Saturday, June 6, 2020

5 Things Every High School Student Needs to Know About the SAT’s.

April 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Education, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( The SAT is a standardized test utilized by colleges and universities to determine an applicant’s readiness for post-high school education. The SAT is a key component of the application process. Your score will be the baseline by which potential colleges or universities will compare you to other applicants.

Admissions officers use SAT scores in conjunction with several other determining factors (such as GPA, essays, etc.) when making decisions regarding admission. The higher your SAT score, the more desirable you will be to academic institutions. For these reasons, it is vital that you allow plenty of time to prepare and study for the test.

In this article, you will learn what is on the SAT, how to study and prepare, what to expect on test day as well as how to understand your score.

1. What is on the SAT

The SAT focuses on general academic knowledge and comprehension. The exam consists of two main sections that include math and evidence-based reading and writing. There is also an optional essay portion of the exam. However, this counts as a separate score.

Specific colleges and universities may require completion of the essay portion, while others may not. To determine if this applies to your intended school of choice, visit their website, or contact the school’s admission’s office for a list of their guidelines and requirements for applying.

2. How to Study and Prepare for the SAT

Adequate preparation for the SAT is as important as the test itself. Failing to properly prepare yourself can lead to a low score, and a possible need to retake the exam in order to qualify for the school of your choice. This process should begin as far in advance as possible to allow enough time to be ready.

Step one of your preparation should be familiarizing yourself with the exam. You can achieve this by taking SAT practice tests. These are readily available online, and are a great way to gauge your competencies, as well as your deficiencies. Here are a few additional tips to help you prepare:

  • Set aside dedicated study time: Allocating specific time (outside of your current coursework) for dedicated SAT study can be very beneficial. Once you have completed a practice test, you’ll know what areas you need to focus on over other portions of the test.
  • Find a tutor: A tutor can help to refine your study methods, and assist you in becoming more disciplined in your habits. Finding a tutor who has recently taken the SAT’s themselves is also helpful, as they are familiar with the exam.
  • Utilize SAT prep apps: Having study guides and practice exams instantly accessible from anywhere, at any time, eliminates any excuses you may have for being unprepared to take the exam. SAT prep apps can help you track your progress and remind you when it is time to study.

It is also important to know the dates when you can take the SAT as well as what the deadline is to sign up to take the test. There is a $46 fee to take the SAT ($60 if you take the essay portion, as well), but many high schools have programs to assist students with covering the cost of the exam.

Be sure to consult your guidance counselor to see what assistance may be available to you. You can check out the 2021 SAT test dates and start to plan when you want to register for the test.

3. What to Expect on Test Day

The doors to the testing area will open fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time. Do not be late! If you are late, you will not be able to enter the testing center once the SAT has begun. If you are late or absent, you will have to reschedule. Here is what will happen next:

  • Do not sit down! The testing coordinator will assign you a seat.
  • Instructions will be read aloud. You may ask questions at this time. However, the testing coordinator cannot answer any questions regarding the content of the test.
  • The test coordinator will tell you when to start working, and when to stop.
  • You need to complete each section of the test in order. You cannot jump ahead or go back to a section once you have moved past it. And make sure not to skip any parts. If you do, the testing administrators can cancel your results. A wrong answer is better than simply, not answering.
  • You will have one 10 minute break, and one 5 minute break during the test. This is the only time you may eat, drink, or use the bathroom. However, you need to remember that you cannot turn on your cell phones during break periods.
  • When the testing period is over, the test coordinator will collect all exam booklets, and dismiss you from the testing area.

4. What Does Your Score Mean

The SAT is scored from 0 to 1600, with the two main sections worth 800 points each. (Remember, your essay portion of the test will have a separate score.) The average score obtained in the US is 1060. Individual colleges and universities have a minimum score expectation for acceptance. There are also numerous scholarships and grants which you may be eligible for if your score meets their eligibility requirements. The higher your score, the more options you will have available to you.

5. How Many Times Can You Take the SAT

There is no restriction on how many times you can take the SAT. However, only the scores from your last six attempts remain on file. If you are unhappy with your results, you can undoubtedly reregister to retake the test. But keep in mind that if you haven’t seen a substantial improvement by your second or third attempt, you probably won’t with your fourth. Admissions officers will see multiple attempts, but this is not something you need to worry about. Many students take the SAT more than once, and it is much more typical than you may realize.

Some colleges and universities will even use your “super score” when reviewing your application for admission. This is where they will use your best score from each of the two main sections, whether those scores were achieved on the same attempt or not.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Take the Test Again

You may need to take the SAT at least twice. It is not a test to be taken lightly, as it has significant implications towards your post-high school education. A few points higher or lower can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. It can also have a substantial impact on what is quite often much needed financial aid. Make sure you are protecting your future by studying hard for the SAT so you can achieve your highest score.

Staff Writer; Mark Barker


One Response to “5 Things Every High School Student Needs to Know About the SAT’s.”
  1. Hi,

    My name is Nicolette Piaubert, CEO and founder of Gab-Nic Excelsior Nursing Tutoring Center. I love this article entitled “5 Things Every High School Student Needs to Know About the SAT’s”, as a RN and an educator myself, it is very important for a student to prepare himself for the SAT exam and it is a way to measure student’s academic knowledge and comprehension. Of course failing to properly prepare for the exam will result to a low score, and we don’t want that to happen.

    In line with this, I have created an online course dedicated to helping students understand their learning styles and what studying techniques that will fit to them. I’ve written a book that is in the process of publishing entitled, “A Fail Proof Success Plan: 13 Steps to 100” that focuses on how one can study in order to get exceptional grades in order to obtain ones desired career. I would love to have a deeper conversation about this with you and figure out a possible solution, you may contact me at or at 917-602-9927. Looking forward to connect with you. 
    Nicolette Piaubert 

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