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Homeschool High School Standardized Testing

Updated: Apr 20

What about Testing?

Tests and quizzes are available everywhere you turn. Some are informal and online and can help your student narrow down what they would be good at when they finish High School, and some are rigorous and will help them get scholarships and into college. Here is an overview of the myriad of tests and quizzes that are available to your student to help them achieve their college and career goals.

Business as Usual

High school and college prep go hand in hand. There are many tests available that your student can take in order to help them get into college. The tests are given at specific times during the year, and must be signed up for in advance. There are different tests to choose from. No matter which one(s) your family chooses, it is important to prepare your student for them, in order to help them achieve the best results possible and to eliminate the stress involved. Testing can be very stressful and adequately preparing your student for them is a key to success. Scoring well on these tests is the secret to scholarships and entering your programs of choice in many colleges. Check out our blog articles End of Year Homeschool Evaluation and Testing Options, and if you live in Colorado, check out blog Colorado Homeschool Testing Requirements and Alternatives.

Test Prep

There are many resources available to help your student prepare for the tests they will take. These range from online practice tests, to books, to people who provide services to teach your student strategies to use for the tests. Pricing can range from free for some of the online tests to being quite expensive. Don’t be intimidated if you have a small budget, you can get test prep books from the library, or even pick up these books used. There are free practice tests available on the most of the official websites as well as and Khan Academy.

Which Tests Should My Student Do?

There are many tests available, each with their own test dates and necessary prep. See below for a list of tests, when they should be taken, and links to more information.

Career Tests

These are friendly tests to help your student get an idea of career paths that they are likely to be interested in based on their likes and dislikes. These are not formal tests, but will serve your student well to help them start to think about what they are naturally drawn to and which fields they will find the most rewarding. Below are a few options however the internet is full of great and free career test options.

College Readiness Tests

The PSAT 8/9 is the first test in the SAT College Board suite of tests. It is administered in 8th and 9th grades in order to set a baseline and explore if your student is a fit for AP classes and if so, which ones.

The PSAT 10 measures readiness for college and and is practice for the PSAT and SAT. It is usually administered in sophomore year and the content is very similar to the SAT.

PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)/National Merit Scholarship Qualification Test)

This test is taken usually in October of the junior year in order to qualify for the NMSQT. It can be also be taken in October of the sophomore year as a test prep. It is good practice for the SAT, helps your student see if they are a good fit for an AP class, and if they score high enough in junior year, they will enter the National Merit Scholarship Program. Explore the College Board website for all the details on the PSAT/NMSQT.

The SAT is one of the two major college entrance exams for U.S. high school students (the other is the ACT - see below). It is administered at various times throughout the year and students can take it multiple times.  A strong SAT score brings weight and credibility to your student's High School Transcript. The score range goes from 400-1600. Students receive a score that is the sum of two sections in math and evidence based reading and writing. Minimum score requirement for a merit scholarship is about 1200 but varies widely among colleges. Some colleges will super score - meaning they will take the student's highest score from various sittings instead of only taking scores from one sitting at a time. Explore the College Board website for more information on the SAT.

The ACT is the second major college entrance exam in the U.S. and is arguably the most popular standardized test used for college admissions. While most colleges have removed minimum ACT scores as requirements for admissions, many still use scores for awarding scholarships. A strong ACT score brings weight and credibility to your student's High School Transcript. The score range goes from 1- 36. Students are tested in English, mathematics, reading, science and receive individual subject scores and a Composite score. Minimum score requirement for a merit scholarship is about 25, for a full ride scholarship, count on a minimum score of at least 27 but this varies widely among colleges and some are closer to the high score of 36. This test can be taken multiple times and some colleges super score on the ACT as well as the SAT. Most students start taking the ACT in their junior year.

The Classic Learning Test is the new test on the scene and was created in 2015 as an alternative to the ACT and SAT. It is geared towards students who have been classically educated. The CLT offers assessments that strengthen a traditional education, provide a meaningful metric of student's abilities, and help them pursue a fulfilling future. The CLT 10 is for grades 9 and 10 and the CLT is for grades 11 and 12. Over 200 colleges are now accepting the CLT but not all so check with the college that your student wants to attend to see if they accept the CLT or if your student will need a more traditional ACT/SAT score.

Community College Readiness Tests

Many community colleges will accept a SAT or ACT score for admission but also offer their own placement tests in lieu of SAT or ACT. Below are a few common options.

The Accuplacer test is used by colleges to asses college readiness and appropriate placement for courses. High School students participating in dual enrollment courses will have to take this test unless they have SAT/ACT scores that the college will accept. The Accuplacer is offered by the College Board. The test covers reading, writing, and math skills.

In Texas, community college students take the TSI, Texas Success Initiative, to help the school determine if the student is ready for entry-level college coursework.

In CA, community colleges no longer give placement exams but use high school grades and other factors to determine placement.


This test is taken prior to enlistment into the military, to determine enlistment eligibility and subsequent job qualification for placement and any enlistment bonuses. This can also be a good vocational test to see what careers will suit your student. Online free practice tests are available.

As you can tell, the tests that your student should take depends heavily on their plans post-high school graduation. As your student enters the high school years, it is beneficial to sit down with them and start to get an idea of their goals, hopes and dreams and to sketch out a plan for high school, including applicable testing. Their plans may change and your high school plan can be tweaked as you go, but starting with a plan is much better than not having a plan and realizing in senior year that your student wants to attend an Ivy League school and due to lack of planning, that is not an option. Don't get caught up in over-testing and teaching to a test, but use the tests as one of many tools to guide you and your student. Remember that we are here for you and Statheros Academy offers a variety of services such as Transcript Review Service, Curriculum Planning, Homeschool Coaches, High School Specialist and much more to help you along the way. Join our private Facebook group, listen to our podcast and follow us on Pinterest. We exist to serve you!

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