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SAT ACT & GRE Test: What Each Stands for, Meaning, Acronym

Study in the US: Guide for International Students in USA

SAT Meaning of SAT ACT Test Stands for Acronym GRE

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When you apply to a US college or university, you will probably be asked to provide your test scores for the SAT or for the ACT (or GRE for graduate programs), which are standardized college entrance exams. If you have an American school in your area, it may let you take the test with their students. Some colleges may even allow you to take the ACT shortly after you arrive to study. For information about how to take these tests in your country, contact the U.S. Educational Advising Center in your country, your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or the test organizations themselves at the links provided later on this page.

While these college entrance exams / tests are an important consideration in the admission process at US colleges and universities, you still can overcome a low test score by displaying strengths in other areas, such as your school grades, your college application essay, or your experiences (see Apply to a US College or University as an International Student).

SAT Meaning, SAT Acronym, SAT Stands for...

The meaning behind the name "SAT" is complicated. According to the Kaplan website: "Originally, SAT stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test. When the SAT test changed a few years ago, the official name was changed to Scholastic Assessment Test. In 1997, the test makers announced that SAT no longer stands for anything, officially."

The SAT is intended to forecast a student’s ability to perform in his or her freshman (first) year at college. The SAT test consists of two portions, one measuring students mathematical skills and the other their verbal skills. The College Board administers the SAT test in the United States. As the College Board’s website says, the SAT test "does not pretend to measure all factors related to freshman student success, but its scores have a statistically significant relationship to that success." There is some controversy in the United States as to the value of the SAT, but it continues to weigh heavily in the college student evaluation process.

For more information about the SAT, visit the SAT Program (part of the College Board website), which also has sample test questions, or write to:

College SAT Program
PO Box 6200
Princeton, NJ 08541-6200

ACT Acronym, ACT Test Meaning

ACT is an acronym meaning "American College Test". The ACT is a standardized test to determine a high school graduate’s preparation for college-level work. It covers four areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. The ACT is a test based on courses you have studied; it is not an IQ (intelligence) test. Most US colleges and universities accept ACT test results.

For more information about taking the ACT test, visit the ACT website. For a registration packet for students outside the U.S., email, call, or write, asking for the information package called: "Outside the 50 United States."


Telephone: 319-337-1448

ACT Universal Testing
P.O. Box 4028
Iowa City, IA 52243-4028

GRE Stands for, GRE Meaning, GRE Acronym

If you are applying for graduate school (advanced study after receiving the equivalent of a four-year college degree), you may need to take the GRE, an acronym meaning Graduate Record Exam. Many US schools place the same importance upon the GRE for acceptance into graduate school study that they place upon the SAT or ACT for undergraduate school studies.

The GRE General Test measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills acquired over time and that are not related to any specific field of study. GRE Subject Tests measure knowledge of particular subjects, such as Biology, English, Literature in English, or Mathematics. You may have to take both depending on the program for which you are applying. Scores from these GRE tests help predict an individual’s success in studies on the graduate level.

Visit the GRE website for all the information you should need, including sample questions.

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