More than 2 million students take the SAT test every year. It is one of the most widely used entrance exams for colleges in the United States and is actually administered in over 175 countries all over the world. This test is carefully designed to be a fair evaluator of students from a variety of different socioeconomic and regional backgrounds, allowing colleges to compare the preparation of students from different schools and who have taken different classes.
In addition to standardized test scores, colleges and universities also consider other factors to determine acceptance. Some of these factors include GPA, participation in extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service. Although colleges take many things into consideration, the SAT weighs heavily in the decision making process. A combination of GPA and the SAT can be a surprisingly effective predictor of your academic success at a university or college. Carefully preparing for, taking and using your SAT is an important step in preparing for and applying to your top choice school.
1. Understand Class Material
Educators carefully review each question on the SAT. Because the SAT is designed to test student knowledge, they want to make sure that it includes information that students should be learning in their classes at school. By studying for your classes and making sure that you understand the material that your teachers present, you are actually preparing to get a great score on the SAT test. In fact, many students find that they recognize the format and type of questions that are asked on the test because they have been taught and tested on similar information throughout their academic experience.
2. Know the Format
Taking any test can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect going into the test. Thankfully, there is a lot of information available to help you prepare for the test and its format. The SAT was designed as a way to define students’ actual working knowledge of the subject material. One of the best ways to ensure that your score reflects your knowledge is to find out what to expect. This can help you avoid nervousness and stress.
The SAT has three hours and forty-five minutes of total test time. The three main topics that are tested include reading, writing, and math. Each of these test areas are divided into sections that are more specific in nature. There are actually 10 total sections during the test that range from 10 to 25 minutes in duration.
3. Take Practice Tests
In order to better prepare yourself for test day, and to develop problem solving strategies, it is definitely worth taking at least one full practice test. Practice tests are available for free online. You also have the option of enrolling in test preparation classes that may help you further prepare.
Once you have taken an SAT practice test, you should look at your scores in each area. This will help you know where you need to focus the majority of your study time so that you can do your best when test day finally arrives.
4. Your Test Day Checklist
There are several factors that can affect your test taking ability on the day of the test. If you have a hard time focusing for any reason, you will definitely have a lower outcome than you would have otherwise. That is why it is important to make sure that you prepare yourself for the SAT physically as well as mentally. Make sure that you get enough sleep the night before. Lack of sleep not only affects your ability to concentrate, but it can also affect your ability to analyze and reason. Also, eat food and hydrate before you take the test. You may also bring snacks to eat during breaks so that you don’t feel hungry or physically drained while testing.
When you go to take your test, also make sure to bring everything you will need. Generally, you can expect that you will need pencils and erasers, a photo id, and a calculator.
5. Know What Your Results Mean and How to Use Them
Test scores range from 200 to 800 in each section, with a total score between 600 and 2400. In the United States, the average score is approximately 1500, although the average acceptance score can range from one university to another.
When you take the SAT, you can have your scores sent to four different colleges for free. By sending your scores to these universities, you can get on their radar, even before you have started your application. By achieving high SAT scores, you show high potential for your future as a student.