Test Preparation

SAT

The SAT structure is as follows:

Sections Mathematics Critical Reading Writing
Time 70 minutes 70 minutes 60 minutes
Sections Two 25-min. sections One 20-min. section Two 25-min. sections One 20-min. section Multiple Choices - 35 min; Essays - 25min
Content Number & Operations; Algebra & Functions; Geometry; Statistics; Probability; Data Analysis Critical Reading; Reading Comprehension; Sentence Completion Grammar; Usage; Word Choice
Marks 800 800 800

SAT Scoring Methodology

Each section of the SAT (Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing) will be scored on a scale that ranges from 200-800 points giving a possible total of 2400. Two 'subscores' will also be reported, which are for the multiple-choice writing section (scored from 20-80), and an essay (scored from 2-12).

The first step in calculating the SAT score is to figure out the 'raw score' that is done by:

  • Adding points for correct answers.
  • Subtracting a fraction of a point for wrong answers.

Questions that a student does not answer do not count either for or against their score. Neither are points taken away for wrong answers on the math questions where the answers has to be entered into a grid. The raw score for each section is then converted into a scaled score. This is where the score of 200–800 points comes from, which is done through a statistical process called 'equating'.

Key points to bear in mind when taking the SAT:

  • Every incorrect answer will result in negative marking (1/4 marks per question).
  • Too much time is often taken up answering specific questions, especially, in the Critical Reading section, which results in loss of valuable time to attempt other questions.
  • The Critical Reading section is often seen as a challenge for students as it tests complicated language usage.

World Wide College  10 key insights into the SAT:

  1. In India, the SAT is offered in the months of January, May, June, October, November and December.
  2. The test is generally conducted on the first Saturday of the month (except in the month of January, when it is held on the last Saturday).
  3. Students have 3 hours and 45 minutes to take the SAT, not including breaks and check-in time.
  4. After taking the SAT, students may cancel their score up until the Wednesday after they have taken the exam.
  5. The best time to take the SAT is in class 11, or at the beginning of class 12, with at least six to eight months before the board exams commence.
  6. SAT scores are valid for five years.
  7. Students can take the test more than once to see if they can score better but they should only do so if they are confident that they can improve. Two to three times is the maximum recommended number of attempts.
  8. The essay question asks students to develop a point of view on an issue and support it with examples from what they have learned inside and outside of school. There is no right or wrong answer to the essay question. Students need not have previous knowledge of any particular subject to successfully answer the essay question.
  9. There is no definition of a 'good' SAT score. Generally speaking, scoring close to the mean (average) - about 500 on critical reading, 500 on mathematics and 500 on writing-shows that a student has scored as well as about half of the other students who have taken the test.
  10. Each college has its own way of using test scores and evaluating applicants. The SAT score reports sent to colleges include score ranges and percentiles that provide some context for how well a student has performed in the test.

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