Sunday, November 16, 2014

The SAT: Everything You Need to Know


By Yuanyuan “Rebecca” Fang
Research Assistant, World Education Services

If you are thinking about applying to a college or university in the U.S. to pursue an undergraduate degree, then you should know about the SAT, because SAT test scores are among the key factors considered in U.S. college admission. Most colleges and universities require or highly recommend their applicants to submit SAT test scores, so getting a higher score will markedly increase your chances of acceptance and raise your odds to get college scholarships.

What is the SAT?

The SAT is the benchmark in terms of standardized assessment of critical reading, mathematical reasoning and writing skills, which is designed to assess local students’ along with international students’ academic preparedness and readiness for U.S colleges. In 2013, over 300,000 students took SAT tests at more than 1,000 international test centers in over 175 countries outside the U.S. (Source: College Board).



International test dates and registration deadlines for 2014/15:

Year
Month
Test Date
Registration Period
2014
November
8
October 2 – October 9, 2014
December
6
October 30 – November 6, 2014
2015
January
24
December 18 – December 29, 2014
February
No SAT examinations outside the U.S.
March
April
May
2
Mar 26, 2015 – April 6, 2015
June
6
April 30, 2015 – May 8, 2015

3 tips for international students’ SAT preparation & school selection:

1. Register early


Students in certain geographic locations have difficulty securing a spot for the SAT test especially in the fall of each year. So, register for the SAT early to guarantee your first choice for location.

2. Prepare early

International students, especially non-English speakers, should take as many timed and full-length practice SAT tests as possible. The SAT contains many American and English idioms and requires a large vocabulary, so cramming at the last minute doesn’t quite work for SAT preparation.

3. Research your school(s) of choice

Many U.S. colleges and universities share the range of SAT scores reported by their admitted students. This valuable information can allow you to research colleges that provide the best fit for you. The charts below show the range of the admitted students’ SAT scores (Critical Reading, Math, and Writing) in the Top 25 Most Popular Universities for International Students:


School
SAT Critical Reading
SAT Math
SAT Writing
25th Percentile
75th Percentile
25th Percentile
75th  Percentile
25th  Percentile
75th  Percentile
University of Southern California
620
720
660
760
640
750
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
560
670
700
780
580
670
New York University
620
720
630
740
640
730
Purdue University (Main Campus)
520
630
560
690
520
630
Columbia University
690
780
700
790
690
780
University of California - Los Angeles
560
680
600
760
590
710
Northeastern University
640
730
660
750
640
720
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 
620
720
660
760
630
730
Michigan State University
420
580
550
690
460
580
Ohio State University (Main Campus)
540
660
610
720
550
660
Indiana University -Bloomington
520
630
540
660
510
620
Penn State University (Main Campus)
530
630
560
670
540
640
Boston University
570
670
610
720
600
690
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
550
690
620
740
570
670
Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix
490
600
480
590
*
*
University of Florida
580
670
590
690
570
680
Harvard University
700
800
710
800
710
800
University of Washington - Seattle Campus
520
650
580
710
530
640
SUNY University at Buffalo
500
600
550
660
*
*
University of Texas at Austin
550
670
590
710
550
680
University of Pennsylvania
670
760
690
780
690
780
Texas A&M University - College Station
520
630
550
660
490
610
University of California - Berkeley
590
720
630
770
620
750
Georgia Institute of Technology
600
700
660
760
610
700
University of Houston
490
610
540
640
*
*
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Note: Data apply to first-time degree/certificate-seeking students in Fall 2013
           25th Percentile: 25% of students scored at or below
           75th Percentile: 25% of students scored above

           * Missing Data

Lastly, please keep in mind that if you take the SAT multiple times, many colleges and universities will consider the highest score achieved in each section. You should remain calm and try not to be overly anxious about the SAT. Though the SAT test is important, it’s only one of the components that are reviewed by the admissions committee. U.S. colleges and universities will place the test results in the appropriate context, particularly for international applicants. Along with your SAT score, your entire academic record will be taken into consideration.

Good luck!
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Other SAT Resources: 
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Rebecca is a Research Assistant for WES Research & Advisory Services at World Education Services. Rebecca’s research interests lie in both qualitative and quantitative research, primarily in the field of higher and international education. Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Agnes Scott College. Now, she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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