College Entrance Exams
As you prepare for college, you will encounter several types of college entrance exams.
The type of test you are required to take will depend on the school you attend. Most colleges and universities require the ACT or SAT, while military schools require the ASVAB. The following information will help you to distinguish between the types of test so that you are better informed as you prepare to register. If you have additional questions, contact your high school guidance counselor, or we at Harvesting Scholars are happy to help.
What is the difference between the ACT and SAT?
The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.The ACT has up to 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. The SAT has only 3 components: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.The College Board introduced a new version of the SAT in 2005, with a mandatory writing test. ACT continues to offer its well-established test, plus an optional writing test. You take the ACT Writing Test only if required or requested by the college(s) you're applying to.
The SAT penalizes you for wrong answers, so guessing is discouraged. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.The ACT has an Interest Inventory that allows students to evaluate their interests in various career options.
What is the ASVAB?
The ASVAB is an aptitude test that helps to determine what jobs you will qualify for if you decide to join the military. It scores in four critical areas -- Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) -- count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you're qualified to enlist in the U.S. military. Your scores in the other areas of the ASVAB will determine how qualified you are for certain military occupational specialties and Enlistment Bonuses. A high score will improve your chances of getting the specialty/job and signing bonus you want.
What is the COMPASS test?
The COMPASS® Test was designed to measure the knowledge levels of incoming college students in the subjects of Mathematics and English. The test results are used by university administrators to place incoming students into the appropriate Math and English classes. Contact your school for information on how to register.
Test Taking Practice