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What you need to know about the PERT
The Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) is a common placement test, given to Florida’s public high school students (usually in the 11th grade) and enrolled college students in the Florida College system, to determine a student’s readiness for study at the undergraduate college level. The PERT has three sections: Reading, Writing, and Math. Each section contains 30 questions, only 25 of which are scored. The remaining five questions are used for research and development purposes. You will not know which questions are scored when you take the test.
The PERT is computer adaptive, meaning that each question given to the test-taker is based on his/her response to the previous question. Once you have answered a question, you may not go back and look at previous questions or change any answers. The PERT is not timed.
Note: There is also a PERT diagnostic test, which is given to students already enrolled in developmental or remedial college courses to determine areas of strength and weakness.
Answers to all your questions about the PERT
Table of Contents
What are the costs?
State of Florida funds will cover the cost of the test for high school students. College students may be tested free of charge or charged a fee of $10 for PERT testing. Some colleges charge only for retesting.
What should I bring?
Your college or testing institution can advise you about what to bring, and not bring, to the PERT testing session. You may not bring a calculator into PERT testing centers, but an online, “pop-up” calculator will be provided for some of the Math questions.
What kind of job can I get?
Today, an increasing number of jobs require postsecondary (beyond high school) education to secure even an entry-level position. College preparation will enhance your chances for advancement in future occupational endeavors. Attending college in the State of Florida usually requires a PERT score as part of the admissions or enrollment process.
Am I eligible?
The PERT is normally given to all Florida public high school students in the 11th grade who scored within a certain range (Reading Levels 2 and 3 and Math Levels 2, 3, and 4) on the The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), which is given to all Florida public school students in the 10th grade. Students who are dually enrolled in a Florida public high school and college may also need to take the PERT. Other students who are planning to attend a Florida College System institution may take the PERT at a chosen college. A student may opt out of taking the PERT by obtaining a required score on the SAT, ACT, ACCUPLACER, or FCAT. Active duty military members are exempt from this test.
PERT scores are good for two years following the test date. You may retest once on each subject, but even some colleges may require some sort of remediation before you are allowed to retest. Some colleges also have procedures in place for applying to take the test a third time.
Why does it matter?
The PERT is designed to test skills and abilities that have been shown to predict future success in college-level studies. If a high school student does not attain a certain PERT score, the school must offer extra college preparatory classes to that student. This student must complete this remediation course to qualify for graduation.
As a result of PERT placement test scores, some college students may need to enroll in a developmental education course to boost their skills, enabling a college-level performance. The requirement of these courses can cost more in college tuition and associated fees, as well as delay the beginning of the actual college course of study. Usually, no college credit is given for the developmental classes.
What salary can I expect?
While going to college is no guarantee of a high-paying job in your future, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has established that the median yearly income for those with a Bachelor’s degree is 63% higher than those with only a high school diploma. So, attending college is a proactive way to protect your financial future.
When is it available?
In high school, the PERT is administered in approved testing facilities by authorized test administrators. The 11th grade administration must be complete in time to schedule any needed remediation for the student’s 12th grade school year. Your counselor can give you more details about taking the PERT.
If the PERT is taken at a college, officials there can tell you when the test is being given.
What are some Tips & Tricks
The best preparation for the PERT includes taking practice tests and working on areas of weakness. Be sure to use practice materials that have a variety of question types and that cover all kinds of questions you might find on the actual PERT. Each test-taker’s experience with the PERT is different because the questions are altered to fit your ability while you are taking the test.
The adaptive nature of the PERT also makes it important for you to be very careful when answering each question. The test begins with questions on a moderate level of difficulty. If you get one wrong, the next question is easier. The reverse is also true: Each time you get a question right, the test will follow with a slightly harder question. It is important to correctly answer all of the questions that you can so that your score will show the highest level at which you can perform.
How much time is allowed?
The PERT is not timed. The average time it takes to complete all three sections is about 3 hours. Your scores should be available as soon as the testing is complete.
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