What is the SAT?
The SAT® Reasoning Test™ (formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardized test for college admission in the Unites States.
As far back as in 1926, SAT was approved for its ability to measure pure intelligence, irrespective of the quality of education the test taker has benefitted from. Thus, everyone is graded on the same scale and the varying scales of assessment that could result in different schools and boards and countries are rendered immaterial.
In 1948 the Educational Testing Service was chartered and the SAT was on its way to becoming what it is today - the basic college admissions device for millions.
The College Board that owns, develops and publishes the exam states on the official website:
‘The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support and scholarships, in a way that's fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century.’
What is the Structure of the SAT?
The SAT is actually divided into two examinations. The SAT® Reasoning Test is designed to measure critical reading, math and writing skills. The SAT Subject Tests™ are designed to measure knowledge and skills in particular subject areas.
When is the SAT Conducted?
The SAT is offered in the US seven times a year in October, November, December, January, March, May, and June. In India as in all countries outside the US, the SAT is offered six times in a year. The test is typically offered on the first Saturday of the month for the October, November, December, May, and June administrations, and the last Saturday for the January administration.
The College Board is yet to announce the exact dates for the May and June 2016 exams. These will be the first exams in India for the redesigned SAT.
How to Prepare for the SAT?
While you must be fully cognizant of the basic concepts that SAT tests, it is necessary that you learn to apply this knowledge in the limited time available and under pressure. This application skill is the aptitude that SAT tests. This aptitude can be developed with guided practice that enables you to develop a strategy to ace the test.
What are the Basic SAT Guidelines?
The SAT typically follows a predictable pattern, and the types of questions asked are predictable as well. You must therefore be well-prepared with the question types long before the exam to avoid wasting time in processing the instructions given in the questions.
Furthermore, SAT questions are generally arranged in a sequence that moves from easy to medium difficulty to tough. The exception is the passage-based questions, that are generally arranged in a chronological order mirroring the passage, rather than based on the difficulty quotient.
Time Management in the SAT is crucial as each section is timed. However, rather than wasting time calculating how many minutes or seconds to devote to each question, the key is to focus on the questions you know you can solve, and to devote less time to those which seem to be more tricky. Practice aids in lowering the ratio of the tricky questions to the ones that can be solved. The clock must be watched, of course, but only to know on a general level how much time is left to solve the section.
Eliminating choices is as important as selecting the appropriate option. In fact, sometimes the key to answering a question correctly will lie in discounting the alternatives based on conceptual knowhow. The SAT is predictable not only on the types of questions it throws up, but also the kind of tricks it employs in the options to the questions.
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