Tips on How to Prepare for the SAT Exam

Tips on How to Prepare for the SAT Exam

The SAT is required of students who are not American citizens. Virtually all U.S. institutions of higher education accept the SAT. 

The SAT is a standardized test that assesses students’ skills and knowledge. Your SAT score can help you get a scholarship from a university. Test scores are very important and play a significant role in the decision to enroll in programs of study, as they affect the receipt of scholarships and grants from the university. It is important to remember that the better you do on the test, the better your chances are of getting into your dream university. To get a good SAT score, it is important to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test beforehand.

The experts from the EssayAssistant service will tell you below everything about the SAT exam.

SAT: Preparing for the exam

There are test-taking guides available online, but they are mostly in English. In addition, you can take a practice test on the official SAT website.

The main preparation steps for foreigners:

  • Learning English. The minimum level of proficiency is above average. Without this, there is no point in trying to pass the exam, you “cut” on the first part, which includes reading and analysis of the text.
  • Time practice. You can be a genius, but you can be thoughtful. And that means you won’t meet your allotted time. Consequently, your grades will be poor. To avoid this, you need to practice all the time.
  • Download sample questions in advance. The general principles of questionnaire construction don’t change over the years, so take samples from several years to identify major trends.
  • For the Reasoning Test, learn English terminology in math, history, and business language. For the Subject Test, study the subjects you will be taking. Pay attention to language constants and “winged” expressions. This is often caught by foreigners trying to do literal translations of idioms.

Try to write a long essay. Feel free to insert English proverbs, sayings, historical facts, even aphorisms. It makes a positive impression. If you’ve ever had a chance to buy an argumentative essay, you know that the brighter the essay is written, the less any minor flaws will attract attention. But grammatical errors are unacceptable.

The structure of the SAT exam

Of course, it is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the algorithms of the test:

  1. A reading test, which includes 52 questions. The time limit is 65 minutes. You are given 5 excerpts from texts created in different styles and on different topics. These can be popular science articles, works of fiction, or U.S. government documents. You answer questions based on the content of the received passages. All answers are varied; you must underline the correct option;
  2. A language and grammar test takes 35 minutes and consists of 44 questions. This also requires you to choose the correct answer from among those presented. You will need to replace underlined words with more appropriate words, change the tense of verbs, correctly place sentence members, etc.;
  3. A math test that is divided into 2 parts: with and without a calculator. Includes 45 multiple-choice questions and 13 self-answer problems. Lasts 80 minutes. It tests the knowledge of algebra, geometry, the beginnings of higher mathematics, probability theory and data analysis, modeling of situations, and problem-solving.

For each section (text analysis, grammar, math without a calculator, with a calculator) you can get a maximum of 400 points. All items are scored from 10 to 40 points, depending on complexity. There is no penalty for wrong answers, they are simply skipped.

A separate assessment is given to the essay. It is allocated 50 minutes. You are asked to justify or refute a certain judgment. It usually relates to general humanities, not science.

For admission to prestigious U.S. universities (Harvard, Yale), you must score a minimum of 1480 on the SAT Reasoning Test. For Princeton and Stanford, it is 1460. The toughest conditions are set by the California Institute of Technology – from 1530.

A few facts about the SAT Reasoning Test

  1. The application is submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of the selected date. If late, you can, and a little later, but it is at the discretion of the organizers and for $ 30. For the same amount of money, you can move the day of delivery;
  2. Taking the test is allowed an infinite number of times. Children over the age of 12 are even allowed to take it;
  3. SAT results become available in about 3 weeks (online is faster, by mail longer). But if you need them urgently, for $31 they are sent to a named institution of higher education within a few days;
  4. For $55, the scores are manually recalculated (at your request). The result will not be available online, but only on paper;
  5. The SAT I test is valid for 3 years. You will then need to take the test again.

What is the SAT Subject Test?

It can be called a supplement to the basic exam. It is more specialized, as it is a test of knowledge in specific sciences. You choose one or more of the proposed areas, and in them a separate direction. For one discipline is allocated 1 hour, during this time you answer 50-80 questions, choosing the right option. The Subject Test is given on the same day as the main SAT.

This test is often required by the most prestigious universities in the U.S. and Canada. For international students from countries where the system or duration of secondary education is markedly different from that of the United States, it becomes the only way to determine the appropriate level of knowledge, and therefore the possibility of entering and studying at universities in the United States.

Final words

Before you begin preparing for the SAT or any other admissions test – be sure to clearly understand and articulate the purpose and importance of the test to you and your future. It will keep you energized and motivated throughout your preparation.