The Scholastic Aptitude Test or the SAT is a standardised test that is used to measure the preparedness of students to enter into an university for further studies. This standardised college admissions test is run by a private organisation called the College Board. They are also responsible for administering the PSAT as well as the AP program.
Initially, the SAT was adapted from an IQ test conducted by the Army for the first time in the year 1926. Interestingly, it was not able to garner much interest. It was in 1933 that SAT finally caught on. This was mainly due to the action of the President of Harvard to use the test to measure the potential of different applicants. The president believed that the SAT was able to measure the true intellectual capability of the candidates, thereby giving the university a chance to choose students who were better adapted to thrive in the learning environment. Once Harvard started using the test, it propelled SAT into the popularity realm in no time. By 1940s, over 300,000 people were attempting the exams from different corners of the country.
In the year 1958, SAT faced a new competitor when ACT was created. Although it was initially less popular than the SAT exam, it managed to climb in popularly as the years went on. Interestingly, the number of students who took the ACT in the year 2010, surpassed those who took the SAT the same year. Consequently, this has forced the College Board to look into bringing out some changes to the SAT exam. Although the purpose and the test will remain the same, you can expect to see a few variations in the content as well as the basic structure of the test.
SAT is an easy way for colleges and universities to see how prepared you are to enter higher education. The better you score, the more you get to impress them. Since plenty of students take the test from different schools, it can also be used compare your performance with your peers. Once you get an idea of where you stand, you will be able to narrow down your college choices as well.
Additionally, if you are planning on applying to any university or college situated in the United States, you will need to take the ACT or the SAT. The admission procedure usually includes sending the test score along with the filled out application form. Although each university and college has its criteria of weighing the SAT scores, some tend to use the score to account for at least 50% during the admission decisions. So it is of absolute importance that you manage to score as well as you possibly can , in order to get into the college or university of your choice.
Who Needs To Take The SAT or ACT
- If you are a US citizen looking to apply to college within the US.
- If you are a US citizen seeking to apply to university in the UK or Canada.
- If you are an international student looking to study at any university in the US.
Since the SAT underwent a few recent changes, it would be best to contact the university of your choice to find out if you will need to retake the test in case your scores are from a previous version of the test.
SAT Test Contents
SAT is made up of ten sections. The first section comprises of the essay, after which the candidates will face two reading sections, followed by two math sections. After this, the candidates will have to answer the experimental section which is 25 minutes long. Finally, the candidate needs to complete the twenty minute reading, twenty minute math, and ten minute writing section for the test to be deemed completed. The majority of the test questions are multiple choice questions with the exception of the essay, the ten grid-in questions and the twenty five math section. Although this might seem like a scary process initially, candidates can build up their confidence before attending the test by attempting several mock test practice runs.
SAT Scoring Decoded
The candidates are awarded a SAT score anywhere between 600 and 2400. This score is a sum of the writing, math and reading scores. In each section, the number of answers you got right and wrong are counted, ¼ of each incorrect answer is reduced from the section total. This score is then converted using the equating process. This new scaled score is calculated for each section and added up to get the final total score. Although the College Board is not exactly forthcoming of how the equating process takes place, you can be assured that it is based on years of data.
According to the data collected over the years, the average SAT score tends to hover near the 1500 mark. Top tier colleges prefer students who have a score at least above 2000, whereas some universities are more than willing to accept 1400 SAT scorers. Hence, you need to narrow down your college choices to find out how much you will need to score to get into a college of your preference.
SAT: The Ideal Time To Take Them
Once you are in the winter session of your junior year, you will find that the majority of the material has been covered in school. Experts suggest this time period to be the perfect time to attempt the SAT for the first time. However, each school follows different policies, so it would be a good idea to check with your school as to how and when they plan on administering the SAT test for the students.
At the end of the day, remember that a good SAT score is achieved only with plenty of hard work put in by you. You will need to be well versed with the material and be able to answer the questions accurately under limited time. Most top scorers attempt plenty of mock tests to get used to answering under pressure. You can also form study groups with like minded students and have study sessions regularly and help each other improve their test taking skills.