SAT Test Preparation Guide with Basics Explained!

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Lots of students in Singapore aspire to study for their college degrees in the USA. According to the most recent Open Doors report, around 4,500 Singaporean students are currently studying in the US. This is about a fifth of students who travel overseas for college.

There are lots of good reasons to study abroad, especially in the USA. As parents in such a global city-state as Singapore will know, travel will broaden your child’s horizons and provide them with invaluable life experiences as well as an excellent education. The USA is home to some of the world’s best-known universities, including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and Yale.

To study in the USA, your child will need to take a college admissions exam like the SAT as part of their application. As a provider of classes in SAT preparation in Dubai, we can give you some top tips for getting your child ready for this key test for college admission.

What do you need to know about US college admissions?

If your teen is interested in studying in the USA, then you and your child need to have an understanding of how college applications work. They need to know how to provide the very best application that demonstrates their strengths and merits. This will give them a better chance of landing a coveted place at their first choice of school.

All international students follow the same process as US applicants. The Common Application must be completed and your teen can express an interest in multiple colleges. Around 900 US colleges and universities handle millions of applications per year between them. So, as you can imagine, the competition for the best schools is fierce.

The Common App gives all students the opportunity to highlight their academic record, honors, and achievements, and to detail their experiences and attainments in sports and hobbies. A key section also requires students to list their scores in the college entrance exams, including the SAT.

What exactly is the SAT?

An SAT (Standard Admission Test) score is required by colleges and universities in the USA, although some accept other exam scores like the ACTs. Colleges set their own test policy.

The SAT is designed to be an academic aptitude test that complements their school records. It should show a student’s readiness for college and the likelihood that they will succeed in their studies. It’s not a test of knowledge as much as one of the core skills like reading comprehension, numeracy, and problem-solving.

The USA rarely utilizes standardized, universal high school grading systems like the IB or A-level, so the SAT is supposed to provide a fair comparison of all students.

There are usually several opportunities to take the SATs before completing the Common App. This means that the test can be repeated and the best score is achieved. Ivy League colleges usually expect a score of at least 1390 for a student to be competitive for a place.

What happens on test day? 

The SAT student will need to answer a series of questions which are divided into three main sections: reading comprehension and writing, mathematics, and then an optional essay section. The whole test takes just under 4 hours to complete, plus breaks between papers.

The first section, the “evidence-based reading and writing” paper, takes 100 minutes. All questions in this section are multiple-choice. This part of the SAT is designed to test a student’s level of understanding when reading a complex test, their vocabulary, grammar, and their mastery of the English language in general.

Next comes the mathematics section, which lasts 80 minutes. Around three-quarters of the questions are multiple-choice. A calculator can be used for part of this paper. This section examines a student’s command of advanced math concepts including algebra, their problem-solving skills, and their data analysis abilities.

Finally, there is a 50-minute essay paper based on the material given. Essays are scored on reading, analysis of the source material, and writing. Although the essay section is optional, taking it is definitely recommended for students who wish to apply for the most competitive colleges. 

How can I ensure my child does well on the SAT?

The SAT doesn’t test curriculum or general knowledge, but nor is it a simple IQ test. It’s a test of acquired skills like reading, numeracy, and problem-solving.

Intelligence is a key factor in a good SAT test score, but more so is preparation. It is essential for a student to hone their reading, writing, and numeracy skills as far as possible.

It is also vital that a student is prepped for the test and knows how to approach it tactfully. They should practice thoroughly to get their optimal score when the time comes.

The best way to get your teen ready for the test is to opt for SAT preparation classes. You are then utilizing professionals who have a wealth of knowledge of the SAT and years of experience in helping teens through it. 

How to choose a good SAT prep class?

When you search for an SAT prep provider, you are looking for an organization that can offer:

  • A proven track record in great SAT scores

Look for a prep class that is transparent about their scores. What percentage of students score at least 1400? This is the score you need to be competitive when applying for a good college. 

  • Comprehensive preparation and practice across all three papers 

The class should prepare your child for all sections, including the optional essay. They should be using up-to-date materials. They should also teach your child tactics for taking the test (i.e., time management, proofreading for errors, and more).

We offer preparation in three stages. The first stage is our classes in SAT skills in reading, writing, and mathematics in Dubai. The second stage is focused on exam practice. The final stage focuses on very specific feedback for each student.

  • A diagnostic test to provide focused support for your child

A diagnostic test will help pinpoint exactly where your child’s strengths lie and what aspects of the SAT they will need more help with. The class should also provide regular progress tests and good feedback on these. 

  • To go the extra mile

Look for a provider that’s clear in their commitment to helping your child get a score that they are satisfied with. They might do this by offering extra, free materials or by placing your child in a small class so that they get focused individual attention.

Finally, be assured that with the right preparation, your child can do really well on the SAT. It is nothing to fear if you invest time and effort in advance. This will put them on the path to securing the college place of their dreams.

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