What is the SAT?
The SAT (also known as the SAT I, or the SAT Reasoning Test) is the admissions exam required by most U.S. universities. Nine sections count toward the score: three sections each on reading, math and writing. One experimental section doesn’t count toward the student’s score. Students are not told which section number on the test is the experimental section.
Most of the test is multiple choice, except for a 25-minute essay (writing) and 10 math questions (grid-in questions), in which students must indicate a numerical answer from 0 to 9999.
When is the SAT offered?
The test is conducted in January, March (U.S. only), May, June, October, November and December. The March test is available only in the United States. The tests are generally conducted on the first Saturday of the month, except in January (the last Saturday). Sunday exams are offered under special circumstances.
When should I take the SAT?
Your Score Booster recommends taking your first SAT in May of 11th grade, as the May exam offers the Question & Answer service (see below).
Take your second SAT in October of your senior year. In case you don’t reach your goal, you can retake it in November. Despite College Board’s averages of minimal jumps from test to test, individual score changes can vary greatly from test to test. One of our students jumped from 2170 in October to 2300 in November, with substantial studying during that month.
Some athletes graduate high school and take the SAT even a couple of years after graduation. Your SAT score is valid for five years.
Isn’t the March SAT (in the States) easier than the others?
I get this question frequently. Lamentably, that exam is never actually released publicly. There’s no way to compare it with SAT exams from other dates in a methodical fashion. It’s not good enough to depend on anecdotal evidence from other students. College Board will say all the tests are standardized. But College Board’s SAT guide also offers this mendacity: “The SAT isn’t designed to trick you,” a statement any student will recognize as untruthful. The bottom line: Don’t choose your test date or location based on this unsubstantiated belief.
And I hope you learned some vocabulary from the above explanation:
- Anecdotal: based on personal evidence, and not necessarily reliable. It comes from anecdote, which is a short, personal story.
- Mendacity: untruthfulness. Did you already know that? Are you sure? Don’t be mendacious.
- Unsubstantiated: not supported or not proven by evidence. Think UN (not) SUBSTANCE — there’s no substance to it.
How many times should I take the SAT?
Two or three times, but no more than three times. For athletes, NCAA just requires you to reach your required score and isn’t concerned how many times you’ve taken the test. Universities, however, may scoff if you’ve taken the SAT too many times.
What about early admissions?
Take the SAT no later than October for the score to reach your university for early admissions.
How do I register?
Should I get the Question & Answer (Q&A) service?
Absolutely. With the Q&A service, College Board will give you a printout of your answers and a copy of your exam booklet, supposedly six weeks after the exam date but often two months after the test date in Canada. The Q&A service is available in January, May and October. If you don’t receive it after six weeks, you can call College Board and they’ll send you another one that will usually reach you faster than the original.
Don’t get the Q&A in October of 12th grade, if you’ll retake the test in November, as you’ll receive it too late. But it’s so inexpensive, that you might want to take the chance of getting Q&A if you’ll retake the test in December. You might — we emphasize might — receive it in time. Or if you’re curious about your question-by-question results, or if you have a younger sibling or friend who would like a copy of the exam, get the Q&A service even if it won’t help you personally.
Where should I take the SAT?
Take the test close to your home. You don’t want to travel far on test day. There are several locations to take it in Vancouver. The best option in Vancouver is York House School, but that location fills up quickly. By February, there may be no room for the May exam date. Dorset College is the second-best option. The worst location is Prince of Wales, which often has long lines and up to an hour-long wait just to get into the school on test day. But it accommodates the most students, so you may be stuck with it. In other cities, just one test centre may be available.
Do you teach all three sections of the test?
Yes, we provide students comprehensive workbooks on math, reading and writing. We teach students the curricular material, such as prime numbers, sequences, reading comprehension, sentence completion, grammar and essay writing. We also teach the tips and tricks of the SAT. Because we have analyzed every test, we can show students patterns on the SAT. Tutoring is customized to the student’s individualized needs. Classes include some customization as well. For example, we can give students quizzes designed specifically for the student’s shortcomings, offering video solutions for questions the student gets wrong.
Can student’s progress in between sessions?
Yes, we encourage students to progress in between classes. We offer our students access to our self-help section, with links to written solutions to all questions from the Official SAT Study Guide, and video solutions for math questions. Students who pay in advance for a minimum number of hours of tutoring tutoring also get access to a homework website, which allows students to get video solutions to all problems from our three comprehensive workbooks on math, reading and writing.
How do I get started with SAT preparation?
Contact us and let us know if you want classes or tutoring. For tutoring, you’ll need to book one to two weeks in advance most of the year, or a month in advance before the October or May exams.
What’s the benefit of having an SAT tutor or taking a class?
A Your Score Booster SAT tutor or SAT class can help you improve your knowledge of the material and teach you the tricks of the SAT. For all sections of the SAT, you’ll need to know some material that you probably didn’t learn in school. Furthermore, an SAT instructor or tutor can teach you to do SAT algebra questions without actually doing algebra, show you how to attack the SAT grammar questions, help you improve your SAT essay and teach you how to analyze the SAT reading passages. Instructors and tutors also can show you techniques to avoid making careless mistakes on the SAT. Finally, we can push you to study and monitor your progress on the SAT.
How long will SAT preparation take?
That depends on the following:
- Your score on an SAT diagnostic test (before you begin preparation)
- Your goal score
- Your strengths and weaknesses in math, writing and reading required on the SAT.
- Your time available for homework
- Your ability to take a standardized test
Do I get to choose my best mark?
Yes, partially, and No.
Yes: There is an option called Score Choice, which allows you to send universities tests from particular dates.
Partially: You can choose your best test dates, not your best section scores. College Board sends scores for all sections from the dates you pick. You cannot pick and choose your best scores on math, reading and writing individually.
No: But some schools don’t accept Score Choice, requiring you to send scores from all dates.
Should I use Score Choice?
You probably shouldn’t use Score Choice. (If you don’t know what Score Choice is, see previous question “Do I get to choose my best mark?”) Many schools, including Ivy League universities, look at all your tests and take the highest score from each section. So you are better off sending all test dates.
“For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest scores for each section – Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing — even if achieved in different sittings.”
From Harvard University:
“We consider a student’s best test scores.”
Yale University requires students to send all test dates for the SAT:
“An applicant’s testing history provides useful contextual information to the admissions committee. With a full testing history, the committee is able to look at a student’s highest officially reported score on each section of the SAT.”
Can I choose which sections of the SAT Reasoning Test I want to take?
No. You must take all sections of the SAT reasoning test (SAT I).
The subject tests are different from the SAT reasoning test. Subject tests focus on particular areas such as Spanish, Mandarin, math (levels 1 and 2), literature, and world history.
I’m Canadian. Can I take the SAT in the United States?
Yes. You may want do so if you cannot get a seat in Canada or want to take the test in March, when it is not offered in Canada. Register with your Canadian home address. If you live in the Lower Mainland, search for a test site in Bellingham, Washington (ZIP code 98225.)
Should I take the SAT to determine my pre-tutoring score?
No, don’t take the actual SAT before studying. You may need to take the SAT several times even after studying. But you don’t want too many official SAT scores reported to universities. Some admissions officers look down on students who took the SAT more than three times.
Your Score Booster offers diagnostic tests to students when they start preparation, during preparation and after preparation, so students can see their progress throughout the process.
How do I know what SAT scores a university requires?
Check out the school’s website. Search on About.com for free. Or visit U.S. News and World Report for detailed information about many universities and their median SAT scores. The site requires a subscription but offers a wealth of information.
Is the SAT score from a university the minimum score required to be accepted?
The SAT score you see is likely the midpoint, or median. Unfortunately, that means half of the students who were admitted to the university achieved a higher SAT score. Fortunately, it means half the students who were admitted achieved a lower SAT score. So it’s merely a gauge. Of course, the higher your SAT score is, the more likely you are to be admitted.
What SAT scores will I need for the NCAA?
Check out the Your Score Booster page on student-athletes. Those eligibility standards may differ from university requirements for the SAT. Check with potential universities for their requirements.
What sections does NCAA require?
NCAA looks at the critical reading and math sections. NCAA doesn’t require the writing section. Some universities, however, do require the writing section. If you don’t have to prepare for the writing section, you can save money on preparation. So check with universities that interest you to see if it’s required.
Can I skip the writing sections, as NCAA doesn’t require it?
If universities that interest you don’t require the writing section, which includes two multiple choice grammar sections and one essay, then you don’t have to study for it. But on test day, you can’t skip the writing sections, so you might as well do your best on it, even if you didn’t study for it.
Does Your Score Booster do online SAT tutoring?
In addition to in-person tutoring, I tutor students via the Internet anywhere in the world using GoToMeeting. Though rates for tutors with our experience might be $300 per hour to $500 per hour in New York, we’re based in Vancouver and charge far less. Online SAT tutoring is a good option if you don’t live in the Vancouver area. Please contact me using the form below.
How do I schedule sessions?
We cannot schedule sessions until after we have a score from an actual SAT or a diagnostic SAT. Contact us to take a diagnostic test. Once we have a score, we can arrange lessons, preferably the sames days and times each week. Student-athletes or others with busy schedules may schedule days and times that vary, but you must reserve lessons two weeks in advance.
How do I cancel or change a session?
What about vacations?
We encourage students to take relaxing vacations; it recharges them. If you have an upcoming vacation, please fill out an online form here or find the form under the “Students” tab. .
I have a learning disability. Do I get extra time?
Yes, you can get extra time. We’ve helped raise scores for numerous students with disabilities. Read more here about the SAT and disabilities.
So how do I get started with tutoring or classes?
Please contact Your Score Booster.