College Admission Tests

Standardized College Admissions Tests

The SAT Reasoning Test

Starting with the May 2016 exam, the SAT Reasoning Test will have a new, redesigned format. We have provided the below as guidance, but we highly suggest that you review the official information on the College Board (the organisation that administers the SAT) website to have a better understanding of what the changes will be.

Additionally, please confirm with the university you are applying to (if you are applying in autumn 2016 or beyond) which SAT score the university will accept. To the best of our knowledge many universities (for students graduating secondary school in 2017) will accept the old SAT score; though, NOT all, thus, it is important to check with the university. For students graduating secondary school in 2018, it is unclear as of yet how many universities will still accept the “old SAT” score vs the “new SAT” score. We strongly suggest that you check with each institution you are applying to.

SAT by Category New SAT (From May 30, 2016)
  • No penalty for wrong answers
  • Score is out of 1600
    • Math: 800
    • Evidence-Based Reading & Writing: 800
    • Writing: 800
  • Sub scores and cross-test scores added for greater insights*
  • Optional essay (scored separately)
  • 1 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Test
  • 65-minute Reading section
  • 35-minute Language & Writing section
  • 1 Math test
    • 55 minutes section with calculator
    • 25 minutes section without calculator
  • 1 Essay Test (optional)- 50 minutes
  • 4 answer choices for multiple choice questions
Timing 3 hours: 3 hours 50 minutes with optional essay
  • Available in print and digitally
  • Less questions, but more emphasis on in-depth
    analysis of content and evidence
  • Concentrated focus on:
    • Problem-solving
    • Data Analysis
    • The Heart of Algebra
    • Passport of Advanced Maths
    • Real-world problem solving accompanied by informational graphics
    • Calculator permitted for 37 questions
    • calculator not permitted for 20 questions
    • Multiple choice and grid-in question; 1 item Set grid-in question
Reading and Writing
  • Evidence-based Writing
  • No Sentence Competitions
  • Tests understanding of passages from U.S and World Literature, History/Social studies, and Sciences (500-700)
  • Writing and Language
  • Tests Experience of Ideas and Standard English Conversation through passages relating to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities, and Science
  • All questions pull from extended prose (400-450 words)
  • Essay is optional and separately
  • 50 minute time limit to analyse a 650-750 word document and draft an essay
  • Tests reading, analysis, and writing skill
  • Requires all students to analyse a source document and explain how the author builds and argument
  • Facts Matters

For further insight into the SAT changes, we suggest you have a look at this  New York Times article.

*While our advisors are thorough in our research and provide the information above as a helpful guide, we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies. Please confirm information about the SAT with College Board and the US university you are applying to.

SAT Subject Test

Math Level 1

Tests: Algebra, geometry, basic trigonometry, Algebraic functions, elementary statistics, logic, elementary number theory, and arithmetic and geometric sequences.

Math Level 2

Tests: Algebra, three-dimensional and coordinate geometry, Trigonometry, functions, probability, permutations, combinations, logic, proofs, elementary number theory, sequences, and limits.


Tests: Understanding of general biology at the college preparatory level, recall and comprehension of the major concepts of biology, and the ability to apply the principles learned to solve specific problems in biology.


Tests: Ability to organize and interpret results obtained by observation and experimentation. The test also assesses aptitude for drawing conclusions and/or making inferences using experimental data, including data presented in graphic and/or tabular form.


Tests: Ability to solve specific problems with the application of physical principles. The test also assesses understanding of simple algebraic, trigonometric, and graphical relationships, the concepts of ratio and proportion, and how to apply these concepts to physics problems.

U.S. History

Tests: Familiarity with historical concepts, cause-and-effect relationships, geography, and other data necessary for interpreting and understanding major historical developments in U.S. History.

World History

Tests: Understanding of key developments in global history, use of basic historical techniques and terminology, and aptitude for the critical analysis and interpretation of documented events.

English Literature

Tests: How well one can read and interpret literature. Questions focus on issues of theme, argument, tone, etc.


The ACT* is a very popularly taken college entrance exam in the United States. Its main motive is to test the knowledge acquired via the curriculum of high school and the ability to apply that knowledge, so its not just stuffing the content of that high school book in your brains. Some U.S. states it is an important criterion to take the ACT before graduating. Colleges and universities consider your ACT scores, along with other factors like high school GPA, extracurricular activities, personal statements, and interviews, when making admissions decisions.

The ACT tests four subject areas namely English, Math, Reading, and Science, plus an optional Writing test which is mandatory for some colleges like University of California. All 215 questions are multiple-choice, with the exception of the Writing test, which consists of a 30-minute essay response to a single prompt. The ACT takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, and an additional 30 minutes for those who are willing to take the Writing test. A separate score is reported on a scale of 1-36 for each of the four subject area tests. (Your writing test sub score will be included in your English score.) Your composite ACT score will be a number from 1-36, an average of your scores on all four tests.

The ACT is administered by ACT, Inc. and is conducted each year in February, April, June, September, October, and December. Many students prefer taking the test in the spring of their junior year and/or the fall of their senior year of high school, but the time when you choose to take the exam is really a subjective thing and should be based on your own individual circumstances. ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

Registration deadlines tend to fall about five weeks before each test date, and you can register to take the ACT online.


The TOEFL is an English language proficiency test used worldwide for academics, employment, and visa applications. It is administered by US-based ETS, and is the preferred/required test of most universities in the United States. There are many different types of TOEFL, but students should take iBT (internet based test), if they are willing to apply to colleges. The test is in English and is taken on the Internet. There are four sections (listening, reading, speaking and writing) which take a total of about four and a half hours to complete.

Reading 60-80 minutes 36-56 questions Read 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answer questions. Listening 60-90 minutes 34-51 questions Listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answer questions. Break 10 minutes – – Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks. Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion in writing.

The test is held multiple times a month, and registration is encouraged well ahead of time. You can explore more with ProEd, the premier education and career consultancy in Dubai, and register online at TOEFL to take the test.


The IELTS exam, administered by the British Council and CES, is an English proficiency test accepted all over. It is a compulsory for students planning on attending a school in the UK, however it is accepted by some universities in other places of the world too Students can register at an IELTS certified center or online at

All IELTS candidates must complete 4 modules:

Listening 30 mins 4 sections 40 items
Reading Academic / Reading General Training 60 mins 3 sections 40 items
Writing Academic / Writing General Training 60 mins 2 tasks 150 & 250 words per task
Speaking 11-14 mins
Total test time 2 hours 45 mins

The first three modules – Listening, Reading and Writing – must be completed in one day. The Speaking Module may be taken 7 days before or after the other modules.


The UKCAT is the UK’s primary required admissions test for those students interested in studying medicine at a university. The test helps universities make their judgment in selecting the most highly-qualified applicants for their respective medical and dental programs. It helps to ensure that candidates selected HAVE the most appropriate mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviour that are essential to make efficient doctors. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as the UCAS application and academic qualifications.

The UKCAT does not test any curriculum or science content. It focuses on exploring the cognitive powers of candidates and other attributes considered to be valuable for health care professionals. The test is run by the UKCAT Consortium in partnership with Pearson VUE, a global leader in computer-based testing and part of Pearson plc. It is delivered on computers worldwide through Pearson VUE’s high street centers.

The test is comprised of five sections: four of which are worth 900 points each, and a separate Situational Judgment evaluation section to test the ability to handle real world medical scenarios and the ability to apply theoretical knowledge.

The timings of the two tests are detailed below:

Verbal Reasoning 44 items 22 minutes 28 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 36 items 25 minutes 31.5 minutes
Abstract Reasoning 55 items 14 minutes 17.5 minutes
Decision Analysis 28 items 32 minutes 39 minutes
Situational Judgement 67 items 27 minutes 34 minutes
Total Time 120 minutes 150 minutes


The British Medical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a science-based medical admissions test required by 5 schools in the UK for admission to their 5 year MBBS program. It is a subject-specific admissions test for applicants to medicine, veterinary medicine and similar courses at universities.

The BMAT is a 2-hour, pen-and-paper test divided into three sections. It does not require a lot of extra study as it is a test of skills and knowledge that learners are expected to have already. The BMAT is owned and administered by the Admissions Testing Service.

How is the BMAT scored?

Questions in Sections 1 and 2 are worth 1 mark each. Total raw marks for each section are converted to the BMAT scale, which runs from 1 (low) to 9 (high). Typical BMAT candidates will score around 5.0, roughly half marks. The best candidates will score around 6.0, and a few exceptional candidates will score higher than 7.0.

Writing Tasks in Section 3 are marked by two examiners. Each examiner gives two scores, one for the quality of content (on a scale of 0-5), and one for quality of written English (on the scale A, C, E).
Combining the scores for Section 3: If the two marks for content are the same or no more than one mark apart, the candidate gets the average of the two marks. If the two marks for written English are the same or no more than one mark apart, the scores are combined like this: AA = A, AC = B, CC = C, CE = D and EE = E.

For example, a writing task given a 4C by one examiner and 4A by the other will get a final score of 4B. A writing task given 3C by one examiner and 2C by the other will receive a mark of 2.5C.
If there is a larger discrepancy in the marks, the writing tasks are marked for a third time and the final mark is checked by the Senior Assessment Manager.