How Do I Prepare for the ETS Major Field Test?

As a student, you can prepare for the ETS Major Field test in a variety of ways, depending on the subject area of your major and several other factors. Read on to learn more about resources and tactics to use when you’re preparing for this important exam.

What Is the ETS Major Field Test?

The ETS Major Field Test is administered by colleges and universities as a way to measure students’ performance within certain subject areas, in order to compare the institutional performance against other institutions and make curriculum and instructional changes if needed. This test, administered by the Educational Testing Service, is currently given in the following undergraduate areas: biology, chemistry, computer science, criminal justice, economics, English literature, mathematics, music, physics, political science, psychology and sociology. It’s also given in associate, bachelor’s and master’s level business programs.

How Do I Prepare for the ETS Major Field Test?

While preparation largely depends on the subject area in which you’re taking the test, there are several common factors among the various tests. Tests in each area are developed by a national panel of experts in the field, and are designed to test students’ abilities “to analyze and solve problems, understand relationships and interpret written and visual material,” according to the ETS. Their website is an excellent resource for those preparing to take a major field test as it offers sample questions in each subject area. Because this test is administered by your institution, they should also provide resources for testing; this is especially important since schools have the ability to customize the test based on their own curriculum. However, because the purpose of the test is to assess how much you’ve learned based on the school’s curriculum and teaching methods, extensive preparation is not necessary. These scores are not reported to graduate schools or employers, and are used solely for statistical purposes.

What Is the Format of the ETS Major Field Test?

The test is given either online or in a pencil-and-paper format, based on the preference of your institution. They can also decide whether to give the test in a proctored location on campus, or a proctored location off-campus. The tests are two hours in length, with the exception of the MBA test which is three hours, and questions are multiple choice. If your institution is giving a Major Field Test, they will notify you directly via email of the testing location. You do not need to pay for this test, as costs are covered by the administering college or university. Your score will be available on screen when you complete the test, and you’ll also be sent a printed copy for your records.

Because the purpose of the test is statistical and not as a means of reporting your progress for admissions or hiring, extensive preparation is not required. However, if you’d like to prepare for ETS Major Field Test, the best method is to review sample questions provided by ETS and by your institution.

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