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Part 6: Admissions Tests - 2001-09-10


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Cambodia. Sarin Supheakmungkol asks about admissions tests required by American colleges. That is the subject of our report today about how foreign students can attend an American university.

Experts say American colleges consider three things when deciding which students to admit. Most important are the grades the student has earned in school. The second most important is the difficulty of classes completed. College entrance officials usually accept students who have shown that they are interested in learning and have taken difficult classes. The third thing they look at is scores on admissions tests.

One of these tests is the Scholastic Assessment Test, or S-A-T. It measures a student’s understanding of mathematics and English. It also measures how well a student reads and understands what is read. The S-A-T is a three-hour test. It costs about twenty-four dollars and can be taken using a computer. You can get detailed information at the College Board Web site at w-w-w dot collegeboard-dot-com. If you will not be using a computer to take the test, you can get information at an International Advising Center or American diplomatic office in your country.

Another test is called the Test of Spoken English. It is a twenty-minute test that involves speaking the language. Many American universities want you to take this test if you plan to attend graduate school.

Some universities also will tell you to take the Test of Written English. This is a thirty-minute test in which you write about something in English. It measures your ability to organize information and express ideas in correct English.

The schools to which you apply may or may not want you to take any of these tests. They probably will require a test known as TOEFL. TOEFL is a short way of saying Test of English as a Foreign Language. It measures the ability to understand, read and write English. Experts at the Educational Testing Service write admissions tests used by American colleges. They say the TOEFL will be changing in the next few years. They are investigating ways to include a speaking test. We will tell more about the TOEFL next week.