THE APPLICATION ESSAY : Apart from filling in the application form all American universities ask students to write an application essay. Admission departments are interested in who you are what things are important to you, what contributions will you bring to the campus community are just some of the factors they are interested in.
ASSESSMENT TESTS : There are a number of standardized tests that American universities and colleges use as a mandatory part of their selection system, because the test scores make it easier to compare the abilities of students. There are two main types of standardised tests: a). those that measure English language ability among students whose first language is not English and b). admissions exams that assess student’s readiness for university-level work.
More selective colleges and universities sometimes also ask for SAT Subject Tests in specific disciplines, such as science, mathematics or the humanities. As each college and university in the USA is independent they can makes their own decisions about which tests will be accepted and required for international students. The most common tests are listed below, but universities and colleges might have different requirements and these should be checked carefully before putting in an application.
TOEFL (TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE):
This is a compulsory test for those students whose first language is not English. The TOEFL Internet-based test is administered in most countries, and the paper-based test is also available in many areas. The TOEFL Test is designed to test proficiency in reading, listening, speaking and writing.
TOEFL Internet-based tests take about four and a half hours, and the Paper-based test about three and a half hours. The score is valid for two years from the date of testing and the maximum score is 120 for the Internet-based test and 677 for the Paper-based test.
IELTS (INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE TESTING SYSTEM):
Many universities and colleges in the USA now accept the IELTS test offered by the British Council. The test itself takes about two and a half hours and evaluates reading, writing, listening and speaking. Like TOEFL it is valid for two years and has a maximum score of nine.
This standardized test is administered six times a year and is widely available at a range of testing sites. Test questions are approximately divided into the following categories:
- Writing – 60 minutes
- Critical Reading – 70 minutes
- Mathematical Reasoning – 70 minutes
- Unscored Section – 25 minutes
The test takes about three and three quarter hours, has a maximum score of 800 and is valid for five years.
SAT SUBJECT TESTS:
These are one hour multiple-choice tests in specific subject areas, Not all universities and colleges require these tests. They are valid for five years, have a maximum score of 800 and last for one hour .
The ACT Test takes about four hours and fifteen minutes, with breaks. It is a test that is organised by subject area e.g. Science, English, etc. The maximum score that be achieved is 36. The ACT has five test dates outside of the USA and for students outside of North America it is possible to register online and pay by credit card. Both ACT and the College Board offer a wide range of practice materials.