Standardized tests are an important component of applying to U.S. colleges and universities. They measure students’ abilities across a standard platform. It is important to note, however, that good standardized test scores are just one of the many factors U.S. institutions consider when awarding scholarship – USEF will address these other factors in next month’s issue of Teenz.

The standardized tests that are usually required for undergraduate applicants are TOEFL or IELTS, SAT Reasoning Test or ACT, and SAT Subject Tests. Students who want to give these tests have to register in advance because seats are limited. USEF’s advice is to start looking into these tests while you are in Class 11 or AS Level rather than giving the tests after the completion of high school. With a score in hand, you can apply to colleges and universities in Class 12 itself rather than wasting a year or two waiting to take these tests after completing high school. Furthermore, if a retake of the exams is required to improve scores, you will still have time.

TOEFL
TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language. This exam helps to measure English proficiency for non-native speakers. Almost all colleges and universities require the TOEFL test score to evaluate a student’s English skills. Since classes in the U.S. are taught in English, colleges and universities want to assess if a student possesses the language skills to succeed in an American classroom. Students should be aware of the minimum score requirement, which    varies according to institution.

TOEFL is available in Nepal as an Internet Based Test (iBT) format, offered approximately twice a month. The iBT TOEFL consists of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The cost for iBT TOEFL is $165.

Registration
To find test dates, test centers and to register for the TOEFL, you need to create a “Profile”, meaning a user name and password, on www.ets.org/toefl. Once you create a profile and log in, you will be able to view the test centers and register for the test. There are many test centers in Kathmandu. USEF-Nepal (also known as The Fulbright Commission) is an iBT TOEFL test center. There are two ways by which you can register for the test.  You can mail a dollar-denominated bank draft or register online with an international credit card. The easier way to register is via online registration. If you do not have an international credit card, some local banks offer online registration services to help you make the payment using their credit card.

Sending Score Reports
When you register for the TOEFL, you can choose to report your scores to four colleges or universities free of cost. Additional score reports cost $17 each.

IELTS
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is an English proficiency test that you could possibly take in place of TOEFL. As IELTS is accepted by about 1,400 out of the approximately 4,000 U.S. colleges and universities, USEF recommends that you check the IELTS website www.ielts.org for the recognition list and more information.

ACT/SAT and SAT Subject Tests
In addition to the TOEFL or IELTS, USEF recommends undergraduate applicants to take either the SAT or ACT, as well as the SAT Subject Tests. These tests may be required by some colleges in the United States, especially the more competitive ones. By scoring well on these tests, you make yourself more competitive for entrance and scholarship at U.S. colleges. These tests are offered five or six times a year and you should register well in advance to appear for the tests due to limited seats.

ACT
ACT stands for the American College Test. It is a fairly new test for Nepali students as it recently started in Nepal. The test is paper-based and consists of Reading, Science, Mathematics, and an optional Writing section. It is more of a curriculum based test. The cost of ACT is $59 without the writing section; including the writing section, it costs $74. If you wish to take the writing exam, you must choose a test in October, December or April. The test centers for the ACT are Lincoln School and Rato Bangala School.

Registration
Log on to www.actstudent.org and create a username and password. After creating a username and password, you can register online with an international credit card. If you do not have an international credit card, you can use the services provided by some local banks, which can help you register for the test via their international credit card.

Sending Score Reports
You can send your ACT scores to up to four colleges and universities for free. In order to send the scores, upload the names of colleges or universities in your ACT online profile. Additional test score reports cost $9 per report.

SAT
The SAT is also called the Reasoning Test. Previously, the SAT was known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT I. The SAT Reasoning Test consists of Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. It is a paper- based exam. The cost for SAT is $75. There are three test centers in Nepal: Lincoln School, Rato Bangala School and St. Xavier’s School. Please note that on a single test date, you can either take the SAT Reasoning Test or the SAT Subject Tests.

SAT Subject Tests
Scores from the SAT Subject Tests (previously known as SAT II) help U.S. colleges evaluate a student’s skills in different subjects. There are fifteen tests a student can choose from, and all are paper-based. Students from Nepal usually choose Subject Tests in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics Levels 1 and 2, but many other subjects are also available. Students can take up to three subject tests per test date. Please note that on a single test date, you can either take the SAT Reasoning Test or the SAT Subject Tests.

Registration for SAT Reasoning/ SAT Subject Tests
Log on to www.collegeboard.com and create a username and password, after which you can register online with an international credit card. If you do not have an international credit card, you can use the services provided by some local banks, which can help you register for the test via their international credit card. Paper registration is also possible (you would send a bank draft and the paper registration form to the SAT Program). Please visit USEF-Nepal to collect a paper registration form and guide.

Sending Score Reports
You can send your SAT scores to up to four colleges and universities for free. In order to send the scores, upload the names of colleges or universities on your Collegeboard.com profile. If you fail to provide the names within the time limit given, or if you wish to order additional score reports, the charge is $10 per report.

Start planning now if you’d like to take these standardized tests in the coming months. For detailed information about the standardized exams recommended for admissions at U.S. colleges and universities, attend USEF’s free ‘Orientation on the Standardized Tests’ held monthly. Find out about USEF’s upcoming events on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/usef.nepal.