Conquering the SAT
What is SAT?
The SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test is basically a standardized test for students that are interested in taking admission at US colleges and universities. The most important thing to note about this test is that it is owned by the College Board, a non-profit organization in the US. The College Board is of the opinion that SAT is a best medium to analyze whether a particular student is ready for a college or not.
The whole duration of SAT examination is three hours and forty-five minutes. However, most administrations, including materials distributions, biographical portions completion, orientation and more than ten minute of timed breaks, last for about four and a half hours. To appear in this examination, you need to spend $45. If you are not a US citizen, you need to spend $71.
With regard to SAT structure, you need to deal with three main sections: Mathematics, Critical Reading and Writing. For every section, you will get a score on the scale of 200–800. Keep in mind that all scores are multiples of 10. For calculating final scores, your performance in all the three sections will be taken into account. Each section in the SAT examination is divided into three portions. You need to solve ten sub-sections, which includes an additional twenty five minute equating portion. You will find this portion in any of the three main sections. The main objective of equating portion is to standardize questions for future SAT administrations. The scores of equating portion are not going to have any impact on your final SAT score.
You will find wide variety of questions in SAT examination ranging from easy, hard to medium. Of course, everything will be dependent on your skill level. If you lack depth in your academic knowledge, you are going to be badly exposed during the test. According to experts, simpler questions normally appear in the starting of the section while tougher questions are there in the final parts of sections.
The Critical Reading section comprises of three scored sections. It includes two 25-minute sections and one section of twenty minute. Be prepared to answer questions related to passages and sentence completions. The Critical Reading sections generally start with three to five sentence completion questions followed by passage oriented questions. To attain success in sentence completions questions, it is of paramount importance that you have a proper understanding of sentence structure.
The major chunk of the Critical Reading questions consists of questions related to reading passages. To solve these questions, you need to go through short excerpts on physical sciences, social sciences and humanities. There are few sections that include passages where you need to compare two related passages. Questions are set in such a way that it will test your command over language.
The Mathematics section is commonly known as the Quantitative Section. It includes three scored sections, pretty much similar to Critical Reading section. Out of three scored sections, one section is made up of twenty multiple choice questions. In second section, you need to solve eight multiple choice questions and ten grid-in questions. There is no penalty attached with grid-in questions. Last section is of twenty minute duration and you need to solve sixteen multiple choice questions.
Before you start preparing for Mathematics section of SAT, keep in mind that you are not going to get any quantitative comparison questions. Therefore, all your focus should be on questions with numerical or symbolic answers. The syllabus of Mathematics section includes scatter plots, trigonometry and algebra.
With some modifications being made to the syllabus of Mathematics section, you need to save time. This has led to the use of calculator programs by many students. The main benefit of these programs is that it helps students in solving problems more quickly. Ideally, you should go for a graphing calculator. With graphing calculator, you can solve geometry questions easily.
For the writing section of SAT examination, you need to solve multiple choice questions as well as write a brief essay. As a matter of fact, essay subscore offers more than twenty five percent towards the complete writing score. On the other hand, multiple choice questions contribute more than 70 percent. With regard to multiple choice questions, you need to solve paragraph improvement questions, sentence improvement questions and error identification questions. To write an essay, you will be given twenty five minutes.
1- To clear your SAT examination, you need to have a good fundamental knowledge of various mathematical concepts.
Tackling this challenge: To tackle this challenge, opt for SAT preparation courses. By doing this, you are going to get a detailed overview of fractions, equations, quantitative comparison and geometry related problems.
2- To taste success in your SAT examination, you need to increase your concentration level.
Tackling this challenge: “Studying for four to five hours at a stretch is not easy. Indulge yourself in extracurricular activities. Take a break of ten minutes in between. This will not only increase your energy level but also refresh your mind,” said Yousuf Kamal who cleared SAT last year.
3- Verbal section is one section where you can lose plenty of marks if you are not careful.
Tackling this challenge: “To get good score in verbal section, students need to have good vocabulary. Also, they need to practice sentence completion and answering analogy,” pointed out Ritesh Vishkarma of Infozee offering SAT preparation courses in India.
4- Writing essay is never easy especially if your knowledge of current affairs is pretty limited.
Tackling this challenge: Make sure that you read newspapers and magazines on a daily basis. This will help you in making opinion on topics that are in trend.
1- When solving critical reading section, keep in mind that every single answer choice in the passage related questions comes directly from the text. That’s why, you should never make inferences.
2- Instead of solving difficult questions first, focus on easy ones.
3- Check out the pattern of past SAT examinations.