College Entrance Exams
You should take the SAT in the spring of your junior year so you have another shot at improving your score in the summer or early fall of your senior year. The SAT includes reading, writing (an essay and multiple-choice questions) and math, with optional subject tests available. Learn more about registering and find practice activities at the College Board’s SAT page.
Like the SAT, the ACT should be first taken in the spring of your junior year which leaves you the opportunity to improve your score before you apply for colleges in the fall of your senior year. The ACT includes English, math, reading and science. The ACT Plus Writing also adds a 30-minute writing test. Make sure to find out if the colleges you’re applying for require a writing test. Find out about signing up for the ACT and what’s included on the test at the ACT homepage.
College Entrance Preparation Exams
The EXPLORE test, taken in eighth or ninth grade, covers four subjects (English, math, reading and science) and will tell you where you’re weak or strong. It may help forge your career path, too.
Like the ACT, the PLAN test covers English, math, reading and science. Take the test as a sophomore or junior to learn where you’re strong and where you need more work. Plus, the PLAN will help your school counselor pinpoint your AP potential for certain subjects. Find out more and look at practice questions at the ACT PLAN site.
The PSAT, or officially the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), prepares you for the SAT with reading, writing and math. Other great benefits include being automatically registered to win a National Merit Scholarship based on your scores (if you take the test as a junior), helping your counselor identify your Advanced Placement (AP) potential and being able to access the College Board’s My College QuickStart college and career planning kit. Push yourself to take the PSAT during your sophomore year—you’ll be thankful for the experience later on when it comes time to take the SAT. Plus, the PSAT is free for sophomores in the state of Indiana! Learn more at the College Board’s PSAT site.
ReadiStep is a college preparation test taken in middle school. It’s aligned with Indiana’s Common Core standards as well as with the SAT college entrance exam.
Workforce Preparation Tests
See if your high school administers the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, or the ASVAB, used by military branches to determine where your skills will be best utilized. Some programs other than the military also use ASVAB results.
WorkKeys assessments help you determine your strengths and weaknesses in skills needed for your career. Adults can take WorkKeys assessments at WorkOne locations, and high school students may be able to take them in their high school.
WorkKeys tests six skills needed in most careers: information location, observation, reading for information, mathematics, applied technology and teamwork. You can take practice WorkKeys assessments and learn more at the WorkKeys homepage.
Indiana K-12 Tests
Indiana students are required to take the ISTEP+ in grades 3 through 8, and End-of-Course Assessments in high school. Information about all of Indiana’s assessments can be found on the Indiana Department of Education’s assessments page.
End-of-Course Assessments, or ECAs, are taken in high school at the end of certain courses. You will be tested in Algebra I, Biology I and English 10. Learn more about ECAs and find sample questions on the Department of Education’s ECA page.
In third grade, students take the IREAD assessment to determine whether they will advance to fourth grade, as required by state law. IREAD is also given in kindergarten through second grade as a diagnostic literacy assessment used to help identify where students are struggling with their reading competency.
The Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus, or ISTEP+, takes place in grades 3 through 8. In all grades, you will take tests in English/Language Arts and Mathematics. In grades 4 and 6, you will also be tested in Science. In grades 5 and 7, you will take a test on Social Studies.
Visit the Department of Education’s ISTEP+ page for sample questions and more information.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, which Indiana has adopted along with other states. The PARCC assessments will begin being administered in schools in the 2014-2015 academic year.