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Comprehending the SAT

The SAT or the Scholastic Aptitude Test, now called the Scholastic Assessment Test, is a paper-based, multiple-choice standardized test to evaluate the writing, critical reading, and mathematics skills of students applying for admission to universities or colleges. It is wholly developed, owned, and published by the College Board Educational Testing service and is taken by students worldwide. It is offered 7 times a year and the fee ranges anywhere from US $55. 00 to US$ 108.00, depending upon the country where the test is taken. 

The purpose of the SAT is to check the readiness of a student for college and give the college one common data point to assess and compare hundreds of applications that pour in. The Admission Committee reviews the applicant’s SAT score along with your academic curriculum and grades, letters of recommendation by teachers/mentors, extracurricular activities, admission interviews (wherever applicable), and personal essays. The weightage of SAT scores varies from one school to another. Needless to say, the higher your SAT score is the better your chance of getting into a great school. 

Here is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions when preparing for the SAT:

1 Is it necessary to take the SAT?

A growing number of colleges have eliminated the requirement of submitting the SAT scores, and have gone test-optional, especially after the pandemic. Having said that, there are still many schools that require SAT scores. It comes down to what are the requirements of the school you are applying to. So, if the school you are applying to says that SAT is optional and you have great grades and strong academic extracurriculars, and a powerful SOP, then you may skip the test. In short, if you submit your scores, they will be reviewed but if you do not, you will not be penalized. 

2 Is SAT important?

Though the SAT is not the most crucial part of your application, the standardized scores are something that admission officers look at while reviewing your application. This means you do stand a better chance of getting into your dream college if you have scored well. 

3 The SAT or the ACT

 The great news is that nowadays schools do not prefer one over the other. So, the best way to decide is to take a mock test for both the SAT and the ACT and see where you perform better. Sometimes students take both the exams but focussing on one would be a better idea. 

4 Where do I register for my SAT?

The easiest way to register for your SAT is online at the College Board website. There are mail and phone registration options available too. 

5 Where to take the SAT?

There are thousands of SAT centers globally and the College Board website has a handy test–center finder that helps you to pick a location at your convenience. 

6 Is the SAT a tough exam to ace?

The SAT might seem hard the first time but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. The SAT is a learnable test and learning about the format of the test and some strategies always helps. 

7 What is the scoring methodology of the SAT?

The SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600. One score is for Math (on a 200 – 800 scale) and the other is for Verbal (including reading and writing and language sections), also on the same scale. 

8 Is there a good SAT score?

A good SAT score essentially depends upon what your goals are and what kind of schools you are aiming for. The average SAT score is 1050. The more competitive your chosen schools are the higher your SAT scores should be. If your scores fall in the middle 50% of the admitted students, then you have a good chance of getting into your dream school. 

9 How soon are SAT scores available?

Data says that if you have taken the SAT in June or August, your scores may take around six weeks to get released as a lot of students take the test in summer. However, if you are taking the test in October, November, December, March, or May, the test scores are available within two weeks of taking the test. 

10 Is there a right way to prepare for the SAT?

The best way is to take a SAT diagnostic test to find out your strengths and weaknesses. Then a SAT study schedule needs to be put in place to optimize time and learning. 

11 Where to find SAT study resources

As Bobby Knight famously said, “The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.” Start preparing. Your time starts now. 

Written by Ms.Anu Chopra- Jitin Chawla Team


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