Once you know which tests you have to take, it is important to find out when and where they are offered in your country. Telephone numbers and Web site addresses for each of these programs can be found online through www.google.com.
Millions of students are tested each year, so it is important that you register for your tests as soon as you know which ones are required. Early registration will ensure that you get a testing appointment, and that your scores will arrive in time to meet your application deadlines.
Before the Test
Regardless of which tests you are required to take, it is essential that you become familiar with the test itself.
Important questions to which you need the answers:
- How much time is allowed to take the test?
- What is the test format—paper or computer?
- What sorts of directions are provided?
- How many questions are on the test?
- What types of questions are there (multiple choice, essay questions, etc.)?
- Are you allowed to bring in a calculator?
Free publications and sample practice tests are available to help you become familiar with the questions used in the tests. First use the practice material included in most test bulletins before you determine what additional test preparation you may need. Sample questions are also available on some test Web sites, including:
In addition to the practice material included in most test bulletins, a variety of test program materials are available for purchase directly from the testing companies during registration, on the Web sites, at local bookstores, from participating USIS offices, and educational advising and bi-national centers. Test preparation materials produced by commercial publishers are also available at many bookstores. Additionally, many local educational institutions, American schools, and English-language speaking schools offer test preparation courses, as do commercial test preparation companies.
Self-study materials come in books, audiocassettes, or CD-ROM versions. Courses usually involve a book and practice tests, as well as classroom instruction. For some computerized tests, like the GMAT, you can make an appointment to visit a testing site and take a practice test for a fee.
Receiving Your Scores
If you score poorly on a test, you can take the test again. Some tests send out all previous scores on a score report to an institution, but some do not. You can find out the score reporting policy for the test you are taking and if it is possible to cancel a poor score. Some schools average all of your scores, some just look at the highest score, and some consider only the most recent. Contact the university directly to determine their policy.
Each testing company charges a fee to take a standardized test. In most cases, payment of the fee allows you to send your test scores to a limited number of schools. For an additional fee, you may have extra copies of your reports sent to other institutions. Test fees vary by programs. They usually range from $22.50 (USD) to $160 (USD), but are subject to change each year.
Before taking a standardized test, check out our Test Tips.