While colleges and universities adhere to philosophies of admitting candidates in a holistic way, reality is that standardized tests and achievement on those tests are a factor in the holistic measure of applicants. At VIA we DO NOT define our students by a number, but by who they are as scholars and people. However, we do our utmost to help prepare our students for success on standardized tests and exams. VIA utilizes a blend of implicit (daily learning and applied learning) and explicit (assessments that look and feel like standardized tests) in test preparation. We do not, however, emphasize test prep as a means of learning or in assessment.


The TOEFL test is the most widely utilized English-language test in the world to determine one's functional use of the English language and English language capacity. It is recognized by more than 10,000 colleges, universities and agencies in more than 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the United States.

IELTS is the English test for proficiency that is used by post-secondary systems in the UK, Canada, Australia, and other educational systems that use the British system of academics and education. There are two types of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The most common IELTS exam VIA students take is the Academic test that is needed to apply for higher education in 135 countries and more than 9,000 educational institutions, employers, governments and marketplace opportunities.

The SAT is a test organized by College Board. A common misconception among Chinese students and families is that the SAT or ACT equates to the Chinese National University Entrance Exam or Gaokao. The SAT is NOT a college entrance exam, but rather it is an assessment of current, ongoing academic ability and aptitude. The SAT score is a critical exam for senior high school students who apply to many American universities and colleges, but it is not required by most schools of higher learning. If it is required for application, the college or university will inform the student that SAT exam scores are required as a part of the application process. ETS and the College Board changed the SAT full score in March 2016. The maximum score was lowered from 2400 to 1600 and it consists of 3 sections -- reading, grammar and math. The Writing section is now optional.

ACT is the other assessment of learning and academic achievement by which many colleges and universities help determine an applicant's fit. The ACT consists of 4 sections: English, Math, Reading and Science Reasoning. A Writing section is elective. It tests students' comprehensive abilities and ACT score is very important for applying to American four-year universities and scholarship(s). American universities accept both the ACT score and SAT score. But ACT attaches more importance to students' understanding of curriculum and critical thinking and it is generally thought of easier than SAT.


Advanced Placement (AP©) is a program of college-level courses in the United States and Canada created by the College Board, which offers courses, content, and skills that one might experience in a college course. AP© exams follow the year-long courses to measure learning outcomes of knowledge and thinking skills. Depending upon one's score on an AP© exam (1 through 5), American colleges and universities may grant advanced placement or course credit to students depending on examination scores. More than 40 countries and about 3,600 universities accept AP© scores for advanced placement or credit and as part of the metric used for admissions consideration.