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Increase your College Admission and Scholarship chances with a good SAT score

The Scholastic Assessment Test is used by a number of leading U.S., Canadian and Indian universities as a way to assess students from diverse backgrounds on English and Maths skills. This three-hour test with more than 150 questions will test your knowledge across a range of topics in the two subjects.

How you score in the SAT vis-a-vis other students will have a bearing on whether you make it to your dream university or not. So how to best prepare for SAT?

We have collated some tips below based on our experience with thousands of students.

  1. The right time to plan for SAT: Normally, students appear for SAT after completing their grade X or during their grade XI. This provides adequate time to retake the SAT, if required, and to improve your scores. Some students appear for SAT during their grade XII. However, it is preferable to appear earlier to strengthen your foundation in Math and English and to give you plenty of time for additional attempts. Since SAT is held multiple times a year, you can choose the date that suits you.
  1. A Positive Attitude: SAT is not tough and you can do it! You need to understand and internalize this message at the start of your preparation. The questions are designed for students at your level of education attainment, and with discipline and preparation, you can improve your performance significantly.
  1. Prepare in Advance: We already know the dates when the SAT exam shall be organized. Start your preparation five to six months ahead of the exam. Keep solving Math problems of different sections regularly and you will see your understanding and performance improve. Read newspapers and magazines to help improve your language skills. This will also come in handy for your regular studies.
  1. Hard Work beats Tricks: Many students delay their preparation to the last, and then look for tricks to ‘ace’ this or that section. This is a bad approach. Even the most talented sportspersons and musicians spend thousands of hours in training and honing their talent. You are no different. Consistent hard work beats tricks any day of the week. In fact, tricks and shortcuts work only if your base is already very strong – meaning you have invested enough time and effort in building a strong foundation.
  1. Manage Your Time: SAT problems are not very difficult, at least not if you are well prepared. There are just so many of them! Many students are unable to complete all the problems in the given time. Often this happens when they spend too much time trying to solve a particularly tough problem. Should you take 4 minutes to solve a tough maths problem, or solve 4 easier problems in the same time? All questions carry equal marks.
  1. Identify Your Weaknesses: Very few students are strong across all subjects and topics. You need to identify areas where you are strong, and more important, topics where you are weak and need to put in extra effort. A good preparation is one which helps you to identify your weaknesses and work on them. How do you do that? For that, you need to take Mock Tests.
  1. Take Mock Tests: There are many full-length mock tests available for SAT. Appear for these tests regularly, as you would for the actual exam. A mock test gives you the experience of solving questions under time pressure – much like the exam. A few mock tests can help you understand whether your time management needs a change. Since mock tests include questions from the entire curriculum, you can also identify your weaknesses – and work on improving them. It is crucial that after completing a mock test you spend time evaluating questions where you went wrong and try to understand the reason (lack of knowledge, silly mistake, understood the question incorrectly etc.).
  1. Additional Attempts: SAT is offered multiple times a year. Most students appear for the SAT twice or thrice. Universities don’t penalize students for multiple attempts. Some universities use the best score of all attempts, while other universities use a ‘super’ score – a combination of English and Maths scores from different tests. Check the policies of the universities where you are applying.

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Whether you appear for SAT or any other competitive examination, your effort should be to showcase your best performance on the test day. Consistent hard work and intelligent effort should help you get there!

Important Information Regarding SAT

  1. Dates – The College Board publishes an official calendar for SAT dates and the test is usually conducted five to seven times a year. In India, SAT is usually conducted in August, October, December, March and May. However, these change from one year to next. Pleasecheck here for the exact dates.
  1. Registration – You need to register on the College Board portal to appear for SAT. You will need a valid photograph and a credit card to complete your registration. The deadline for registrations is usually one month before the date of the test. Pleasecheck here for the deadlines.
  1. Test Centres – There are multiple SAT centres over the world. Pleasecheck here to find which one is convenient for you.
  1. Application Fee – The registration fee for SAT is $55, plus a regional fee which varies ($49 for India). In addition to these, there may be other charges. You cancheck here for the full details.
  1. Identity Proof – You will be required to carry a proof of identity on the day of the test. The test staff will check the information on your admission ticket and the ID. Examples of valid ID include a driver’s licence or a passport. You cancheck here for the full details of ID requirements.
  1. Permitted devices – You can carry a calculator for the Math with calculator section of the test. Most graphing calculators and scientific calculators are permitted. Devices such as mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets and laptops are not permitted – carrying these into the test centre could get you disqualified! Pleasecheck here to know if your device is compatible.

About the Author: 

Amit Bhandari  holds a B-Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, BHU and a MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
He is a published author, an entrepreneur and a business professional with experience of building new teams and brands. His book titled “India and the Changing Geopolitics of Oil” was published in late 2021. He is the founder of tezbid.com, an online platform specializing in antique coins.
Amit started his career with the Economic Times, where the tracked the energy sector. He was a part of the start-up team of ET Now, the business news channel. Amit was responsible for setting up India Reality Research, a new research outfit within CLSA India, a stockbroking firm. He is a Senior Fellow with Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Affairs, a Mumbai based think tank. His work in public policy has been cited extensively in Indian and world media over the past several years.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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