Category Archives: Career Testing

Preparing For The SAT

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Preparing For The SATPreparing For The SAT


Best way to prepare for SAT?

There are dozens of tips on how to ace the SAT therefore proving difficult to cull the useful and necessary ones from the bad optional ones. Having this in mind, some SAT experts and teachers compiled a list of top ten essential requirements for SAT preparation.

  1. Doing practice tests.

Nothing is more effective in preparing for SAT than taking the actual test. Spare time after every one or two weeks to take a timed, full length practice test. This will not only aid in keeping track of one’s progress but also increase one’s endurance on test-taking.


It is grueling to sit through a three and a half hour exam. It is therefore of great importance to learn strategies in dealing with exam exhaustion and figuring out how to set pace.


Do an evaluation of your performance after every practice test and focus the next preparation work on the weakest areas. This test will help you familiarize with the various test sections, instructions and structures.

  1. Learning the exam structure.

Except for the section on critical reading, all SAT questions are placed in an ascending order of their difficulty. It means that the beginning questions of a section are less difficult than the ones at the end.


The time you spend on each question should differ, take minimum time on the easy questions and devote more time to the difficult questions. As for the critical reading section which is not arranged in order of their difficulty, one should master important strategies for example first answering oriented questions in details; the ones with references to particular line numbers and ending with the general questions.


  1. Reading.

Read articles on subjects you are unfamiliar with and look up any new words.


  1. Studying vocabularies.

You can easily increase your SAT score by studying vocabulary. This will help you familiarize with the most commonly tested vocabularies on the SAT. You can employ the use of flashcards in your study.


  1. Writing several practice essays.

The first part of the SAT test is essay writing, usually awarded 25 minutes. Planning, writing and proof reading an essay within that time is nerve-wrecking. However, practice makes perfect, the more times you practice your writing the faster and easier it becomes.


  1. Calculations.

The use of calculators helps save up valuable time and prevent careless errors. Train yourself to use one and learn the shortcuts.


  1. Memorize formulas and rules.

Although the SAT provide you with formulas, it is still of importance to memorize all the formulas in area such as Pythagorean Theorem, rules on special triangle, average formulas as well as exponent rules saving you valuable time.


  1. Understanding how multiple-choice test works.

Except grid-in math and essay, SAT usually consists of multiple choices. This does not make the test any easier. However, it gives the test-takes an added advantage by being able to identify the grammatical concept being tested just from looking at the different choice answers. One can do answer choice elimination on a math problem by having them plugged back in the question equation. This helps one identify type of error to look out for.


  1. Know when to skip a question and when to guess the answer.

If you have no idea on how to tackle a particular question, leave it be. Don’t waste time thinking over it when you can move to the next question that you can actually solve.


10. SAT being a ‘stress free’ zone.

Allow yourself to have plenty of study time for SAT so that when it comes to the actual exam date, you don’t have to worry about a thing.


It is natural to panic; stop, shut your eyes and have a few deep breaths then resume the test. SAT exam is all about strategy and not intelligence. The previous day to the exam, spend time sleeping, relating, eating plenty of brain foods and relaxing.


Do SAT’S really matter for college?

SAT plays a huge role in college and university admissions. Getting into Ivy League School with a SAT score of 1700, 1800 or 1900 is impossible.


Most colleges listed on sites such as the fair test require SAT Scores for example Wake Forest which uses the scores for merit awards and scholarships while some colleges require the scores for out of state.


People for college admissions are aware that some high schools are difficult than others. In terms of school work, magnetic school is probably tougher than a district public school.


GPA’s are said to be inflated, a student with 3.4 in magnetic school may be worth above 3.8 in a district public school. However, SATs are said to be equalizers and same for all hence considered fair.


A student from a district public school has the same opportunity to succeed as a student from magnet making them SAT unbiased.


Nonetheless, a GPA of 3.3 won’t gain you any admission to the top 20 schools unless you have taken several honor classes and AP.


SAT compensates for this but still means low chances of acquiring admission into Yale of Harvard. Getting low GPA scores only goes to show that you slacked off in school.


At times New York University and Boston College may consider admitting a student with high scores on both SAT and GPA.


All in all it goes without say that SAT scores are crucial for college an admission which is a harsh reality for some. Most top schools consider both the SAT and GPA scores.


High SAT score compensates for a low GPA but still does not enable them get admission to the top universities such as Harvard and Yale, maybe Dartmouth and Cornell may accept admission for such students.


At Alfred University, a student’s academic evaluation is done on GPA, SAT scores and class ranking. Of all the four components, SAT is given least importance.


They believe that the measurement of the other academic reviews tell a lot about the student applicant since it’s something they took 3 to 4 years building compared to SAT which is a 1 day performance influenced by many factors beyond the test-takers control.


Majority of selected private universities are of holistic admissions meaning they do an evaluation of the student as a whole. Therefore, one area with high strengths makes up for other areas of perceived weaknesses.


Students with strong academic records show that they have capabilities of university-level work. Majority of university admissions officers recognize that a student who succeeded on IB curriculum, AP courses, Honors courses as well as other preparatory college works course amount to so much in comparison to the scores of a single test.


In conclusion, do SATs really matter for college admissions? Well, yes and no depending on the college or university the student is actually applying to. There are some colleges which consider SAT as a necessity while others discredit SAT. So whether or not SAT really matters depend on the institution.


Preparing For The SAT

What is considered a good SAT score now?

One of several criteria’s used by universities and colleges in making admission decisions are the SAT scores. Nonetheless, one should not undermine their importance. Though most admission officers claim to use a holistic, open-minded approach to their decision making, SAT scores are said to enhance or bring down one’s application.


It is easier for numerical data to be compared than making a decision as to whether one semester in England is highly ranked than a state rugby championship.


Most schools publicize their SAT scores knowing that high numbers determine their reputations for example, a college cannot be considered to be elite or highly selective if the students’ SAT mathematics score is an average of 470.


Hence begs the question, what is considered a good SAT score presently?


The examination is usually in three parts: writing, mathematics and critical reading. Each section has a score range of 200 to 800. Therefore the best total score possible is 2400.


Each section has a rough average score of 500 making an average total score of about 1500. In 2013, 1.66 million examinees got a mean score of 496 in critical reading, 488 in writing and 514 in mathematics.


Students who actually get perfect SAT scores including those in top colleges in the country are very few. Some schools include only the math and critical reading scores but not writing scores in their school profiles simply because they haven’t yet figured out the relationship between writing scores to academic success.


Many choose to believe that a good SAT score is one that gets the student into the university or college of their choice. Remember that SAT score is not of absolute value but a scaled score indicating an individual’s performance compared to other 2 million test-takers each year.


Your scores solely rely on how much you have prepared and how you feel on the examination date. However, parents should note that these scores do not determine the child’s level of intelligence.


Here are some scores which are considered as good SAT scores. With a total of 2400 score- 800 on writing, 800 on critical thinking and 800 on math;

  • 1650 to 1800 score is adequate for most colleges.
  • 1800 to 2100 score is good.
  • 2100 score and above ensures that the student will have no admission problems with everything else in order.


In 2012 in the U.S, the 50 percent average overall score was 1498; 496 in critical reading, 488 in writing and 514 in mathematics. In the U.S, order to get admission in the top ranking schools, the test-taker will require a 90 percent score which is 2100 and above.


Things like GPA, extracurricular activities and school involvement aside from your scores are also considered in college admissions therefore acquiring one is not as difficult as assumed.


Students take the SAT test as many times as they want and decide which score to report to the college, an option referred to as Score Choice. Re-taking the SAT test enables the students improve their SAT scores since they’ll learn from their past mistakes.


What the difference are between SAT I and SAT II?

‘SAT’ is an abbreviation which stands for Scholastic Assessment Test. They are usually exam tests for college admission. Below are the noted differences between SAT I and SAT II.



SAT I examination is a general SAT which measures the skills for verbal reasoning for example basic reading- questions based on a passage and sentence completion as well as writing- punctuation, construction errors and grammar and mathematics- geometry, algebra and arithmetic.


It is acceptable as a requirement for admission to almost all universities and colleges especially the Eastern colleges.


If one is comfortable with writing and grammar and haven’t gone through trig classes, they will find SAT I easiest. It gives candidates a reading score ranging from 200 to 800 and a writing score of the same range, 200 to 800.


It also gives a critical math score ranging from 200 to 800 as well. The total of the three scores is your overall score. Each right answer earns you one point and each question you omit earns you zero points.


An incorrect answer may at times have zero penalties as in the case of grid-in mathematical questions or cost you a quarter of one point as in the case of questions with multiple choices.


SAT I take more than three and a half hours to complete. You have total six-section questions- 2 reading, 2 writing and 2 mathematics, with each section employed 25 minutes.


Also included are two other sections- 1 reading and 1 math, each employed 20 minutes and one writing section- grammar questions, employed a total of 10minutes.


SAT I examinations are offered 7 times a year usually in the months of January, March, May, June, October, November and December. Most times SAT I and SAT II are held same day, same time making it impossible to take both tests at the same time.



SAT Subject Tests usually measure knowledge in specified subject areas. Most universities and colleges don’t find SAT II as a basic requirement with the exception of California universities.


The individual subjects tested by SAT II range from biology, literature to Japanese and the history of the United States of America. This examination can prove challenging since it depends on your knowledge level of a specific subject hence effective study tools are crucial.


10 math questions on SAT II are grid-in, more than the questions with multiple choices. This means that majority of your answers will have to be worked out then enter the answer on the sheet.


This is a disadvantage to people who prefer multiple-choice questions. The score ranges from 200 to 800. Every correct answer earns you one point and every answer you omit earns you zero points. For each incorrect answer, you lose a quarter of one point.


SAT II exams last 1 hour per subject test. The SAT Subject Tests are offered 6 times in a year in the months of January, May, June, October, November and December.


Which SAT books to prepare for SAT?

Below is a list of the top study guides and SAT books that students can use to prepare for their SAT test.


Official SAT Study Guide with DVD.

This guide is considered to be ‘the bible’ of the SAT test preparation books, its author, makers of the SAT. This book contains ten authentic practice tests in full length that has the actual SAT exam questions. Also provided is free online access to notes and answers as well as website score reports.

As far a substance goes, its main strength is contained in the math section with sample problems and useful description features. This guide is a ‘must have’ simply because it contains practice test with a reliable prediction of your SAT scores.


However, test-takers are advised to use this book with other top SAT guides since the questions are not accompanied with explanatory notes.



Gruber’s Complete SAT Guide 2014.

This is a highly popular book authored by Dr. Gary Gruber, SAT preparation expert and guru. This guide is notable for following critical thinking approaches that aims at giving students the necessary tools for getting correct answers within a short period of time. Additionally, this book is organized with a clear style in writing and 5 full length practice tests featured.


Barron’s SAT.


Barron is among the top trusted standard testing guide providers. It is the best SAT book which offers a mix of general techniques in test taking, reviews in SAT subjects, study advice and strategies in approaching every individual test question.


This guide provides a no-nonsense, straight forward manual to necessary guidance. Barron’s SAT covers all the SAT sections and also includes 5 full length test models with clearly explained answers and in details. This book ensures to get the work well done.


Tutor Ted’s Guide to the SAT.


If you are searching for a conversational friendly approach, Tutor Ted’s Guide is the book to get. The author believes that writing the book in a personable humorous style makes studying easier by making it fun and interesting.


This guide book contains over 700 exercises and problems giving room for enough practice and skill refining. For students in search of a less serious approach, Tutor Ted’s Guide is the best choice. You are advised to supplement this guide book with other top books.

McGraw-Hill’s SAT, 2014 Edition.


It is an improved study guide that utilizes plenty of practice exercises and instructions to aid you in mastering SAT. The book mainly focuses on 8 essential reasoning skills in order to achieve high scores and conquer the SAT. They include analysis and problem mapping, identifying and simplifying problem patterns, considering alternatives and thinking in logic.


More so, this manual contains 6 practice tests in full length, online coaching video access and an added bonus of an interactive test-planner application, easily downloadable which allows the student to have in preparation a customized study schedule for SAT. McGraw-Hill’s SAT 2014 Edition is the tools for a successful preparation for SAT.