The SAT (scholastic assessment test) is taken by over 2 million students each year. It is widely used in the United States to measure high school graduates' readiness for college.
Students around the world also have an opportunity to take an SAT test and fulfill the dream of going to MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, or another prestigious university of their choice. In addition, since the system at SMU mirrors the university system of the United States, it also accepts SAT results for admission.
There are two types of SAT tests. The first one is a general admission test, and another one is the SAT subject test. Taking the SAT subject test is not compulsory; however, it may help you get admitted to the university. In general, it is recommended to take the SAT at least a year in advance of applying to university in the United States.
In the USA, the students can take the SAT test seven times a year; and students can take it six times a year around the world.
Now let’s discuss each component separately and see what you need to do to score high marks.
SAT reading test.
The questions the students will encounter in this part of the test are similar to those questions one would encounter in the evidence-based discussion. In general, you do not need to use flashcards or memorize a vast amount of information to succeed in your reading test. You will have to rely on the skills you acquired during your high school years.
All questions given in this part of the test are multiple-choice and based on the corresponding passage. Some passages may be accompanied by graphs, tables, and charts. During this test, you will need to read the passage carefully and answer the questions based only on what you have read; your prior knowledge is not tested here.
Some questions are relatively easy; they just ask you to locate a specific piece of information in the text. In other cases, you will need to understand what the author was implying, so you need to be able to "read between the lines," as they say.
SAT writing and language test.
In this portion of your SAT test, you will be given certain passages that contain deliberate errors. You will need to act as an editor and find and correct these errors￼. Broadly speaking, there are only three things you need to do to succeed in this portion of the test.
You need to read the passage carefully, you need to find the mistakes that have been made, and you need to fix them. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? The good news is that if you have been a diligent student throughout your high school years, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. You have probably proofread and edited hundreds of your own essays.
If you have, this portion of the test will not be that hard for you. In some cases, you will need to examine a single sentence very closely, whereas, in the others, you may need to read the entire passage and interpret a given graph.
As for the topic of the passage, it may have to do with history, humanities, science, various careers, social studies, and so on. Possibilities are limitless. Some questions may ask you to improve the way the passage developed ideas and information.
For example, you may need to add detail to the argument, to make it stronger and more relevant￼. To deal with other questions, you will need to have a very strong vocabulary, and you must know which words are stylistically appropriate in which context. A question may ask you to pick the best word possible for the given context￼ to make the passage more precise, to improve the style, the tone, or the syntax of the sentence.
You also need to be able to comment on the structure of the passage and organization of the paragraphs. The question may ask you if the paragraphs work well together, and if they don’t, what improvements need to be made to make them work.
SAT math test.
The majority of math questions are multiple-choice; however, there are questions that require you to come up with an answer on your own. Also, some parts of the test may present you with one single scenario and ask you several questions about it. The SAT math test focuses on three areas of math that form the basis for the majority of college courses.
Heart of algebra, in which you have to deal with linear systems and equations.
Data analysis and problem-solving, which demands quantitative literacy from the student.
Passport to advanced math, where you need to manipulate complex equations.
You’ll also have to deal with a few questions pertaining to geometry and trigonometry￼. The problems will ask you to analyze a specific situation and identify the necessary elements which are needed to solve the problem.
Also, the math test is divided into two portions. The portion where you are permitted to use a calculator (which, needless to say, you should definitely know how to do if you want to pass this test well) and the portion without a calculator.
However, even if you are permitted to use a calculator, there are some questions where it may be better not to, since you may be better off using your reasoning to finish the task faster.
In this portion of the test, you are again asked to analyze a passage. You should read it very carefully and explain what means and stylistic devices the author uses to build his or her arguments and persuade the audience.
It is necessary to use the evidence from the passage itself to support your explanation. You do not need to write about your personal experience, and you will not be asked to agree or disagree with a specific opinion. All you need to do is analyze what the author has done; for example,
What facts and evidence are presented in the passage that supports the author's claims?
How does the author develop ideas, and how does he or she connect evidence to the claims?
What stylistic elements does the author use? For example, does the author use specific words to appeal to the readers' emotions?
You should start preparing for your SAT exam for many months in advance.
The more you practice, the better your final results will be; however, if the preparation process seems intimidating and overwhelming to you, feel free to hire a professional SAT tutor who can guide you through this stressful period