The PERT, in a Nutshell
The Postsecondary Education Readiness Test, or PERT, is used throughout Florida to assess a student’s readiness for college-level study. You may take the PERT in your junior year of high school in Florida, as a Florida high school transfer student from another state, or as part of the registration process at a Florida college.
The purpose of the PERT is to help students who really need it, so that they will do well at the college level. In other words, if you really need more work in Math in order to tackle college-level math courses, that is what you’ll get. But you’ll be required to get that help, even if scores are low just because you didn’t refresh your memory on those Algebra skills from the class you took 2 years ago.
The Good News
As a test, the PERT has all of these things going for it:
The PERT is computer adaptive, meaning that the computer only gives you questions it thinks you can answer. If you get one wrong, it backs up a bit and gives you something easier.
The PERT has no time limit. You can sit, think, and reason, for as long as you need. This eliminates a lot of the pressure you feel when taking a timed test, freeing up more of your brain space to think!
You might be able to retake the PERT if you don’t score well the first time, but this varies among Florida’s high schools and colleges. You need to check with your school to find out the particular retake regulations there.
No Sweat, Right?
So far, it’s sounding like the PERT isn’t one of those high stakes, prepare-til-you-drop tests, right? Well, while the PERT procedure may take some of the pressure off, it is a test for which you’ll want to be well-prepared. Here are the reasons why:
Every time that computer backs up and gives you an easier question, it doesn’t dish out the same points as if you had answered correctly. Yes, you’ll get points for answering any question correctly, but you’ll also lose points when it has to give you an easier one. And, even if you instantly know the error you made in question #1 as soon as you see question #2, you cannot go back and fix it.
In spite of the fact that you’ll have plenty of time to think about an answer and work it out (which is great!), if the concepts are not fresh in your mind, you won’t be able to make good use of that thinking time.
Retake? Maybe, but even this is wasting your time if you just couldn’t remember some things because you didn’t study. Also, you may still be required to take remedial classes between test dates.
Finally―and this is the most important―you stand to waste a great deal of money and time (which can translate into even more money), unnecessarily, if your PERT scores are not in a certain range just because you didn’t prepare.
Wasted Time and $$$?
Whether you are taking the PERT during high school or college, this can definitely happen. Here is how that works.
If your scores aren’t within a certain range, you will automatically be signed up for remedial classes. If you really need these, great. But if you just scored poorly because of lack of preparation, you will find yourself sitting in a class that covers stuff you really do know. You just needed a little memory jog, such as the jogging you’ll get during prep for a test. [time wasted]
Let’s say you take the PERT in high school during your junior year. If you score in the desired range, your senior year schedule can include higher level courses that could help get you into, and prepare you for, the college of your choice. You might even be able to take some college courses during high school hours, and earn college credits―free! [time and money wasted]
If you take the PERT as part of college entrance, and score well, you will be able to dive right into the required courses for your major, or explore courses to help you decide on a major. If your scores indicate you need extra work in some areas, the college will require you to enroll in remedial classes first. This is fine, if you really need the help. If you don’t, these classes will not only delay graduation, but cost you additional fees. [time and money wasted]
Since nobody wants to derail life plans, if they don’t have to, it will pay to do your absolute best on the PERT. Let your college or high school see what you really know, and can do, by preparing well to do your absolute best. Then, you’ll only get the help that is really required.
Where to Start
Take advantage of the resources here, including practice tests and flashcards. Find out exactly what is going to be covered on the PERT test by going over the study guides. Give the PERT your best and get an accurate assessment of your skills. If you can even reduce the number of remedial classes needed, you’ll be saving time, money, and, perhaps, a bit of your sanity!