Saturday, 29 April 2017

The truth about SAT exams

US universities are one of the most sought after in the world for the quality of education, research opportunities and future prospects of graduates. Every year, universities receive thousands of applications from within the country as well as overseas. With prospective students coming in from different curriculum and school systems, SAT aims to assess all on a common platform. Students planning to graduate from reputed US universities usually start preparing well in advance to score well in SAT. Though some colleges are doing away with SAT, they are still in minority and there are few outside of the US that also accept SAT scores to take in new students. All in all, SAT is an all important part of college education in US.

SAT is a standardized paper-based test of 3 hours in addition to 50 minutes for essay writing taken by high school students.  The aim of SAT is to test a student’s readiness for college education covering aspects of reading, writing, general knowledge, math and language. These are divided into 3 main sections; critical reading, mathematics and writing. All are multiple choice questions with the exception of the essay piece.  The questions are framed in a way that help assess a student’s analytical and critical thinking apart from problem solving and language skills. With a restricted time allotted, SAT is aims to quantify these traits through the SAT score.

Due to high volume of applications for the limited number of available admissions in the universities, SAT is easily one of the most competitive exams in the world. To do well in SAT, students often plan years in advance. Specialized SAT preparatory courses offer much needed guidance, especially to students outside of US. Also, some students may find SAT framework much different from their existing school curriculum while for some it may be more familiar. Some schools are more attuned to a universal education and therefore, for example, students graduating from IB Diploma programmes, would find SAT preparation more recognizable and easy to relate to. It also helps that IB curriculum’s wider acceptance, helps students to transition to US universities more comfortably.

Registration for SAT is done online and the centres for the test are available in most countries (list available on the official website). SAT is offered 7 times in US and 6 times worldwide every year. The Canadian International School is one of the SAT centres in Singapore.  It is also, one of the most reputed IB school in the country offering IB programmes from primary to high school level. The coordinator for Sat at the school is available for any questions related to SAT in general.

The aim of SAT is not to establish the best candidates, but to ascertain that all are at the same range when entering colleges in US. SAT is also, just one of the aspects to select candidates, though it is an important one. Colleges can be picky when they have several hundreds of applications and when the scores are acceptable, it is the students’ aptitude, personality, creativity and recommendations from past educators that help make final decisions by college managements.

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