Do you dream of pursuing a college education abroad, particularly in the United States? Look no further, here’s all you need to know about the test you need to take – the SAT, along with some useful tips from Pedagoge Baba on how to get the score you desire.
What is the SAT?
The Scholastic Aptitude Test, also known as The SAT Reasoning Test, is a standardized test that is accepted by colleges for undergraduate courses in the United States. It is owned and published by the College Board, a private, for-profit corporation, and is developed and administered on its behalf by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Why would you take it?
If you are planning to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in the United States, there is a high chance that you will be required to take the SAT. In addition, there are also various SAT Subject Tests that evaluate a student’s knowledge on a specific subject(s).
The cost of taking the SAT varies depending on your country. For a student residing in India, the SAT costs $95 without the essay and $109 with the essay. The SAT Subject Test costs $75 to register with an additional $21 per subject test. Multiple subject tests can be taken on one day.
Although SAT scores are valid for a period of 5 years, most colleges do not accept scores that are more than 2-3 years old. It is preferable to take the SAT in your penultimate or ultimate year in school, that is, 1-2 years before applying to college.
ETS requires you to submit an original, valid identity which includes your name, photograph, and signature. The primary acceptable ID is your valid passport. Additionally, you need to fulfill the requirements of the individual institutions you are applying for.
The SAT is a paper-based test only. It is available in most countries and there are a plethora of test centers in all major cities in India. Use this website to find your nearest test center.
In the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, the SAT will be available internationally in October, December, March, and May. SAT Subject Tests will be available in October, November, December, May, and June.
It costs $11.25 per score report to send scores to institutions of your choice (4 are free of cost which is obtained while registering for the SAT).
The SAT consists of two compulsory sections:
- Evidence-based Reading and Writing
The Evidence Based Reading and Writing sections comprise a Reading test, and a Writing and Language test. It tests your ability to understand a passage and answer questions on the basis of what is stated and implied in the passage. They lay emphasis on scientific reasoning and the meaning of words in extended contexts.
The Math sections cover a range of math practices with an emphasis on algebra, problem-solving, modeling, data interpretation and graphs. There is one section which does not allow the use of a calculator.
- Essay, (optional)
The Essay provides a passage written by an author. The student’s job is to analyze the manner in which the author builds the argument.
The entire test is scored out of 1600 which is equally divided into sub-scores of 800 each for Reading & Writing and Math. The essay has a combined score of two raters, each scoring on a scale of 1-4.
3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the optional essay)
The number of questions and time-allotted section-wise is as follows:
Reading: 52 questions, time allotted: 65 minutes
Writing & Language: 44 questions, time allotted: 35 minutes
Math: 58 questions, time allotted: 80 minutes
Essay (optional): 1, time allotted: 50 minutes
Unlike the old SAT, the redesigned new SAT does not have any negative marking for wrong answers.
Pedagoge Baba’s advice:
- It’s important to study hard, but it is more important to study smart. Find out which parts of the SAT are more challenging for you and focus on improving those parts.
- There are many books and study material to refer –McGraw Hill, Barron’s, Collegeboard, Kaplan, and so on.
- Time your practice sessions and create an environment that best mirrors the environment of the actual test.
- Shortlist colleges that you wish to apply to and find out which colleges require you to take the subject tests as well.
- Start practicing a couple of months in advance of the test date. Space out your practice sessions and remember, there’s no shortcut to success.
- Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. You can take multiple attempts (2-3) and most colleges count your best scores across all the attempts. Don’t be disappointed if you didn’t get your desired score.
- Here’s a list of resources to help you practice smarter and harder- Magoosh , Khan Academy, Sat vocabulary