After deciding to apply to US universities, your next step is to ensure you are registered and reading for one of the standardized tests required by most schools. The SAT, an American standardised test assessing your critical reasoning, critical reading, problem solving ability, and understanding of grammar conventions. Preparing for the SAT can be an insightful and beneficial process – but it can’t be rushed! Here is how to start:
1. Save the Date(s)!
In 2020-21, SAT international test dates will be offered in August, September, October, December, March, and May. SAT Subject Test international test dates will be offered in August, October, November, December, May, and June. We find that the vast majority of our students sit the SAT test three times to reach their goal score. You also want to sit the test ideally before you submit your Common Application through College Board. Are you entering Lower Sixth? This is a great time to begin your SAT journey! You might want to look at preparing to sit for the first time in December with second sittings in March and May. Are you going into Upper Sixth but have just decided to apply to the USA? We recommend signing up immediately for the September, October and December sittings.
By providing our students with proprietary SAT test prep materials, such as weekly full-length practice tests, we are able to improve a student’s result on the SAT by 166 points on average – with this improvement increasing even further for the top 25
2. How to Register
SAT Registration is fairly straight forward for this standardised test, and CollegeBoard has a set of easy-to-follow steps to register. Some important things to note:
- You have to register yourself – a parent/guardian or adviser cannot do it for you!
- The biographical information CollegeBoard asks for as part of the registration truly is optional – you can absolutely decide not to give any: universities will never know.
- Do sign up for multiple test dates! This is both for the optimal score and to ensure you have the best chance of actually sitting the exam: due to the COVID-19, some test centres have closed unexpectedly at the last minute and, even in test centres that were open, student registrations have been occasionally revoked to allow for social distancing. To give yourself the best chance of sitting the exam and having sufficient opportunity to excel, sign up for at least 3 sittings.
- Sign up early! Test centres, especially around London, often book up months in advance. If you want a centre in a location convenient to you, we recommend completing your SAT registration as soon as registration opens.
3. Developing a Preparation Plan
Now you have completed your SAT registration, you can develop your SAT practice strategy.
How does one earn a good SAT score? You can succeed with thorough consolidation of content, regular practice and thoughtful, intense reflection upon practice papers and timed drills. We encourage you to start by taking a practice SAT test under timed conditions. At A-List, we offer proctored practice tests that simulate test conditions with a score report and opportunity to reflect upon your diagnostic score with a member of our Academic Team.
Once you have your diagnostic score, you will have a great baseline from which to plan your preparation. What areas did you find most difficult? What kind of question was the trickiest to unpack? Sometimes this is obvious, sometimes it is more difficult to determine! Working with an experienced tutor can enhance and expediate the preparation. Our tutors use their in-depth knowledge of the test to first strengthen our students’ content knowledge. We also have developed trademark techniques that circumvent the trickiest test material, allowing our students to answer more questions, faster. Accuracy is key! And that’s exactly what our tutors help develop through a variety of drills and exercises to encourage mastery and lateral thinking.
If you have questions about our approach or would like to know how you can boost your SAT by working with us, a member of our Academic Team would be happy to offer you a free consultation.