In the year 2020, the entire world was reeling under the corona pandemic. The college admissions process too was no different. Most of the colleges made the SAT scores optional for admissions. Remember, the colleges never said they do not need the scores, but if a student chose to send the SAT scores, it would still be considered. The same story has been repeated for the Fall 2021 admissions. But, it makes sense to take up the SAT because the colleges are still likely to use these scores for evaluating other skills such as English Language skills.
Let us, therefore, look into some of the important test-taking skills.
If you are in 10th or 11th grade and looking forward to taking the test, this is the right time to start. You might be caught up with your academics and application processes during the 12th grade. Also, there may be a need to repeat the test if you have not received your target score. Hence, allocate time for these during your prep.
Do I enroll for SAT Prep? And what materials should I follow? – This can be decided only when you take an SAT mock test. This can be an official SAT test or a mock test from a leading organization. This test will help you prioritize your preparation. You can opt for private coaching or an SAT online prep for safety reasons. Make sure that the course you are taking will teach you the right strategies and approaches that will ensure that you will see good score improvements. Beyond the classes, your trainers should clear your doubts, review your tests, and give you a study plan after the course completes. If you plan to prepare for the test on your own, buy standardized SAT books. The practice content and the tests should match with the actual SAT questions in content and complexity.
Once you have decided on how to prepare, look at the university websites and figure out the requirements for the course you are interested in. Your target score should be more than the 50th percentile requirement of the college so that you are on the safer side. You need to take a lot of sat exam mock tests before the actual test. You need to set goals for each of these tests and prepare accordingly. These tests will also ensure that you are able to time yourself and complete the test. Review every test to figure out where you are weak. Work on those areas before the next practice test. A word of caution if you are taking the SAT mock test online. SAT is a paper-pencil test. Therefore, get a few question papers printed out for practice.
What should I do on the day before the test?- Just like you cannot have six-packs by working for a day, even on the SAT no last-minute cramming will help you reach your target. On the day before the test, brush up on the strategies, math formulae, and grammar rules. This should not take more than an hour or two. No new concepts to be learnt. Pack the essentials for the test day – Admission card, valid Photo id (Aadhar or Passport), sharp #2 pencils (sharpen them on both the ends as it saves time and mechanical pencils are a taboo), eraser, and a recommended Calculator to be used in the last section. The latest addendum to this list are the masks, sanitizers, and wipes to ensure your safety. Relax your mind by hanging with your friends or watching a movie. Get a good night’s sleep that should last for at least 8 hours. Remember you have a big day ahead.
What should I do on the day of the test? – Get a decent protein-rich breakfast as you need the energy to sustain the three-hour test. Carry an extra layer of clothing if need be. Plan to reach the test center before time. Even if you are caught in a traffic snare or any unanticipated problem, you should still be able to reach the center on time. Once you reach the test center, there are certain protocols to be followed such as getting your body temperature checked and filling in Covid related questionnaire. The mask should be worn during the entire test. Any deviation from these protocols by the students can lead to the cancellation of test scores.
Visit https://pages.collegeboard.org/sat-covid-19-updates for more information.
While a little bit of anxiety can help you to remain alert, too much panicking can hamper your performance. Time is of the essence on SAT. So don’t waste too much time on a harder question. Either guess or leave it for the end. Plan to complete the test. There is no negative marking. So it is advisable to spend the last minute or two to complete the section by guessing on questions that were not answered. Shade the answers after every 5 questions or say after completing the page. This will help you avoid making mistakes. Also, what if you plan to shade all the answers at the end and you run out of time? Keep the scantron sheet neat. Fill the bubbles with #2 pencils and there should be no extraneous marks lest it should lead to the wrong marking of the answer by the machine. Use the breaks wisely to freshen yourself. Avoid talking with your friends or classmates during the breaks. Carry fruits, chocolates or energy drinks to be consumed during the break.
Check your testing center’s status often – Due to the pandemic situation, the test centers may plan to either cancel, reschedule, or reduce the seating capacity. College Board urges the centers to update these details as soon as possible to reduce unnecessary pressure on the students. You will get an email if there is such a change.
Visit https://pages.collegeboard.org/sat/test-center-capacity-update for updated details about the test center availability.
Make the right decision when it comes to sending the scores- If you have a score of say 1500 and the school that you are looking for asks for an average score of 1450 (and optional too), do send your scores to that college. On the other hand, if your score is less than the average requirement (optional too), but your other credentials are good, you might avoid sending the score lest it should hurt your admission process
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and take an SAT online practice test to start your prep.
Familiarize yourself with the question types you will be asked. The concepts tested are from high school math. The problem lies in the way these concepts are tested. Practice SAT-like questions in timed scenarios to improve your score.
Put yourself in the shoes of the speaker/ author to figure out what is being said. Try to get the bigger picture rather than delving into the details provided. See if there is a paired passage. In that case, you might have to compare and contrast both passages.
SAT is offered multiple times in a year. The pandemic situation has affected the administration of the test in 2020 and 2021. So, grab the opportunity you have at hand and try to get the test done in one attempt. Multiple attempts are not impossible but difficult to come by.
Both the reading and writing and language sections have passages that come with charts or graphs. You may see a question or two related to these graphs. To answer them, first, read and understand what the graph is trying to say. Do not try to memorize the information given there. Try to eliminate answers that cannot be supported by the graph.
Avoid visiting the test center if you are sick. You can reschedule your appointment for a later date when the test is happening for free of cost. If you choose to cancel the test, you will get a full refund. Contact Customer Service between test day and the next business day (Monday, 5 p.m. ET) to make this request. This can be done using the College Board account. For more info, pls visit this site.
Coronavirus Updates for Students Taking the SAT | College Board
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