HOBET is the tool used by numerous colleges to screen potential students for various occupational courses run by them. This diagnostic test gives details of how a student is academically capable in math and reading comprehension. It also evaluates how well he can undertake the curriculum activities like reading and learning. Besides, it also gives an estimate of how capable a candidate is to apply test taking strategies, how well he can handle stress and how socially well adjusted he is.
It is essential to judge these traits in a candidate for estimating how he shall perform in his academic course and also his professional life. Accordingly, remedial action can be taken in time to prevent loss of time and energy.
The scores of the computer based test are declared as soon as the exam is over. The paper based exam takes longer to be scored as the response sheets are sent to Educational Resources Incorporated. An un-attempted question is considered as incorrect.
The following are the different types of scores that are given for this test. All the sections are not administered by all colleges. Colleges administer only those sections that they require for assessing students.
- Essential Math Skills: The scores of this section depend on the questions based on whole numbers, percentage operations, algebraic equations, fraction operations, decimal operations, and number system conversions. The score considerations differ from one course to another and top ranked colleges set high cutoffs. A score of 60 or above is considered average while a score below 40 shows incompetence.
- Science Reading Comprehension: The section evaluates your abilities based on reading of science related passages. The scores are based on reading rate, critical thinking, inferential reading, main idea of passage and predicting outcomes. Reading rate defines the number of words that the subject can read per minute. It lies between 200 and 450 words per minute for an average 10th grade student. If your reading rate is high and you fail to show comprehension skills then it is understood that you read the content too fast but could not interpret it well enough. Reading Rate Placement is the percentile rank you obtain for your reading rate with respect to the norm groups under consideration. It signifies the percentage of students who have a lower reading rate than yours. Independent Level (percentile 69-100), Instructional Level (percentile 39-68) and Frustration Level (percentile 0-37) are three levels of performance based on the reading rate and reading rate placement of candidates. Independent and Instructional Levels are accepted in colleges and Frustration Level shall decrease your chances of admission.
- Critical Thinking Appraisal: Your abilities to foresee outcomes, comprehend the main idea of the passage and make interpretations are tested in this section. Your performance is indicative of how you can interpret information and think critically while you are reading a given text.
- Written Expression: Your skills of punctuation, spellings, grammar and pluralization are tested in this section.
- Basic Science: You are judged for your knowledge of concepts basic to science subjects and for your knowledge of terms forming science vocabulary.
- Test Taking Skills: The strategies one uses to solve problems in different types of exams are put to test in this section. Three levels of proficiency are determined for this test: Independent Level, Instructional Level and Frustration Level. Frustration Level shows inadequacy of skills required for test taking, Instructional Level shows a satisfactory performance in the section whereas Independent Level is indicative of a superior level of performance.
- Stress Levels: The levels of stress caused in your life because of family, academics, social life, workplace, money and time are measured in this section. It is a self report and the results are used to judge which area of your life can cause stress to the extent that it hampers progress. The results can be used to reduce stress by applying some remedial strategies. An advisor can assist you in recognizing which level of stress is helpful for progress and which level is detrimental. He can then advocate plans to reduce tension and you can overcome any potential problems before they arise.
- Learning Style: There are different types of learning styles adopted by people. The main categories of learners are auditory learner, solitary learner, visual learner, social learner, oral dependent learner and writing dependent learner. HOBET assesses the learning style that you prefer and the one that is best suited for you. Most students adopt each learning style to some extent or the other. The assessment helps you understand your learning preferences and this knowledge can make you apply your learning preferences appropriately. These results are also used for supplementing teaching activities by making them suited to students’ learning styles.
- Composite Scores: The average of your Essential Math Score and your Reading Comprehension Scores is called your Composite Score. Besides, you are given a corresponding Composite Percentile. The Composite Percentile is a comparison between your scores and the average norm score. It is indicative of where you stand in competition with others and hence gives a fair idea of your capabilities.
Utility of Scores
The scores of this test are used for admission purposes. They are used for advising students on the academic courses that are best suited to their capabilities and instrumental in determining what weaknesses a student has and he can accordingly be helped to overcome them. Students are generally enrolled into remedial courses for getting over their weakness that could mar academic success.
The results are used for admission into courses like Medical Sonography, Respiratory Therapy, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiography, Polysomnography, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Therapeutic Massage etc.
A score of 59% in Essential Math Skills and a score of 54% in the Reading Comprehension is accepted in most colleges as average. The Composite Score is a major admission criteria and stands as the most valuable score of HOBET testing.
Most colleges allow you to retake the test. Each college has its own criteria for retesting. Let us examine the retesting options in a few colleges for better understanding.
College of Lake County allows retesting once in a screening year. A screening year is divided into two segments and you can take a test once in each segment. The two segments are from 1st Jan to 30th June and 1st July to 31st Dec.
You may retake the HOBET once in a year and 30 days after your first attempt. Any other retest can be taken after a gap of 365 days of your retesting if you apply to Lake Washington Technical College.
For Pitt Community College admission you need to take the test at least two weeks prior to the admission deadline for your intended course. Else, you shall not be allowed to take a retest. You can retest once in 12 months after a gap of two weeks between the first and second attempts. Moreover, you shall have to retest for all the sections administered at Pitt Community College. The higher of the two scores obtained in the two attempts for Essential Math and Reading Comprehension sections shall be considered.
There are some colleges like Lewis Clark State College that do not allow a retest in an application cycle.
In Wake Tech Community College, you are allowed to retest after a period of 45 days from your initial attempt. The second retest can be taken a year after the initial test. The fourth attempt can be made after 45 days of the third attempt and so on. Unlike Pitt Community College, you can retake only selected sections of the HOBET. The highest score is considered for admission.
Note: Since each college has its own retesting criteria, you shall have to make detailed enquiries about the retest policies prevalent in the colleges you are interested in. Nonetheless, retesting does amount to wastage of time, diminishing enthusiasm and undue distraction at the time of admission. You can avoid requirement of a retest if you have a clear understanding of the score requirements of the colleges you apply to and work diligently to achieve them.
Transfer of Scores
You can transfer your scores from one college to another if it is acceptable to both the colleges involved. Some colleges do not allow you to use your scores administered in some other college while others ask for a written permission to do so. For instance, Pitt Community College does not allow you to transfer your HOBET scores from another college. Lewis Clark State College (LCSC) allows you to use HOBET scores from other colleges provided they are sent directly to LCSC by that college. Wake Tech Community College accepts scores of HOBET administered in any other college, provided the test was taken in the previous five years.
Note: You shall have to inquire from both the colleges involved in the transfer of scores about their policies. For instance, Wake Tech Community College does not administer the Written Expression section and it allows you to use calculators for the math section. These variations might not be acceptable to other colleges that might be using a different version of HOBET. Validity of Scores
The results are considered valid for five years but some colleges might require you to test within a fixed time period for admission. For instance, College of Lake County does not use the scores taken outside its predefined screening period.
As is amply clear from the above details, there is a need for you to approach each college and gain information about the scores they require for admission, the average scores required for a course, the policies of retesting, the possibilities of transfer of scores, validity of scores etc. Burying yourself in books before making inquiries about such details shall be a grave mistake. Understand what you require before you start your preparation. This shall help you be more focused in your preparation and you shall be more objective in your approach. Thus, information is the key to success in HOBET.