SATs - A Guide

SATs - A Guide
By WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
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What are SATs?
The SAT is one of two admissions tests (the ACT being the other) required for admission to U.S. universities.

Not to be confused with?
Those used to assess the attainment of children attending maintained schools in England/UK curriculum schools. These are primarily for 7 and 11 year olds - and nothing whatsoever to do with U.S. university applications.

US universities? Is that a big market for the UAE?
Very. Probably only the United Kingdom gets more students from the Emirates. If you/your child wants to go to an American institution, they should be aware, and preparing for the SATs.

If I have good grades at school, why do I need to take the SATs as well?
For U.S. universities SATs are an essential, and additional (i.e. not replacement), component to getting into the university of your choice. The advantage of something like SATs for universities is that the test is standard, and devised around their needs.

Can I take SATs in the UAE?
Yes you can. The following are test centers in the UAE. A quick search on Google and you should also find companies that also specialise in teaching you how to take the exam.

Test Center
Abu Dhabi International School
Al Adhwa Private School
Al Khaleej National School
Al Maarifa Private School
Al Nadha National School, Boys Campus
Al Sanawbar School
American College of Dubai
American Community School
American International School
Arab Unity School
Dubai International Academy
Dubai International School
Dubai Modern School, Nad al Sheba
Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi
Choueifat
Nibras International School
Our Own English High School
Ruwais Private School
Sharjah International School

Some UAE resources/prep schools - note, we do not endorse these schools:
SATs Zone - go here
Princeton Review ME - Go here
The Dubai Tutor - Go here

What are the dates to register and take the exams?
You can find the latest international dates here.

What am I tested on?
The primary test is the SAT Reasoning Test. This is a three hour and 45 minute test comprised of three sections: Critical Reading, Maths (Math for our American friends), and Writing.

An example Maths question: A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. There are 100 seniors, 150 juniors, and 200 sophomores who applied. Each senior's name is placed in the lottery 3 times; each junior's name, 2 times; and each sophomore's name, 1 time. What is the probability that a senior's name will be chosen?

Answers: (A) 1 over 8, (B) 2 over 9, (C) 2 over 7, (D) 3 over 8, (E) 1 over 2.

Answer at the bottom of the page.* (Source: College Board)

Some universities will also require 2-3 SAT Subject Tests which are one-hour, multiple-choice tests.

Those universities asking for subject tests in general will not specify which Subject Tests you should take - so you can play to your strengths.

How can I find out what a university wants?
Universities will list their requirements for applications on their Web site.

What is a good SAT (Reasoning) score?
That depends on the colleges you are considering. 1800 on the SAT may be above average at one university, and is certainly above the U.S. country average, but it may not be enough at a more selective school.

The national average for the SAT is 1500. An above average grade will get you through many doors, but a 1600 will not be anywhere near enough for an Ivy League university. Basically, the higher your score, the more university doors are unlocked.

We found the following helpful:

An excellent score (Harvard, Yale) is above a 2250, especially if you are above a 700 in both math and verbal.
A very good score (Villanova, William and Mary) is above a 2000, with a 650 in math and verbal.
A good score (SUNY Geneseo, American) is above an 1800, with a 600 in math and verbal.
A respectable score (most top state schools) is above a 1500, with a 500 in math and verbal.
A mediocre score (lesser state schools and 2 year colleges) is around a 1200, with 400 in math and verbal.

What happens if I don't get the score I need?
Take the test again. Most people, if they work hard, will improve their test scores if they take it a second (or third) time. The college you are applying to does not need to know how many times you have taken the test.

If I got above the minimum threshold I think I need for the university I want is there any reason to take the test again?
Maybe... Getting above the average for a particular university does not mean you will get in. If you think you can increase your score substantially, there may be a reason to take it a second time. A good SAT or ACT score may also help with scholarship applications...

What is the cost?
You can find all of the costs for international registration here... Extra tuition is, clearly, another matter entirely.

* Maths answer: D. To determine the probability that a senior's name will be chosen, you must determine the total number of seniors' names that are in the lottery and divide this number by the total number of names in the lottery. Since each senior's name is placed in the lottery 3 times, there are 3 times 100 = 300 seniors' names. Likewise, there are 2 times 150 = 300 juniors' names and 1 times 200 = 200 sophomores' names in the lottery. The probability that a senior's name will be chosen is 300 over (300 + 300 + 200) = 300 over 800 = 3 over 8.

For more questions, go here...

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