Most undergraduate programs in the US will require you to take the SAT I (we'll simply call it SAT from now on). The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a three-hour multiple-choice standardized examination. It essentially tests your verbal and quantitative skills. The SAT is written and administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Services) under the sponsorship of the College Entrance Examination Board (College Board). Both ETS and the College Board are private non-profit organizations based in the US.
Where do I obtain the Registration Form and the SAT Information Bulletin?
You can collect your free SAT Information Bulletin from the USEFI office located nearest to you. The Information Bulletin will contain the registration form. It will also contain information on the test centres located near you. ETS has appointed several testing agencies worldwide that act as franchisees for ETS. Your information bulletin will contain information on the Testing Agency in your country.
There are three common ways of registering for the SAT.
Mail: Once you've filled up the registration form you can mail it to the:
College Board SAT I
P.O. Box 6200
Princeton NJ 08541-6200
This is mainly for students who are paying the test fee through a draft, or money order or cheque. Or those who have opted for Sunday testing or wish to avail of the Services for Students with Disabilities Program.
Fax: Fill up the registration form and fax it to 001 609 683 1234. You will be required to pay an additional $5 as fee for registration by fax. Note that you will need to possess an international credit card to be able to register through fax.
Online: This is by far the easiest way to register for the SAT. Simply log on to www.sat.org and fill up the registration form online. You will be required to provide your credit card number.
What is the format of the SAT?
There are 7 sections on the SAT. Here is the break up of those 7 sections:
- Two 30-minute verbal sections
- Two 30-minute math sections
- One 15-minute verbal section
- One 15-minute math section
- One 30-minute math/verbal section (experimental)
As you may have seen, there will be one 30-minute math/verbal section, which will be experimental. This means that you will not be scored on this section. ETS uses these questions for its own research. However, it is difficult to understand which section is the experimental section, while you're taking the test. Therefore, it is suggested that you put in your best on all sections.
You may expect 3 types of questions on the verbal sections:
- Sentence completion questions (19 questions)
- Analogy questions (19 questions)
- Critical reading questions (40 questions)
Total number of questions will be 78.
What will there be in the math section?
You may expect 3 types of questions on the math sections:
- Regular multiple-choice math (35 questions)
- Quantitative comparisons (15 questions)
- Grid-ins (10 questions)
Total number of questions will be 60.
The SAT I is on a total score of 1600. There are 800 points in the math section and 800 in the English section.
Around four to five weeks after you take the SAT, ETS will send you your score report which will contain both your verbal and math score. Scores will be reported on a scale running between 200-800 points for each of the two sections. A score of 500 on any section is accepted as an average score.
SAT scores are always in multiples of 10. This means that your score will always have 0 at the end, for instance, 1100 or 1210 and not 1101 or 1211.
Your score report will also mention your percentile score. A percentile score tells you how well you did in relation to others taking the SAT. For instance, if percentile score is 78 it means that you fared better than 78% of the students who took that SAT.
How important is the SAT?
Your SAT score is an important part of the application process. Many colleges and universities will lay serious emphasis on your SAT score. However, it is not the most important thing also. Many universities lay considerable emphasis on factors like academic records, co-curricular activities, special interests and talents, the recommendation letters, essays, GPA etc.
Therefore, while it is advisable to put in your best effort in preparing for the SAT, you need not feel too disheartened if you don't score too well. You can make a strong application file by working on the other aspects of the application process as well.
How to Crack the SAT?
You must remember that no matter what anyone says, the SAT is not a measure of your intelligence. Most people tend to take it as that and think that a score of 800/800 means that the student is highly intelligent while a low score indicates that the student is not intelligent. This is not true. It is possible to do well on the SAT by adopting a systematic approach and practicing consistently.
To crack the SAT and do well on it, you don't actually need to work very hard but you must learn to work smartly. By organizing your study schedule and adopting certain techniques, almost anyone can do well on the SAT. So cheer up, take heart and start preparing and planning from today!
Reporting your SAT score
The Registration Bulletin, containing the Test Scheduling Form will allow you to list four universities where your SAT scores will be sent directly. The charges for this are included in the registration fee itself. If you would like to report your score to additional universities you will be required to pay $6.50 per university.
Canceling your SAT score:
There is a provision for you to cancel your SAT score. If you feel that you have done horribly on the test and that your score will be exceptionally low, you may cancel your score, at the test center itself, by requesting for a test score cancellation form. Remember you cannot get a part of your score cancelled. If you wish to cancel, your entire test score will be cancelled.
It is advisable not to cancel your test scores. For one, many test takers feel they've done miserably, when in reality they've done well. Besides, you will receive your percentile scores as well. So even if the test is harder than usual remember the scores of others will be low as well. A note of caution, never cancel your score on the same day as the test. This is because you're most likely to be extra nervous on the day of the exam and you don't want a hasty step to make you regret later. Take a day or two, consult your guidance counselor or anybody you can rely on and then decide.