Most of the top universities in the U.S. require the applicant to take a standardized admissions test, in this case the SAT. Standing for School Aptitude Test defined on Abbreviationfinder.org, the SAT is the test most used as a college entrance exam; approximately 1.4 million students take it each year.
This is a 3 hour and 45 minute test that measures a student’s critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and writing skills. That is to say, it does not measure the ability to memorize a lot of information but rather the reasoning ability of the applicants.
According to Topschoolsintheusa.com, the test is divided into three sections (critical reading, mathematics, and writing) and each section receives a score between 200 to 800.
Parts that make up the exam:
A) Writing: 60 minutes.
Grammar, usage and diction. Multiple choice questions (score 70%) + short writing (score 30%).
B) Mathematics:70 minutes.
Numbers and operations; algebra and functions; geometry; statistics; probability, and data analysis. Three subsections: two, 25 minutes long, and another, 20 minutes long (multiple choice questions).
C) Critical reading:70 minutes.
Critical reading, comprehension / vocabulary test. Three sub-sections: two, 25 minutes, and another, 20 minutes.
Since the SAT is a staple in the college admissions process, it is important to prepare well for a high score. The SAT score is valid for five years.
How to prepare for the SAT test?
Our site has at your disposal the SAT course in group or individual modalities. This month you can measure your current SAT level by taking a diagnostic test with us. This free exam will measure your level, give you an approximate score and specific recommendations within the areas of the exam in which you should focus your study. Check bridgat for more about SAT exams.
Yesterday was a historic day for the US university world, because the SAT aptitude test was carried out in its previous form for the last time. From March 2016, the test, which is required at around 80 percent of US universities for admission to a bachelor’s degree, will be offered in a completely revised version – as the so-called “Redesigned SAT” (or SAT). So if you still have old preparation books at home, you can safely dispose of them, because the new test has been changed so much that the old materials are no longer usable. Thankfully, for the first time, the College Board is making extensive free prep materials available. More on that below. So what’s new about the new SAT, and why has the test changed so fundamentally in the first place?
Criticism of the old SAT
The changes are a reaction to the ongoing criticism that the SAT in its previous version has drawn from almost all sides – students, parents, teachers, universities. The test claims to use language and mathematical tasks to measure the general intellectual ability for a course of study. It is therefore not a specific knowledge that is tested, but rather cognitive abilities. However, perhaps precisely because the questions had so far had little to do with the specific school lesson content, the SAT was considered by many to be unpredictable and even treacherous because some questions were intentionally formulated in an ambiguous manner. There was also a quarter point deduction for wrong answers, so that willingness to take risks and tactical behavior also played a role.
The test was also notorious for the many obscure vocabulary that no student uses in normal life, but which one had to know in order to fill in relatively incoherently short gaps in the text (“mellifluous”, “lugubrious”, “avuncular”, etc.). If you wanted to achieve a good score, you had to do extensive preparation alongside school, which was at the expense of learning in school. It should actually be the case that students who get along well with the subject matter need not fear a study aptitude test. And then there is the question of equal opportunities, because students from families who can spend a lot of money on professional test preparation have a clear advantage over less wealthy strata (often especially ethnic minorities).
There were therefore massive doubts as to whether the SAT really says anything about academic aptitude or rather about the education and income of the parents. More and more US universities have therefore moved away from the SAT and other tick tests in recent years, with the (plausible) reason that school grades are much more meaningful in this respect – which has also been proven by numerous studies. The makers of the SAT (the College Board) have now sat down with critics, pundits and stakeholders to collectively improve the test. And that’s what I think has worked out. The crucial shift in direction is that the assignments and questions in the new SAT are now much more closely linked to what American students study and learn in their classrooms on a daily basis.
It depends on the content
The Redesigned SAT, which will be held for the first time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on May 7, 2016, lasts 3 hours and consists of three long parts (in this order): reading comprehension (Reading, 65 min.), linguistic expression (Writing and Language, 35 min.) and Mathematics (80 min.). A fourth part (essay) is optional, but is probably expected by several US universities. Another 50 minutes are planned for the essay, which increases the total duration to almost four hours. For the points, the old scale of a maximum of 1,600 points has been returned; the essay will be graded separately. Essentially, the test has been changed in eight points compared to the previous SAT:
- Relevant Words in Context:Instead of asking for exotic vocabulary that you either know or don’t know, the focus is now on words that will be important in your studies and work and whose exact meaning largely depends on the context in which they occur.
- Command of Evidence:The new SAT is always about justifying why an answer is right or wrong, i.e. looking for evidence in the text that supports an assertion or statement. Just as one would do in a discussion or text analysis.
- Essay Analyzing a Source:The essay has also been fundamentally changed. Instead of taking a position on a given question (“Are school uniforms useful? Justify your opinion”), the point is now to analyze a source, eg a speech by Martin Luther King. How does he argue to persuade his listeners, what evidence does he cite, and what rhetorical devices does he use?
- Focus on Math that Matters Most:So far, the math tasks have come from many different areas, now the test focuses on three core areas that are most important for study and work. At the SAT they are called “Heart of Algebra”, “Problem Solving and Data Analysis” and “Passport to Advanced Math”. So it goes more in depth than in breadth; Geometry questions, for example, have been greatly reduced compared to the old test. Instead, the questions are now harder and the math result accounts for 50% of the total score. So if you are unfamiliar with math, you may be better advised to take the ACT test.
- Problems Grounded in Real-World Contexts:Unlike before, the tasks now have more to do with “real life”, ie with the kind of problems you deal with in your studies and work. Instead of having to find the grammatical error in individual, isolated sentences, for example, it is now a matter of revising longer, coherent text passages linguistically and stylistically, as in real life.
- Analysis in History/Social Studies and in Science:In terms of content, many texts and math problems now deal mainly with topics from the fields of history, social sciences and natural sciences. It is not about factual knowledge, but about the application of analysis and problem-solving techniques that you learn in these subjects.
- US Founding Documents and the Great Global Conversation: From now on, the reading comprehension section always contains an excerpt from one of the founding documents of the USA (e.g. Declaration of Independence, Constitution) or another philosophical or literary classic of the history of political ideas. That sounds like a disadvantage for foreign applicants, but it doesn’t have to be that way, because knowledge of US history is not expected – after all, it’s just another reading comprehension text.
- No penalty for wrong answers:In the new SAT, there are no longer points deducted for incorrect answers. You can and should definitely guess if you don’t know the answer. Since there are now only four answers to choose from in multiple choice, the probability of being correct with the guessed answer has even increased!
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