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MAR 16, 2020 • 6 min read
Want to study at a university in the US, but not sure how to get there? For starters, you will have to register for the SAT.
The SAT is one of two standardised tests you can sit in order to apply to US universities. The alternative exam is the ACT, but is typically lesser known.
The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities in the US to make admissions decisions. The purpose of the SAT is to measure a student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants.
The SAT exam consists of four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math with calculator, and Math no calculator. There’s also an optional essay section. All of the sections (minus the essay) are multiple choice and each section features at least one graph or table.
Most US universities suggest taking the exam in Year 11. This gives you plenty of time to receive your score before beginning your application.
The easiest way to apply for the SAT is to register online via the College Board website. You will need to create a free profile before registering.
There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, mathematics and science. See the subjects.
Each Subject Test is an hour long. They are all multiple-choice and scored on a 200–800 scale. The test measures your knowledge of subjects on a high school level. The best way to prepare is to take the relevant courses and work hard in them.
Sign up to create a new account and fill in all required information. If you are registering from outside the US, you will notice your postal code doesn’t work in the section shown below.
Complete this section, checking the boxes pictured above to avoid any confusion when scheduling a testing location.
After creating a username and password (be sure to record this for future reference), filling in your address, and listing your parent information, create the account.
Don’t panic when you come across the questions about your coursework, particularly if the choices don’t align exactly with what you’ve done at school. It’s not essential to the registration process.
A common challenge is the CollegeBoard website requiring school name and code (CEEB) which can be annoying if they don’t have your school on their database or you’re homeschooled. But luckily, there’s a simple work around! Just follow these steps:
The SAT is offered internationally in October, December, March, and May.
When choosing a registration date, be sure to select a time that is convenient for you as well as a location you can easily access.
Below are the anticipated International SAT administration dates for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 years ahead. Keep these dates in mind if you are planning to take the SATs in the next two years.
SAT Date Subject Test?
October 5, 2019 Yes
December 7, 2019 Yes
March 14, 2020 No
May 2, 2020 Yes
August 29, 2020 (not offered internationally) Yes*
*October 3, 2020 Yes
December 5, 2020 Yes
sMarch 13, 2021 No
May 8, 2021 Yes
You can reference this link for testing centres in your area. Just select a test date and then select your country. You can also include the city to narrow your search to the closest testing centers.
You’re all registered to take the SAT, but how should you prepare?
In order to do well and feel confident on SAT test day it’s recommended you start studying at least six months in advance. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure that your preparation will actually increase your score. There are many ways you can prepare for the SAT including: creating a study schedule, setting realistic goals, studying with friends, tracking your mistakes, and figuring out your strengths and weaknesses.
Crimson SAT tutoring is also a great service that works because it’s completely customised to you. You start by taking the Crimson SAT Diagnostic Test which will gauge your current level of ability and identify the specific areas you need to work on. This enables us to match you with the most appropriate tutor - one whose biggest strengths are your weaknesses.
Our tutors scored top marks on the SAT and are now studying at the most competitive US universities - and they’ll help you do the same!
Tutoring sessions are tailored to your ability level and your individual learning plan is designed to enhance fundamental reading, writing and maths skills where necessary as well as SAT “test-specific” skills.
Learn more on Crimson’s website!
It takes about three weeks for College Board to grade your exam and post your score online. The College Board will publish exact expectations of when the score will be released.
A good SAT score depends on which university you wish to attend. Most top universities, such as the Ivy Leagues, look for students whose scores range between 1410 and 1600, out of the maximum 1600.
Keep in mind that US universities place a lot of emphasis on other application factors, such as extracurricular activities, so a perfect score won’t necessarily get you in (but it does help).
Additionally, not all universities have such high SAT score requirements. The average SAT score is between 1050 and 1060.
If you are planning to study at a specific US college, be sure to check the university’s SAT requirements before taking the exam, to ensure you’ll score high enough to be considered for admission!