Are you interested in studying in the USA? If so, chances are you know about the SAT or have at least heard it being referred to in movies. So what is the SAT, and why is it important for students to know about it? Well, in short, the SAT is a popular aptitude test used by USA universities to gauge if a student meets their admissions requirements.
The Scholastic Aptitude Test, (SAT) is one of two standardized college admissions tests used in the USA, the other is the American College Test (ACT). The SAT first started being used in 1933 as a measurement tool for the intellectual potential for scholarship candidates by Harvard University. By 1940, the popularity of the Test had skyrocketed, and many colleges began using it as their standard entrance exam.
What is on the SAT?
The SAT is a multiple choice test out of 1600 points and is made up of 2 sections, and an optional essay. The sections are, 1) Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, 2) Maths and the optional essay. Depending on the universities you are applying to will determine if you have to take the essay or not. The content contained in the SAT is covered in the South African Caps system so you will not be surprised by any unknown material, but you will need to study and take up to 10 practice tests. There are great online resources such as the Khanacademy.org, or you can contact Genius Premium Tuition for 1 on 1 SAT tutoring.
When should you take the SAT?
At Aspire Atlantic, we suggest writing the SAT in Grade 11. Some of you might be asking "Why not in Grade 12?". Well, if a student does not get the score they need to apply to their desired college, they can retake the Test in their Matric year without it being too pressured. Grade 12 is a stressful year; students need to plan wisely to give themselves time to take the Test, meet their academic, extramural and social obligations.
Where can I take the Test?
You can book a test online at The College Board's website. In South Africa, we have four chances a year to write the SAT, which are usually in March, May, October and December. The venues do change according to availability, so make sure you register early. The main testing locations are situated in KZN, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, so if you are from out of town, make sure you plan on travelling to the testing stations.
What is a good SAT score?
Well, a good SAT score depends on the student's abilities, and each university requirements. The College Board has set the SAT Benchmark at 1000points, with Maths being 530 and English being 470. At Aspire Atlantic, we recommend that students aim for a score of 1250 which will give you a good chance at gaining entrance to some great universities. However, If you are looking at applying to the Top 50 USA universities, you will need to score over 1450 to even be considered. Remember that a high SAT doesn't guarantee you funding or a placement at a University, as each University's Admissions Office has its own admissions and scholarships criteria.