A Guide To The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

About the SAT

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities as a gauge to assess whether the student should be admitted to their college or not. The SAT is a multiple-choice test created and administered by the College Board.

The SAT is an essential tool for a college to evaluate the student’s scholastic aptitude and readiness for college when compared against their peers across the country. While the GPA represents a student’s academic standing within their own school and shows the average of the student’s overall process, given each school’s different standards and grading, it is hard to use GPA as an absolute value to compare students across different schools. This is why SAT is the go-to assessment tool of colleges when it comes to student admission to their campus.

Since SAT is standardized, it provides colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants across different schools. College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA, the courses you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, as well as personal essays. Needless to say, SAT scores are vital in the college application process.

In general, the higher you score on the SAT, the more options you would have in choosing the college that you can apply to.

Things You Need to Know About the SAT

A. SAT Format

This portion consists of 52 questions that could be answered in the span of 65 minutes. This is then followed by a 10-minute break.

This combined test comprises of 44 questions with 35 minutes time allotment.

This test is divided into two sessions: One wherein the use of calculators is not allowed, and another wherein calculators are allowed.

During the first session, students are given 20 questions that should be answered within 25 minutes without the use of calculators. After a 5-minute break, the second session of the math test will proceed. The students will be given 38 questions with a time allotment of 55 minutes. They will be allowed to use a calculator in answering this set of questions.

In total, the students will have to answer 154 questions in just 180 minutes. Needless to say, excellent time management is vital to accomplish the test as fast and as accurately as possible.

B. Changes to SAT

As of June 2021, the following changes were made in the SAT:

  • Combined reading and writing language scores. The two test domains would no longer be separate.
  • No penalty for guessing has been eliminated. Hence, the students cannot randomly guess the answer as there will be deductions for every question you answered wrong.
  • No more essay writing.

C. SAT Test Dates in 2021–2022

  • November 6, 2021
  • December 4, 2021
  • March 12, 2022
  • May 7, 2022
  • June 4, 2022

VSA Future’s Educational Seminar on SAT Preparedness

Last Saturday, October 2, 2021, VSA Future launched an educational seminar that tackles why the acing the SAT matters and how preparing for it could aid in children’s lifelong learning. During this session, the esteemed lecturers at VSA Future–Julia Guo, Patryk Zielonka, and Phoebe Rose–shared insights on the best learning habits, study strategies, as well as brilliant tips and tricks that would aid students in getting high SAT scores.

Common struggles of students when it comes to SAT:

  • Running out of time.
  • Completing the reading passages with enough time left.
  • Not being able to choose between two choices on the reading comprehension questions.
  • Struggling with drawing extra lines to answer geometry questions.
  • Practicing on their own.

The Logical SAT Approach: Passage Ownership and Copyediting in English

Patryk Zielonka–a state-certified English teacher with 8 years of experience–shared his insights on how to ace the Reading and Writing part of the SAT.

For Patryk, the best strategy to answer the test is to reconceptualize the questions into your own words. That way, you are taking charge of the material, and you are making sure that you have a better grasp and understanding of the material. When it comes to the writing part, he emphasizes the importance of concision, precision, and consistency in writing.

The Reading Section in the SAT tests the students’ comprehension as well as their ability to infer and synthesize data from reading passages from US or world literature (1), history and social studies (2), and science (2). The students would be asked to read five (5) passages and answer 52 questions in 65 minutes. That leaves the student with around 13 minutes per passage. There may be charts and graphs that the students will have to understand the question.

Patryk’s Technique (Reading Section):

  • Put notes in the margins.
  • Use your own symbol system to isolate key information for faster accessibility in case you need to go back and take a look at it when answering the questions. This technique saves time in looking for the relevant information.
  • Simultaneous learning and mastery to apply directly to the questions. Learn to filter out unnecessary information.
  • When browsing the questions, identify leading words and line references.
  • In the process of elimination, find a reason to expel the choice from the pool of choices, not to keep an answer a choice.
  • Isolate the key verbs to understand what is being asked.
  • Knock out paired questions at the same time.
  • When the correct answer emerges, pick it and move on quickly to save time.

Patryk’s Technique (Writing Section):

  • Be precise, concise, and consistent when writing.
  • Understand how “less is more” in communication.
  • Fill in grammar holes for a more confident foundation of knowledge.
  • Pay close attention to conjunctions, adverbs, and transitional phrases.
  • Pay attention to subject-verb agreement, dependent and independent clauses, as well as punctuations for enhancing clarity.

The Logical SAT Approach: Nurturing Unique Mathematical Minds

Phoebe Rose–a Mathematical Olympiad Winner and Mathematics coach–shared her techniques in acing the mathematical section of the SAT.

The SAT math test covers a range of math practices with emphasis on problem solving, modeling, using tools strategically, and using the algebraic structure. These three areas of math will play the biggest role in the wide range of college majors and careers:

  • Algebra: Focuses on mastery of linear equations and systems
  • Problem solving and data analysis: Ask for fluency in quantitative skills
  • Advanced Math: Requires manipulation of complex equations

The way Phoebe likes to teach math is through intuitive learning modules that emphasizes investigation and discovery. This way, the students will become experienced in extracting information and developing intuition for math. At VSA Future, we strike a balance between deductive and inductive methods of teaching.

The SAT Math Test

One of the most common mistakes students do when answering this portion of the exam is losing too much time doing math the formal way and making careless mistakes. Remember, you have to work as fast and as accurately as possible because you are allotted only 75 seconds per question.

In VSA Future’s SAT preparation program, we teach students proper time management and strategies on how to avoid careless mistakes, quickly know the answer, avoid trap choices, and study efficiently. We also provide them with self-tracking tips and exercises to practice on with difficulties ranging from easy to hard.

Ace Your SAT and Have the Freedom to Choose the School You Want!

Acing the SAT is a surefire way to enroll in your dream school. If you get high scores on this test, there is no doubt that the school you prefer would have no doubts admitting you to their program. Let our brilliant teachers at VSA Future help and guide you in attaining a high SAT score. Enroll in our program now!



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