The Scholastic Aptitude Test, or simply the SAT, is a reasoning test for getting admissions to universities in the U.S. and across the globe for undergraduate courses. The total score is 1600, 800 for each of the two sections.
The following is a walk-through of the process of preparing for this fun-to-study-for test-
1. The SAT is structured as follows-
Reading Section- 52 questions; total time 65 minutes
Writing and Language Section- 44 questions; 35 minutes
Math Section (no calculator)- 20 questions; 25 minutes
Math Section (calculator)- 38 questions; 55 minutes
Essay (optional)- 1 question; 50 minutes
The Reading and the Writing and Language sections comprise of a total of 200-800 marks. Similarly, the Math Section (calculator and no calculator) comprises of a total of 200-800 marks. The sum is a total score of 400-1600 and sitting for 3 hours (50 extra minutes for the essay), with short breaks in between.
2. You should start preparing for SAT at least 3 months before the test date. For this, you can either take help of education consultants near you or prepare by yourself with the help of online resources and books. The books for SAT seem monstrous enough to scare you at the first glance but, to be honest, they are nothing less than fun to solve. Once you get in the habit of it and practice sample tests, you’ll find that the SAT basically tests your familiarity with the types of questions it throws at you.
3. The best time to give your SAT is in the 11th grade or junior year of high school, well before application deadlines, to give you time and elbow room for improving your score and reattempting the test, since the final year is strenuous (learn the word!) for most of us. This also gives you time for college applications.
4. You should begin by registering on the College Board website to register for the SAT and you can take SAT Practice Tests.
5. Keep solving books, such as those offered by Barron’s, College Board, and The Princeton Review. As for the vocabulary part, it is recommended that you jot down any new words you come across, or learn, daily on sticky notes or flashcards and paste them in your study room or anyplace you find convenient to look at frequently.
6. The SAT is MCQ based. Learn the art of plugging in the choices in the question at hand- this saves your time on calculation. When you get stuck on a question or if you think it’s taking a lot of time, move on!(to the next question, not section, student cannot go back to a section once that section has ended .) The simple rule to save your dear time on SAT is to attempt the easiest questions, which you think will take up less time, first.
7. Set a target SAT score in accordance to the colleges you want to apply to. You can make use of the College Finder by Yocket to get knowledge about the colleges that will accept the score range yours fall into. You can also check the average percentile on various other websites. Say, if you want to get into Ivy League schools, you will have to score above 1400.
8. Take a full-length test every 1-2 weeks under a time constraint of 3 hours. You should also consider practicing for the essay (only if it is required by the University, Essay is optional) as much as possible. Reading newspapers and passages is a good way to improve your vocabulary. Your essay should not explain whether you agree with [the author’s] claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience. lock the essay practice as well, to 50 minutes.
9. You will have to spend more time in preparation to increase your score, say about 20 hours for 50-100 point improvement, 80 hours for 200-300 point improvement, and 150+ hours for 300-500 point improvement. These hours should be meshed evenly over a number of weeks, depending upon the amount of time you have.
10. Lastly, sit back and relax on the day before the test. Surely, it is an advice hard to follow, but resist the temptation to study some more as it will only make you more anxious and less confident; you don’t want to pull on your hair when you are unable to answer a question in the middle of the test (trust me, it happens).
11. One last tip: if you skipped a lot of questions and don’t have time to solve them, choose any of the answer choices that you believe might be correct. The SAT does not have any negative marking for incorrect answers, so guess work (or eeny, meeny, miney, moe, for that matter) might seem like a smart option.
Make sure to have enough time left to prepare for TOEFL/IELTS as well. The SAT is all about strategy and smart work. Prepare well for it.
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