How To Prepare for The SAT

Firstly, let us understand what the SAT is, how it is structured and how with dedication and the right tools you can get a high score. 

The SAT tests skills such as reading and math. The evidence based reading test consists of a reading section and language section. The mathematics section consists of two sections – one with and one without a calculator. There is no negative marking in the SAT and the score range for the SAT is 400-1600.

Structure

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Component Time Allocated (min) Number of Questions / Task
Reading 65 52
Writing & Language 35 44
Math 80 58
Total 180 154

SAT Tip

Registration
Check out the details related to your test centre location and date availability at the said location before you book the appointment. Create an account once you have fixed these two elements and register online for the SAT. You will need certain details including clear digital photos. While registering, you will find fee waivers which you should consider before paying the test registration fees.


Test Prep
Before you start preparing for the SAT, you should know that the best foundation for your SAT is your schoolwork. You should focus on your school curriculum and undertake advanced coursework wherever possible. Test yourself regularly to keep track of your progress.

To avoid nerves and stress as much as possible, familiarize yourself with the SAT format. Learn how long the sections takes, how it is scored, how long the breaks are and practice accordingly closer to the test date.

Be aware of which is the math section that allows a calculator and which does not.

Practise a little daily.


READING TEST
Read the question and answer choices carefully. Go back to the passage and look for the evidence which supports your correct choice. Eliminate answers that seem wrong and double-check your answer choice. Do not spend too much time on a difficult question. The Collegeboard recommends that: you base your answers on close reading and interpretation of the text and any associated graphics. Furthermore, all the information you need to answer the questions can be found in the passages themselves or supplementary material such as graphics or footnotes. You won’t be tested on your background knowledge of the specific topics covered.


WRITING & LANGUAGE TEST
On the Writing and Language Test, you’ll be asked to step into the role of editor, identifying ways that a writer could improve the development, organization, and use of language in a passage. Expression of ideas questions require you to have a strong understanding of the passage as a whole. Proposition questions focus on the ‘big ideas in the passages and ask you, for instance, to add or revise thesis statements or topic sentences in order to clarify the writer’s points. Support questions get into the details of how the writer backs up the big ideas with evidence, examples and the like. This information is directly taken from CollegeBoard, the makers of the SAT.


MATH TEST
Questions on the SAT Math Test are distributed among these three topics with 19 Heart of Algebra questions, 17 Problem Solving and Data Analysis questions, and 16 Passport to Advanced Math questions. The remaining six questions test your understanding of additional topics in math such as area, volume, circles, triangles and trigonometry. You’ll be permitted to use a calculator on one portion of the SAT Math Test, so be sure to bring a calculator with you to the test. This information is directly taken from CollegeBoard, the makers of the SAT.


Before test day
Get your travel plans in order before the day of the test. See how long it takes you to travel and be certain to reach before time as late entries are not allowed to give the test.
Do not change your appearance compared to your photo ID before the test day. Your face needs to match the ID perfectly so if you have any alterations, you might face issues.


Test day prep
Things you should carry- admission ticket, photo ID which is the physical original and not a copy or an electronic version, number 2 pencils with soft erasers that are not mechanical, calculators that are approved by the SAT board, a basic watch that only shows time and does not record or store any information, a small snack for your break and water.
Things you should not carry- any electronic devices including your phones, stationery material (even sharpeners), earplugs.

Who needs to give the SAT?

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Top Universities in the US

Even if there may be some options for students who are not planning to give the SAT, if you want to study at a well-ranked university like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, and University of California, the SAT is indispensable. Find more about studying in the US here.​

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Top Universities in the Canada

Similar to the US, there may be a few universities in Canada which can allow you to apply for a bachelors program without the SAT but if you want to enrol at the best universities in the country like the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia or McGill University, a good SAT score is required. Find more about studying in Canada here.

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Top Universities in the Singapore

Like the US, most bachelors programs in Singapore under NUS, SIM, or Nanyang University require SAT as a part of their application requirements. Find more about studying in Singapore here.

FAQs

1600 is the highest score on the SAT that you can score.

You should ideally study for at least 3- 4 months. This depends on your ability to grasp information and the time you can dedicate to studying and practicing. 

This depends on your preferences but the Math section where you can’t use the calculator can be challenging to many people.

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