SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a Standardized College Admissions Test, which is administered by the College Board. The SAT Test was originally taken from the Army IQ test and was used as an admission test for college in the mid-1920s. It later became a standard test for college applicants in the 1940s.
Most graduating high school students want to pursue their education in colleges and Universities. But before they can do that, they need to pass a standardized test which will measure how ready they are for college. Most colleges and universities in the US require students to achieve a certain range of scores from a standardized test before they allow these students to enroll.
Here you will learn what you need to know about SAT and how to get a good SAT score.
Purpose of SAT
The SAT is created to help both students and colleges. For colleges, the SAT helps them filter which students have enough knowledge and intelligence to compete at the level of standard in their curriculum.
Colleges and universities do not want many students to fail because that would damage the reputation of their institution. The SAT also helps the students by making sure that they could only get into a college that’s right for their interests and abilities.
SAT Test Subjects
As a standardized test for college admission, SAT tests a students skill and knowledge that they studied in high school. The SAT test is divided into three major sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. An optional essay test is also offered if your target college or university requires it. Here is an overview of the sections:
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
This section is divided into two subsections. One is focused on reading skills and the other is focused on language and writing,
Here is what to expect on your Writing and Language test:
- It has 44 multiple choice questions
- It is focused on vocabulary in context, grammar and editing skills
- It is limited to 35 minutes
Here is what to expect from the Reading test:
- It has 52 multiple choice questions
- You have to read passages or pairs of passages dealing with literature, historical documents, natural sciences and social sciences
- You are given 65 minutes to answer all the questions
The math test is also divided into two sections: The first section allows the use of a calculator and while the second one doesn’t allow it.
Here’s what to expect on the Math test with calculators allowed:
- You have to answer 38 questions
- Topics are Algebra I, Algebra II, Trigonometry
- You are given 55 minutes to answer all the questions
Here’s what to expect from the no-calculator section:
- You have to answer 20 questions
- Topics are Algebra I, Algebra II, Trigonometry
- You have 25 minutes to answer all the questions
The optional essay test is not divided into sections, rather it is a continuous 50-minute long test.
Here is what to expect on the essay test:
- You have to write 1 essay
- You are going to read a passage and use your writing knowledge to explain the way the author constructed persuasive arguments.
- You have 50 minutes to finish the test.
Prep Strategies for SAT
When it comes to SAT and ACT tests, passing is not enough because technically, no one fails the ACT. However, schools have different required scores for admission. Ivy league schools, for example, would only accept you if you have a near–perfect score. That is why preparing for the SAT is really important if you have a university or college you want to get into.
Preparing for SAT will require a lot of time and effort. You may have to change your daily schedule just for the preparation. The rewards for getting a high SAT score, however, is priceless. So here are some SAT prep tips to help you get started:
- Assess your current skill level.
The right starting point for your SAT review should be determined by your current skill and knowledge level. Taking practice tests will allow you to evaluate your skills and know your weak areas. Focus on these weak areas.
- Make a daily schedule at least one month in advance.
For a test as important as the SAT, test-takers should prepare a month or more in advance. Six months is the ideal test time preparation, as that takes off the pressure and gives you more freedom to organize your study plan.
For a few months, spare a few hours each day to study. In many instances, if study sessions are not specifically scheduled, they tend to be forgotten so what you need to do is put a reminder on your smartphone, computer, or a daily planner that you are going to study at a particular hour.
- Tell your friends how serious you are in preparing for SAT.
Sometimes friends would want to hang out with you and may pressure you to do so. This could wreck your scheduled study time. It is important to explain to your friends and relatives that you are serious about your SAT preparation. Know your priorities and commit to them.
- Study at the same hour of the day, every day.
Stick to a certain time of the day to study. Research shows that if you study at the same hour every day, your brain will become more prepared and receptive to the information you learn. The best time of the day to study is early in the morning when your mind is fresh from sleep.
- Eat healthy food and avoid alcohol.
In many cases, people who have bad health when they take the SAT often get poor scores. That is because bodily discomforts often keep you from focusing on the exam. Eat nutritious food from the time you start your SAT prep until the day of the exam. You should specifically avoid alcohol as much as you can because alcohol can slow down your brain’s absorption of information. Find whole foods that are known to boost brain power as well as the immune system.
- Use practice tests.
Practice tests are one of the most effective study materials you can use for your SAT preparation. Not only does it give you a review of the lessons you learned in high school, but it also familiarizes you with the structure, types of questions, and instructions in the SAT exam. It also gives you a hint on what topics may be included in the test itself. If you want to get the best score possible in your SAT, take practice tests and time yourself. Keep in mind that SAT is a timed test, try to answer practice tests within the given time limit per section.
- Rest before the test.
There is no need to review the day before your SAT test. Cramming will not help and will just worsen anxious feelings. The best thing to do before your test day is to prepare all the things you need to bring and rest well.
Start answering practice tests here.