The SAT test assesses the student’s readiness to enter a college. According to the College Board, this test determines the literacy of the student and their ability to write, without which you will not go to a college. It is believed that the combination of the results of the certificate from the school and the SAT test better show how successful the student will be in a college. In addition, SAT is often used to assess the knowledge of gifted students.
The passing of the test takes 3 hours 45 minutes. SAT consists of three sections – mathematics, analytical reading, and writing of an SAT essay format. SAT is assessed on a scale from 600 to 2,400. Each of the three sections has 800 points. All sections of the SAT test, except for essays, are evaluated by a machine. The essays are evaluated by the teachers.
Students with the best results of SAT can receive a scholarship, which partially covers the cost of studying in college.
Most SAT questions (except for essays and some questions of the mathematical section) are built on the principle of multiple choice. There are five answers in such questions, only one of which is correct. Questions are evaluated equally – for each question, you can get one point. For wrong answers, a quarter of a point is taken. For incorrect answers in grid-in tasks of the mathematical section, scores are not taken.
It is believed that you can guess the answers to the SAT test questions but the guess must be based on something – you need to know why this or that variant of the answer is wrong.
In the US, the SAT test can be taken seven times a year – in October, November, December, January, March/April, May, and June. In November, December, May, and June, this test usually happens on the first Saturday of the month. In other countries, SAT is taken at the same time intervals, except for March/April.
If you want to take the test, you can register in three ways:
- On the College Board website
- By email
- By phone
It is necessary to register not later than three weeks before the day of test.
In addition to the basic test, students can subscribe to specialized SAT Subject Tests. It may be necessary for admission to a profile college. If a student changes their mind to pass a specialized test, they may simply not take it. If a student decides to take the extra specialized tests, they will then have to pay the cost of it, otherwise the College Board will not give them the results. Money for the test is not returned.
The basic SAT Reasoning Test costs US $49. In other countries, except for India and Pakistan, you can take it for $78. For each specialized test, you need to pay $11.
Structure of the SAT Test
The SAT test includes three sections:
- Analytical Reading
- Writing of an SAT essay format
Each section of the SAT test is divided into three parts. In total, there are 10 subsections in the test: three for each plus one experimental (it is used to test questions for the future). The results of the experimental section are not evaluated but it cannot simply be skipped: the students do not know which section is experimental.
Questions in SAT come in different categories:
Most often, you will find the easiest questions at the beginning of the test, then the further, the harder. Although not the whole test is built from simple to complex: there are exceptions, for example, in the Critical Reading section.
This section has both questions on multiple choice, and essays. The essay has about 30% of all points of the section.
Questions for multiple choice are the following:
- Finding of a mistake in a sentence
- Correction of sentences
- Correction of the text
Here, the student’s knowledge in the field of grammar, vocabulary, and text structuring is determined. In tasks to correct the text, you need to read a poorly written essay and answer questions about how to correct it.
To write an SAT essay format, you will have 25 minutes. The essay is written in accordance with a specific task. The questions of these tasks are common, often on reflection. This is done in order to equalize the difference in knowledge and experience of students. In an essay, you will need to write, for example, about the value of technology in human life or about the negative consequences of environmental pollution. The structure of the essay is not regulated, personal observations are allowed.
The essay is assessed by two teachers (each assesses it on a scale from 1 to 6). Here, you can also get zero points in the following cases:
- Your essay is missing
- It is written not according to one of the given topics
- It is written in another language
- It has an illegible handwriting
- It is written not with a pencil, but with a pen
In general, for an essay that meets the basic requirements, you can get from 2 to 12 points. In the event that the assessors’ estimates vary too much, the third person is invited.
Why Do You Need to Write an Essay in SAT?
Many students are very frightened when they learn that for the SAT test, you need to write an essay in 25 minutes. Perhaps, they just are not used to writing essays or do not know how to quickly collect their thoughts, or they are afraid that they will not be able to say anything on the topic of the essay, or simply they had great difficulties writing essays in school. However, you do not need to be afraid of the essay.
Writing an essay in SAT test is required because this way students can show their ability to use written English and express thoughts on paper. This is a necessary skill, and it will come in handy not only to get a high score in SAT. Look at any job offer and you will see that excellent command of written and spoken language is required everywhere. The earlier you start to learn to write well, the better it will affect your future.
Assignment in SAT Essays
Some are especially worried about assignments of the SAT essays because any topic can be there. This is not quite true – the tasks in this test are the most common ones to give the same chance for different students. Asking too specific questions or requiring knowledge based on extensive experience would be unfair. By the way, College Board always publishes a list of topics for the essay from the last SAT test. For example, they might be the following:
- What is more important – constancy or the ability to adapt to circumstances? Write an expanded essay on this topic. Argument your point of view by giving examples from books, textbooks, life experiences, or observations.
- Is it useful for a person to be in a team or a group? Is being in a group prevent a person from following their own point of view? Write an essay on this topic augmenting your point of view by giving examples.
- Does society give too much importance to comfort? Write an essay on the topic and provide your arguments about this issue.
- Do consumers have to buy only from companies/people who benefit?
As you can see, these topics are very general. You just need to express an opinion on the issue. When you write an SAT essay format, you can structure it using the following formula:
- Introduction – here you explain your position on the issue.
- The first argument in favor of your position.
- The second argument in favor of your position.
- The third argument in favor of your position.
- Conclusions – connecting all the arguments.
Your essay’s plan should look like this – just substitute your own arguments and position them so that they could confirm your idea. This formula is useful for any SAT test essay. It will only be necessary to make sure that the paragraphs in your text are related to each other, the vocabulary is sufficiently advanced, the sentences are complex in structure, and that the text takes two pages. If you try, you can get a high score.
Tips for Students on Writing an SAT Essay
The arguments of those accessing your essay will be based on the following:
- Evidence. One must understand how the author uses data and facts to support the main argument. Highlight the different types of data: research figures, polls, statements of reputable people, and understand why the author gives exactly these examples.
- Reasoning, developing ideas. Analyze how the author draws conclusions from the data and repels the data, building the arguments.
- Stylistic or exhortative elements. Point to certain rhetorical techniques that reinforce the argument and connect the author with the reader. Common examples are the choice of words, hyperbole, metaphors, rhetorical questions, and emotional appeals.
- Your essay can match a certain format. The answer to the essay can be a standard 5-paragraph response sample essay, for each question on the essay you can respond in the same format, focusing on the argument and how the author backs it up.
- Avoid personal judgment. Fragments of texts will sometimes be borrowed from modern literature with a clearly stated point of view. Your goal is to analyze how the author builds a reasoned series, without describing your own position on this issue.