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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series #8 - College Entrance Tests - 2004-10-20

Broadcast: October 21, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Colleges and universities in the United States generally consider three things when they decide which students to accept. They consider the grades that a student has earned in school. Experts say marks are the most important thing.

But officials also consider the difficulty of the classes that the student took. And they consider the scores that the student received on college entrance tests.

Today, in part eight of our Foreign Student Series, we discuss the two tests known as the S.A.T. and the A.C.T.

The S.A.T. measures reasoning skills in mathematics and language. This includes how well a student reads and understands what is read. Students may also need to take S.A.T. subject tests in areas like history, science and foreign language.

After January, the S.A.T. will cost forty-one dollars and fifty cents, a twelve dollar increase. The international processing charge is an additional twenty dollars.

Next March, there will be changes in the S.A.T. For example, students will have to write an essay. But they will no longer be tested on word analogies. The test is now three hours long. The changes will add forty-five minutes.

You can get more information about the S.A.T. at the College Board Web site, collegeboard dot com.

The A.C.T. has tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. It takes about three hours and thirty minutes to complete. Starting in February, students can also take a writing test. The A.C.T. costs forty-five dollars to take outside the United States. The Web site for more information is

Some schools may suggest that foreign students also take the Test of Spoken English or the Test of Written English. But most American schools require the TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language. That is our subject next week.

Internet users can find the reports in our Foreign Student Series at The State Department has information for international students at

Now here is a quick test. Do you know what A.C.T. and S.A.T. mean? A.C.T. stands for American College Test. S.A.T. used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test. Then it became Scholastic Assessment Test. Now, the College Board, which owns the test, says S.A.T. does not stand for anything.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Gwen Outen.