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There are many types of tests available to teens. The tests your teens need to take will depend on their post high school goals. For more information about College Testing, look at the resources below:
- College Entrance Exams: Making Sense of the ACT, SAT, and CLT
- The PSAT Tests: A Litany of Choices for College-Bound Teens
- The Benefits of AP® and CLEP Tests for College-Bound Teens
- “What You Need to Know About College Testing” by Kim Lundberg provides more information on the various tests.
Preparing your teen to score well on tests is important especially for college admissions and dual enrollment. Check out the test prep help below.
These tests are commonly taken in grades 1–10. Examples include the Stanford Achievement Test, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the California Achievement Test. Some states require specific tests, while others have no requirements. Check your state law for high school testing information here. For additional information about which tests to use for your children, see the article “Choosing and Ordering Standardized Tests” (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) and Vicki Bentley’s article on Testing (contains relevant information on testing for all grade levels).
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are rigorous courses taken during high school but taught at a college level. The courses typically require an extensive amount of study, reading, and writing. There are 37 different AP courses across 22 subject areas that culminate in the taking of a standardized AP test for each course given nationwide in the late spring (usually May).
In order for homeschoolers to label courses as “Advanced Placement” on their high school transcripts, the course syllabus must now be pre-approved by the College Board AP Central. (AP is a trademark and to use it without approval is illegal.) Details on the AP tests, including teacher resources, exam questions, and other materials are provided. Because the AP Central does not list homeschool-approved syllabi in the Course Ledger which is used by colleges to check the validity of the Advanced Placement designation, it is necessary to keep the AP Central’s notice of approval for each AP course. Therefore, these letters should be attached to the high school transcript that you send to colleges.
Homeschooled students can study and prepare for these tests, either on their own or by enrolling in online AP courses. They must make arrangements through a local public or private school to register for and take a particular test. These arrangements should be made far in advance (December or January) of the test date so that the school has time to order a test for your student. (Some public high schools are more accommodating than others in allowing homeschooled students to sit for tests—as an alternative, you can also try a nearby private school.) The College Board provides specific instructions for homeschoolers taking AP tests.
In addition to completing the course work or studying the subject material on their own, students desiring to take an Advanced Placement test would be wise to use test preparation materials. A list of AP test preparation materials is provided on the College Board website, along with comprehensive details regarding registering, preparing for, and reasons for considering AP courses. If a student scores high enough on the AP test, he can receive college credit in that subject area depending on the policy at the institution he is attending. Each college determines the minimum score necessary on each AP test to earn credit and usually posts this information on its website.
When registering for an Advanced Placement test, students should contact the AP Central at the College Board for your state specific homeschool code.
- BJU Press writing evaluation testing
- National Right to Read Competency Test
(“Keep in mind that grade-level 6 is equivalent to high-school level reading today.”)
- Schonell Test to determine reading age
- Sonlight reading assessment
- Alpha Omega Publications placement tests
- You will find information on the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and PSAT/NMSQT and steps to register your teen for these exams in this newsletter: The PSAT Tests: A Litany of Choices for College-Bound Teens
- PSAT prep resources
- “College Entrance Tests: Making Sense of the ACT, SAT, and CLT” This article gives detailed information on each college entrance test including test preparation, online registration, test scoring, photo ids, fee waivers, and accommodations.
- ACT Prep Resources
- SAT Prep Resources
- CLT Prep Resources
- Future Leader Lab founded by a university professor and homeschool mom
- Highlands: The Right Choice by Leslie Martin and Kathleen T. Danelo
- Don’t Waste Your Talent by Bob McDonald, Ph.D. and Don E. Hutcheson
- College Board (AP, CLEP, PSAT, SAT, & SAT Subject)
- Acing the ACT: An Elite Tutor’s Guide to Tricky Questions and Secret Strategies that Make a Big Difference
- College Board AP Practice Exams (free)
- SAT prep can also be used
- Free SAT prep resources
- SAT Smart Phone App Sends a daily review question.
CLT10: This free two-hour exam has been designed for 9th- and 10th-grade students, and it gives teens the opportunity to prepare for the prestigious CLT. Any sophomore who scores within the top 1% will earn a $2,500 scholarship honored at any partner college. Unlike the Common Core–aligned PSAT and ACT Aspire, the CLT10 tests critical student thinking skills. Students analyze rich literary passages and demonstrate mathematical ability. Students can test online at home or at a homeschool group facility, and test scores are available by the end of the test day.
Students can take the Preliminary SAT / National Merit® Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT / NMSQT) for SAT practice, but the College Board only offers this exam one day in October. In the 11th grade, students can take the PSAT as the first step in order to qualify for the National Merit® Scholarships. If your child qualifies as a semifinalist/finalist for the National Merit Scholarship and you have questions regarding the completion of the application, do not hesitate to call the National Merit Scholarship Corporation at 847-866-5100.
ACT Aspire: This timed test helps prepare students to take the ACT. Offered twice per year (September/October and April/May), the ACT Aspire does not offer an accompanying scholarship for high-scoring teens. There are grade-by-grade versions of the ACT Aspire for 3rd–10th grade, and parents must contact their local public school to discover if the exam is open to homeschooling students. The public school will assign homeschooled students an individual code on the day of the test (different than the public school code).
The SAT, ACT, and CLT are college entrance tests that most colleges use for admissions purposes. The ACT tests knowledge in four subject areas (math, English, reading, and science) with an optional essay section. The SAT is a reasoning test that consists of both verbal and math sections with an optional written essay. We recommend that you check with a specific college to find out whether the essay section is required. The CLT is a rigorous measure of academic ability and student potential in both verbal and math. The CLT has no Common Core alignment, and it does not offer an essay section. HSLDA members can receive a $10 discount on CLT registration.
Many students begin taking the college entrance tests in the 11th grade after they have completed Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Students may take each test multiple times to improve their scores. Parents can link directly to the ACT, College Board (SAT), and Classic Learning Initiatives (CLT) at the links below:
A note from the HSLDA Special Needs Consultant Department: Starting in September 2017, the ACT will move to an entirely online filing system. This means that they will no longer accept accommodations requests via paper, email, or fax. Additionally, under the new online system, any parent or administrator wishing to apply for accommodations for a student must obtain a school administrator account with the ACT.
The College Board administers SAT Subject Tests which are used by some colleges either for admission or placement purposes. The SAT Subject Tests are one hour tests, and can be taken in a variety of subject areas including English, History, Math, Science, and Foreign Language. The homeschool high school code (CEEB) for the SAT Subject Tests is 970000.
These SAT Subject Tests are in addition to and should not be confused with, the general SAT Reasoning test which most colleges require for admission. Selective colleges may require applicants to take certain SAT Subject Tests. Check with a particular college to see if it requires these tests.
Subject Tests are offered on various test dates throughout the year, and the tests are best taken soon after the course is completed. The College Board also provides test-taking tips and strategies for taking the Subject Tests.
Many community colleges require students to take placement tests prior to admission. Being familiar with these tests will help students to score well enough to gain admission as a dual enrolled or full time student.
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests are evaluations of a student’s achievement of college-level work.
Check out the College Board for information regarding how to receive college credit for what your child already knows. CLEP registration, preparation, and exam descriptions and the benefits of CLEP testing are explained in detail on the website.
The Modern States Freshman Year for Free program offers students access to free online courses that prepare them to take CLEP tests. Modern States also provides vouchers to cover the CLEP test fees to those students who complete the online courses.
DSST, previously known as the Dantes Subject Standardized Tests, has over 38 examinations in college subjects. These tests were originally designed for military service personnel, but they are now available to the general public. Similar to CLEP tests, the DSST can engender college credit based on the scores of the test. More information is available at the following websites.
High School Equivalency tests are designed to evaluate whether an individual who has not graduated from high school has achieved knowledge typically acquired in high school. Because these tests are primarily taken by high school dropouts, they continue to carry a stigma. If your student has finished the high school program you designed for him, he deserves to be awarded a homeschool diploma. Should colleges or employers require your graduate to take the GED, HiSET, or TASC, please read how to respond or call HSLDA for assistance.
Some parents have the erroneous impression that they cannot issue a diploma to a student who has finished a home education program. With rare exceptions, parent-issued high school diplomas are accepted as proof of completion of high school by colleges, employers, and the military. In fact, only a parent is in the position to know if a student finished the program of secondary education the parent prescribed. It is the parent, therefore, who should sign the diploma.
For more information on which high school equivalency test is used by your state, click here.
For more details on whether your state is involved in these changes, click here.
Perhaps your teen isn’t sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He may benefit from taking a personality/aptitude/career test to discover his talents and gifts as well as his passions and interests. Additional helpful publications and sites can be found in the resource section of this website.