The letters SAT stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is a paper-based standardized test required for application to most colleges and universities in the US. High SAT scores will increase your chances of securing admission. You may also get scholarship offers.
There are two SAT tests: SAT I and SAT II. SAT II subject tests are not usually required by colleges.
Who should take SAT?
SAT is taken by high school students who wish to pursue higher education in the US. SAT scores also determine a student's eligibility to receive academic scholarships.
The SAT I tests a student's skills in critical reading, mathematics, and writing. SAT isn't necessarily a test of your knowledge. It tests your academic skills which are developed over the years you spent in school. Any one can have high SAT scores if they appear for the test with enough preparation.
The Critical Reading Sections
The SAT I contains three critical reading sections: Reading comprehension, Sentence completions and Paragraph-length critical reading. Two of these sections take 25 minutes, and the other takes 20 minutes. In the reading comprehension test, there will be lots of passages followed by questions. You have to answer these questions using the information given in the passages. The sentence completion problems will require you to fill in the blanks with appropriate word or words. To secure good scores, you must have a strong vocabulary and the ability to understand complicated sentences.
The SAT contains three Math sections: Algebra and functions, Geometry Statistics, Probability and Data analysis. There will be 54 questions in all. 44 of them are multiple-choice. For the remaining ten questions, you will have to find answers on your own. The SAT math will have questions from algebra, geometry, statistics and mathematical operations. There will also be questions that test your ability to interpret graphical and tabular data.
The Writing Sections
The SAT writing has three sections: One 25-minute essay section, and two multiple choice sections lasting 25 minutes and 10 minutes. The SAT writing sections will assess your ability to improve writing samples, identify writing errors, and produce your own clear, coherent essay.
How Long is the SAT?
The test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes overall. That includes three critical reading sections, three math sections, three writing sections including an essay section, and an experimental section that may resemble any of the aforementioned sections. No section lasts more than 25 minutes.
How Long Do I Need to Prepare?
That depends on your test taking skills. If you have a strong vocabulary, you may only need two months of preparation or less. But if your vocabulary is weak and your test-taking skills aren't great, plan for at least 3-4 months of regular preparation. During the preparation you must try to build vocabulary, improve test-taking strategies, and review mathematics.
Preparing for the SAT can be a daunting task and most people aren't sure where to start.
#1 - Buy a Study Guide
An inexpensive way to prepare for the SAT is to buy a study guide from your nearby bookstore or you can purchase one online. There are many different types of study guides but the best one for the money is probably the study guide put out by the College Board. They make the test so their practice tests are the real McCoy.
#2 - Form a Study Group
Another fairly inexpensive method for preparing is to form a study group. You can invite a few of your friends, who also need to prepare, over to discuss the reading sections and work the make problems together.everyone should have the same study guide so that you are all doing the same problems. It wouldn't hurt to have some pizza on hand too.
#3 - Hire a Tutor
If you have the money hiring a tutor can be very beneficial. A tutor usually specializes in the SAT and the ACT and can help you with testing strategies, problem solving techniques and how to best prepare. Tutors can range from $25 per hour to $125 per session and remember you get what you pay usually. Always ask your prospective tutor for references and a consultation to determine your needs. #3.5 - Take a Prep Course
Another choice available to you is an SAT Prep Course. If you want be sure that you are prepared for how to take the test a prep course might be just the ticket. In a prep course you are usually given several tests over a period of weeks under the same conditions as the actual test. Then you grade the test and determine what you could have done to prepare better. The prep course is much like hiring a tutor except there are quite a few more people. The cost of a prep course will be from $750 to $1250 per course.
Any of the above paths can successfully prepare you for the SAT. Which one will work best for you depends on your personality, discipline and determination. If you need pushing than the study route might not be the right fit for you. If you are easily distracted then the study group or prep course might not fit either.