 9 Expert User Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
BAND 8 Very Good User Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles detailed argumentation well.
BAND 7 Good User Has operational command of the language, though occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
BAND 6 Competent User Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
BAND 5 Modest User Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
BAND 4 Limited User Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
BAND 3 Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
BAND 2 Intermittent User No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
BAND 1 Non User Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
BAND 0 Did not attempt the test. – No assessable information.
For more specific information on how the speaking and writing modules are marked/banded, please go to the free tutorials page and read the relevant tutorial.
For more general information about the IELTS test, look at the handbook section on the official IELTS website:ielts.org
Different between IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training.
The IELTS test has two forms: the Academic test (or module) and the General Training test (or module). The module that you take depends on the reason that you are taking it for. Generally speaking, the Academic Module is for those people who are trying to gain entry onto undergraduate or postgraduate education courses or for professional reasons. The General Training Module is for those people who wish to join some kinds of vocational or training courses, secondary schools or for immigration purposes.
Both Academic and General Training modules try and reflect real life situations to test whether a candidate would survive in English speaking social and academic environments. For example, the Part 2 section of the speaking asks candidates to talk, after 1 minute’s preparation, for 1 to 2 minutes on a given general topic. This would test General Training candidates to see if they could give a “work related presentation” to fellow work colleagues and would test Academic candidates if they can give a “university style presentation” to fellow students. It tests whether candidates have the English language capability to perform these tasks under some kind of pressure.
The IELTS test (both Academic and General Training modules) is divided into four parts: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The listening and speaking tests are exactly the same for the Academic and General Training modules but the reading and writing tests are different. Thus the test appears like this (in the order that you will take the different parts):
ACADEMIC GENERAL TRAINING
Listening 4 sections; 40 questions. 30 minutes 4 sections; 40 questions. 30 minutes
Reading 3 sections; 40 questions 3 sections; 40 questions
3 long texts 3 long texts
1 hour 1 hour
Writing 2 tasks 2 tasks
1 hour 1 hour
Speaking 3 sections 3 sections
11 – 14 minutes 11 – 14 minutes
CMAT (Common Management Admission Test )
The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is an online computer-based test conducted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), India. It is a national-level admission test for facilitating institutions to select suitable students for admission in all management programmes approved by AICTE.
American +2 (GED)
An overview of the GED® test
GED stands for General Educational Development. You may have heard people refer to the GED as the General Educational Diploma or the General Equivalency Diploma, but these are incorrect. GED is actually the process of earning the equivalent of your high school diploma, which is called a GED certificate or credential, if you pass the GED Test offered by GED Testing Service.
If you’re over the age of 16, the GED® test provides you with the opportunity to earn a certificate or diploma that is widely recognized as the equivalent of a high school diploma. Many schools will accept GED® test certification for entrance into a college or university program if your GED® test scores are at least equivalent to those of recently graduating high school seniors. Because more than 17 million people have passed their GED® tests since the beginning of the GED® test program in 1942, the chances are that you will blend in quite well on a university campus after you pass your test.
The GED® test is administered only at one of more than 3,400 official GED®test centers around the world; the official GED® test is never given online. There are a few things you might want to include in any GED® test prep you feel you should do, and one of the most important is visiting the GED® test website. There you will be able to find out more about the test, testing locations, and test dates, and requirement you will have to satisfy in order to achieve passing GED® test scores—and your GED® test passing certification.
The GED® test consists of five parts
As the first step in preparing for your GED® test, you should become familiar with the test’s structure and content. There are a total of five tests that must be passed before you can earn your GED® test diploma or certificate.
In the Language Arts, Writing test, you will answer multiple-choice questions in which you must identify errors and make corrections in sentence structure, usage, mechanics, and organization. You will also write an essay that presents your opinion and explains your views on a subject or issue of general interest.
During the Social Studies test, you will be tasked with answering multiple-choice questions drawn from history, economics, geography, civics, and government. The test gauges your understanding of the basic principles in each. To do well, you must be able to read passages, cartoons, graphs, and charts. There are different U.S. and Canadian versions of the Social Studies test.
For the Science test, multiple-choice questions are drawn from the fields of life science, earth and space science, and physical science (chemistry and physics). Answering the questions requires a combination of excellent reading skills, specific knowledge, and the ability to interpret scientific data. Data may be presented in paragraph form and in graphs, maps, tables, figures, and charts.
The Language Arts, Reading test includes multiple-choice questions that test your ability to understand the information presented in approximately seven excerpts from newspapers, magazines, novels, short stories, poetry, drama, and business or legal documents. The test covers both fiction and nonfiction materials.
Finally, there’s the Mathematics test. There are algebra, measurement, and geometry questions, as well as some that cover number theory, data analysis, and probability. Most are word problems and involve real-life situations or ask you to interpret information presented in graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams. Part I of the exam allows you to use a calculator. A calculator is not used in Part II. The test center will provide the calculator, a Casio fx-260, for your use during the test. If you are going to devote any time to GED® test prep, you might want to become familiar with this calculator’s operation. You will also be given a page of math formulas to use during the test, and you will record some of your answers on either standard or coordinate plane grids.
The GED® test has a simple structure
Language Arts, Writing
Question Type Number of Questions
Sentence corrections, revisions, and construction questions 50
Essay question 1
Time Allotted: One 75-minute session, one 45-minute session. Total: 2 hours
Question Type Number of Questions
Time Allotted: 70 minutes
Question Type Number of Questions
Time Allotted: 80 minutes
Language Arts, Reading
Question Type Number of Questions
Time Allotted: 65 minutes
Question Type Number of Questions
Multiple-choice and grid-ins (with calculator) 25
Multiple-choice and grid-ins (without calculator) 25
Time Allotted: Two 45-minute sessions. Total: 90 minutes
The GED® test is administered only at one of more than 3,400 official GED®test centers around the world; the official GED® test is never given online. There are a few things you might want to include in any GED® test prep you feel you should do, and one of the most important is visiting the GED test website. There you will be able to find out more about the test, test contents (including sample questions), testing locations, test dates, and any requirements you will have to satisfy in order to achieve passing GED® test scores—and your GED® test certification.
In November 1942, the United States Armed Forces Institute asked the American Council on Education (ACE) to develop a battery of tests to measure high school-level academic skills. These tests gave military personnel and veterans who had enrolled in the military before completing high school a way to demonstrate their knowledge. Passing these tests gave returning soldiers and sailors the academic credentials they needed to get civilian jobs and gain access to post-secondary education or training.
ACE revised the GED Tests for a third time in 1988. The most noticeable change to the series was the addition of a writing sample, or essay. The new tests placed more emphasis on socially relevant topics and problem-solving skills. For the first time, surveys of test-takers found that more students (65%) reported taking the test with the intention of continuing their education beyond high school, rather than to get better employment (30%).
A fourth revision was made in 2002 to make the test comply with more recent standards for high-school education.
A fifth revision was released on January 2, 2014, to be delivered on Pearson VUE, a proprietary computer-based testing platform.
There are more than 3,200 Official GED Testing Centers in the United States and Canada. Testing centers are most often in adult-education centers, community colleges, andpublic schools. Students in metropolitan areas may be able to choose from several testing locations.
Official GED Testing Centers are controlled environments. All testing sessions take place in person (not online) according to very specific rules, and security measures are enforced. Breaks may be permitted between tests, depending on how many tests are being administered in a session. There may be restrictions on what test-takers may bring into the testing room.
There are approximately three to six GED test forms in circulation at any time. This measure helps catch test-takers who may be cheating. As with any standardized test, the various test forms are calibrated to the same level of difficulty.
Possible scores on an individual test within the GED battery, like those on an individual section of the SAT, range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 800. A score of 800 on an individual test puts the student in the top 1% of graduating high school seniors. ACE issues recommendations for what constitutes a minimum passing score for any given sub-test (currently 410) and for the test as a whole (currently 2250—i.e., an average of 450 per test across all five sub-tests). Although most GED-issuing jurisdictions (for the most part, Boards of Education of U.S. states) adopt these minimum standards as their own, a jurisdiction may establish higher standards for issuance of the certificate if it chooses. Many jurisdictions award honors-level equivalency diplomas to students meeting certain criteria higher than those for a standard diploma in a given jurisdiction. Some districts hold graduation ceremonies for GED Tests passers and/or award scholarships to the highest scorers.
Colleges that admit based upon high school grades may require a minimum score on the GED test for admittance based upon the test. For example, Arizona State University requires an average sub-test score of 500 in addition to the certificate.
If a student passes one or more, but not all five tests within the battery, he or she needs only retake the test(s) s/he did not pass. Most places limit the number of times students may take each individual test within a year. A student may encounter a waiting period before being allowed to retake a failed test. Tests must be completed by the expiration date, which is generally every two years on the last day of the year.
Many government institutions and universities regard the GED test credential as the same as a high school diploma with respect to program eligibility and as a prerequisite for admissions. The U.S. military, however, has explicitly higher requirements in admissions for GED test takers to compensate for their lack of a traditional high school diploma.The test is administered to a representative sample of graduating high-school seniors each year, about 30% of whom fail the test. That only 70% of these students pass the test may show that it is harder than commonly believed.
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
The Graduate Management Admission Test is a computer adaptive test (CAT) which assesses a person’s analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English in preparation for being admitted into a graduate management program, such as an MBA. The GMAT does not measure business knowledge or skill. Nor does it measure intelligence. The GMAT is simply a test of how well one takes the GMAT. According to the test owning company, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAT), the GMAT assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, while also addressing data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that it believes to be vital to real-world business and management success. GMAT is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council. More than 5,900 programs offered by more than 2,100 universities and institutions use the GMAT exam as part of the selection criteria for their programs site. Business schools use the test as a criterion for admission into a wide range of graduate management programs, including MBA, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs. The GMAT exam is administered in standardized test centers in 112 countries around the world. On June 5, 2012, GMAT introduced an integrated reasoning section to the exam that is designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate data presented in new formats and multiple sources. According to GMAT, it has continually performed validity studies to statistically verify that the exam predicts success in business school programs. According to a survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, the GMAT is still the number one choice for MBA aspirants despite the increasing acceptability of GRE scores.
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