Aptitude Test

A test of particular skills

A standardized test is a test that's been developed for the purpose of evaluating many individuals in a consistent fashion. Simply put, no matter who you are and where you write a standardized test, your score can be compared against all others who wrote the same test. These scores are used by colleges and universities to generate an overall picture of your academic standing in relation to all other test writers.

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Like the name suggests, standardized tests are scored using a set of standard criteria. There are two main strategies for scoring: norm referencing and criterion referencing. Your score will either be compared to the scores of others (in a norm referencing system) or to a set of predetermined standards (in the case of criterion referencing).

Test Composition

Standardized tests are often composed of multiple choice and true or false questions. The results can easily be graded by a computer, which is cost-effective and efficient for tests written by millions of students, such as the SAT. Some standardized tests contain written sections such as short answer questions or essays. These are graded using rubrics, which are sets of unvarying criteria that must be possessed by correct answers. Thus, the same essay will (theoretically) receive the same score, regardless of who grades it.


Standardized tests have been critcized for awarding the ability to think quickly and answer superficial questions, rather than requiring insightful thought and a true understanding of concepts. They have also come under fire for being biased towards a Caucasian, middle-class way of thinking. Though tests are constantly adapted to ensure the highest level of objectivity possible, there will likely always be questions about whether standardized tests are a true and fair measure of students' intelligence.


Standardized tests can be very intimidating because they often carry a lot of weight in regard to future learning and career opportunities. The best way to avoid (or at least manage) the pressure is to start preparing well in advance of examination day. You need to choose a study place and consistently exhibit good study habits, so that you can be preparedbe prepared for test day when it arrives.

Learn More About Your Test

Find more information and study guides for the following standardized tests:

Choosing a SchoolCollege ProgramsBible CollegeMilitary SchoolOnline College ProgramsStudent LifeResidenceStudent OrganizationsCollege FundingTest PreparationStudy GuideStudyTest PrepAptitude TestGEDASVAB TestASVAB Practice TestSATPSATACT TestExamLSATPrep LSATGMATPrep GMATGREGRE Test PrepMCATMCAT PreparationUSMLEUSMLE Step 1USMLE Step 2USMLE Step 3Prep USMLE Career Training
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