Sometimes, placement or achievement tests are needed so that one can change high schools. Free online test preparation for placement tests may be essential to getting over these test hurdles. All-around academically strong students who are prepared to put in years of academic work have a fairly straight path; such students may also tend to be more financially advantaged.
They take the PSAT, SAT, and some SAT subject tests and if all goes as planned, they attend a 4-year institution. Students who want to get a good job with minimal academic work probably are less likely to be able or willing to pay hundreds of dollars for test prep. That said, they still need test prep. Seeking only free study guides and practice tests might narrow the options, but actually, not as much as you might think.
High School-Level Achievement and Placement Tests
High school achievement tests vary with state and region. Unfortunately, high school students sometimes have to contend with these tests in addition to such universal college entrance tests such as the ACT and SAT. The stress, and possibly also the expense, of preparing for these tests is a serious obstacle for students who want to perform well but have limited income.
If test anxiety or naturally poor test-taking skills are added to the mix, these tests may even keep a responsible, capable student from succeeding. The same goes for those with English as a second language – this is a potentially unfair obstacle. Another somewhat unfair element is the fact that such tests are usually divided into math, reading, and grammar sections.
Students are expected to fulfill requirements in all of these areas, but some people who are very capable in one basic academic area are nearly unteachable in another area. Therefore, again, a very capable person can face an almost unsurmountable academic obstacle. Fortunately, there is a fair amount of free online advice and free online test preparation for these exams.
The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) comes in elementary, middle, and upper-level versions and assesses a student’s eligibility for admission to an independent institution. High school students are more likely than younger students to feel pressure as they try to excel in all three sections: math, reading, and verbal skills. Doing a simple online search for free SSAT practice tests will yield abbreviated tests to give you an idea of the actual exam. Unfortunately, study guides and full-length practice SSAT tests generally cost some money.
Generally, one may face one of three high school equivalency (HSE) tests: the General Educational Development (GED), the High School Equivalency Test (HiSet), and the Task Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). All of these have math, writing, reading, science, and social studies sections. Individuals who have dropped out of school and want to continue their education or have more job options are often working with limited funds. Fortunately, there are free study guides and free sample questions; long or full-length practice tests generally cost some money.
College Placement Tests
There are several tests used to place students in college courses: the ACCUPLACER, the ASSET, the CLAST, the CLEP, the Compass, the CSU, and the THEA are common examples. Which is applicable to you (if any) depends on where you are and what college/university you are attending.
Generally, these tests are administered after acceptance to a college/university. With a few exceptions, they generally have writing, reading, and math sections. The ASSET test only has math and basic skills (which includes both English and math elements), so the ASSET as a whole is math-heavy compared to others. The CLAST is a Florida exam to assess a college sophomore’s skills, primarily for teacher certification purposes.
The CLEP tests can reduce time in college by allowing a student to place out of lower-level courses – valuable for those who want to reduce time (and money) spent in college. The California State University (CSU) tests are, as the name suggests, specific to placement at California State University.
The Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) is similar in concept to the ACT or SAT, but is specifically for Texan institutions. It has the usual math, writing, and reading sections. In some cases, the tests above are given on a computer, but there are still some tests that are given in paper-and-pencil style.
The ACT Compass is a college placement exam created by the same organization that created the ACT – the American College Testing Corporation. The Compass is a group of math, writing (2 separate tests, 1 involves essay writing), reading, and English as a second language tests.
The tests are used by colleges, departments, or individual professors to assess what level of course an entering student should take. The Compass generally applies to students who are pursuing an associate’s degree or who are coming into undergraduate education with a below-college-level academic record. As with other tests, the online world offers free advice and free practice questions. To get longer practice tests, one has to buy them.
There are online study guides and interactive practice tests for the THEA, but they cost a small price. The THEA site does offer a full-length practice test, but it is not interactive – the answer key is separate and there is no timer. This is common among placement or achievement tests – you can get a lot of free advice and free test questions, but generally, long or full-length practice tests cost some money, as do long or full-length online tests with interactive components.
One way to get around the expense issue is to share resources and expense with others who are preparing for the same test. Another important point: Be honest with yourself about what you really need. Some people benefit more from the study of covered material and less time spent taking practice tests.
If this is you, use it to your advantage; do not feel that you have done something wrong if you do not buy a bunch of practice tests and take hours going through them all. Others really benefit from going over practice tests; if this is you, buying practices is likely to be cheaper and less stressful than having to retake the actual test.
ExamEdge.com is a website that gives free sample tests – usually with about 10 questions – for each of the tests mentioned above, except the HiSet. For people who just need to get an idea of a test before they take it, this is a great source of free online test preparation for a variety of tests.
The site also sells practice tests – usually with 50 to 200 questions- depending on the test, for all of the exams above, except the HiSet. Note that ExamEdge does not sell practice tests or offer free sample tests for such college entrance exams as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or SAT subject tests. ExamEdge also has a blog page that gives free advice concerning a variety of career, education, and certification issues.
ExamEdge Can Be a Low Cost or Free Option
Ultimately, ExamEdge is similar to other online test preparation sites – it gives many great resources for free, but you have to pay for longer practice tests. However, for those who really benefit from test “dress rehearsals,” the practice tests are generally worth it. Usually, practice tests cost less than retaking the exam itself.
ExamEdge allows you to purchase one practice test for a reasonable price or to purchase bundles for a discount per test. Each test you take on ExamEdge, including free sample tests, can be taken in three different modes: timed with answers and explanations at the end, untimed with answers and explanations at the end, or untimed with answers and explanations given as you go.
The practice tests are designed to imitate the proportions of different subjects covered on a test and the general feel of the actual test. Once you have taken a test, the site has features to project what your score would be on the real exam and to point out areas of weakness.
In this way, ExamEdge is best utilized when you purchase at least one practice test. However, if you do not want or need this, ExamEdge’s free sample tests along with other sites’ free sample tests can get you used to the sorts of questions you will need to answer.
Ask yourself whether you are getting through questions at a pace that would allow you to answer enough of the questions in the time allotted for the actual exam. Ask yourself what areas are weak spots. Remember that, ultimately, your understanding of the subject matter is what will allow you to triumph in the end – both in your exam and also in your intended career.