What Do We Do in Class?
What is the SAT?
The SAT is a standardized exam taken under significant time constraints by college-bound students. This exam is a critical component of the college application process. While there is much debate as to whether a single exam should be so important for college admissions, the fact remains that in the mean time, college bound students must do their best to prepare for the SAT and ACT exams.
- The SAT consists of English and Math sections
- The score range for each section is from 200 to 800
- English questions test either reading comprehension or grammar
- There are two math sections – one of which does not allow use of a calculator
- There is an optional essay (the only part of the exam where students synthesize their own thoughts)
The SAT: a different kind of exam
The SAT exam is very different from exams in school. In school, exams tend to be content-based: students are simply required to memorize facts and then reproduce them. The SAT exam is not content-based; rather it tests a unique set of critical thinking skills that are unlike the way students have been encouraged to think throughout their entire education. For this reason, the approach to the SAT must be radically different from the way students learn things in school. Rather than merely memorizing facts, students must:
- Learn to read actively, to retain selected information in a time-sensitive environment
- Learn to analyze intricate questions efficiently
- Apply math concepts (often learned several years earlier) in new ways
- Learn grammar rules that are not taught in most high schools
- Maintain attention and focus for an extended period of time
- Avoid careless mistakes on misleading questions
When can a student take the SAT?
The SAT is offered seven times each year: January, March, May, June, October, November, and December. It is customary for students to take the SAT exam for the first time during their junior year (January, March, May or June). After taking the exam once or twice as a junior, some students may take the SAT again in their senior year (October, November, or December). Each student’s individual circumstances determine whether and when it is appropriate to retake the test.
How many times can a student take the SAT?
There is no limit as to how many times a student may take the SAT. Typically, students take the exam 2 or 3 times to achieve their optimal scores.