The job market is continually evolving, with new skills becoming in demand. For many people, a college education from a topnotch school holds the key to success later on in life.
And to get accepted into a good college or university, you need to have a good SAT score.
But why does your SAT score matter at all?
The importance of a good SAT score
High school students take the SAT, which is a standardized test. The results of this test are then used by colleges and universities in screening applicants.
SAT scores matter for two critical reasons:
1. Tertiary schools use an applicant’s score in the SAT to evaluate him against other applicants, including those coming from other countries.
All of these applicants come from different backgrounds, including the curricula they have taken as well as the extracurricular activities they have participated in. But if there is one thing that they have in common, that would be taking the SAT.
For the people responsible for screening college applicants, SAT scores represent a more accurate picture of your academic capability and readiness for the challenges of college life. For them, SAT scores can provide a more in-depth insight into your academic ability compared to your grades.
In some instances, colleges and universities give more weight to SAT scores over grades. That means that high SAT scores can compensate for average grades.
But it is not just college applicants who benefit from attaining stellar marks from the SAT.
2. Colleges and universities also benefit from accepting applicants with high SAT scores.
This is because a successful applicant’s SAT score is added to an institution’s annual SAT statistics.
Annually, top universities publish a profile of their new students. This profile contains the average SAT scores of the students accepted by a tertiary school. But instead of computing for the average rating, these profiles give the 25th and 75th percentiles.
For colleges and universities, and even prospective applicants and the general public, the 25th and 75th percentile can be seen as the barometer of an institution’s selectivity. This means that schools that have a higher range are perceived to be more competitive.
When people look at a school’s competitiveness, there are numerous factors that are taken into account. But from the general public’s viewpoint, the SAT range and ranking of an institution’s students often take the lion’s share.
But what does this all mean if you are applying for a college?
For a college applicant, this simply means that you should strive to get an SAT score that is within the average SAT score of applicants that have been successfully admitted to the school of your choice. Admission officers look for a specific range of scores in the applicants they accept.
How to improve your SAT scores
Now that you have learned the importance of getting high marks from the SAT, the next important question to ask is: How do you improve your chances of getting a good score?
Here are a few tips that can help you with your SAT preparation.
Set a target score
As with any goal, setting a specific target will give you something concrete to strive for. Perhaps you would like to get a particular score to improve your chances of admission to your dream university. Or maybe you want to get a scholarship, and you need to meet a specific score to become eligible.
The best way to get started is to make a shortlist of colleges and universities that you want to apply to. From there, look at the published range of SAT scores from these institutions. This will give you a fair idea of what SAT score to target.
Broaden your vocabulary
Having an extensive vocabulary increases your chance of getting a high SAT score. And the best way to learn new words is to read more.
Apart from reading, it would help if you looked at practice exams and previous SATs. This will help you identify certain words that you might know. Furthermore, there are words that are recycled from previous SATs.
Become a voracious reader
Apart from helping build your vocabulary, reading will allow you to learn new concepts and ideas that may not have been discussed in the classroom or in the STEM seasonal camps you attend.
Start with the books that you like and newspapers. From there, you can move to non-fiction works.
Complement your reading with writing. Hone your writing and critical thinking skills by writing a review for the books you finish, even for just a few paragraphs.
Invest in study materials
Many bookstores devote a section solely for SAT preparation. Take advantage of these to supplement your preparations.
Set aside time at least once a week to take a practice SAT exam. Apart from helping you assess where you currently are, practice tests can give you confidence and allow you to get a feel of how the exam is structured.
Give yourself ample time to prepare for the exam. Reviewing and taking practicing exams with just a few weeks or days left before the actual SAT will put you under undue stress.
Start reviewing and practicing as soon as you possibly can and maintain a good pace. This will help you taper off properly in the days leading to the exam and reduce your anxiety, knowing that you have done your preparations.
Preparing for any exam can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone.
With your college education and your future at stake, taking the SAT can leave you feeling stressed.
As such, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Study hard, but remember to relax, take care of yourself, and take time to enjoy yourself with your friends.
Your score matters
Although admissions officers look at different factors when deciding whether a college applicant is admitted, your SAT score carries considerable weight. Remember, you are competing with other applicants for a limited number of slots. As such, you should take every opportunity that will help bolster your chance of getting to the institution you dream of studying in.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.