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A Comprehensive Overview of the SAT Exams for Vietnamese Students


With the global study-abroad scene becoming increasingly inclusive of students from different academic backgrounds and interests, the need for certain academic requirements to be met for admission into a foreign university or college has heightened. These can be achieved by clearing competitive international entrance exams. Furthermore, doing well on these exams can also help you win scholarships and other forms of financial aid. SAT is one such international entrance exam that is required to secure admission to Undergraduate programs in the United States and Canada.

The full form of SAT is Scholastic Assessment Test, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The purpose of the test is to evaluate written, verbal, and mathematical skills.

Well, if you have been wondering what exactly the SAT exam is and how to go about taking one, wonder no more! In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about the SAT exam. 

What is the SAT exam and why is it important?

SAT scores are important for many reasons. Most colleges and universities in the United States require applicants to submit SAT scores as part of the admissions process. Secondly, many schools offer scholarships and financial aid opportunities based on SAT scores. In a nutshell, high SAT scores can give you a competitive edge when applying to college.

Types of SAT exams

The SAT exams can be broadly classified into two types: SAT1 and SAT 2. SAT 1 is a general test that evaluates candidates' abilities in written, verbal, and mathematical skills.

In contrast, the SAT 2 is a more subject-focused test. The areas of study for these exams include mathematics, sciences, English, history and languages. In recent years, the United States has stopped offering the Subject Tests – only a limited number of colleges still recommend or require them for international students now. 

What is the eligibility criteria for the SAT exam?

There are no specific eligibility requirements for the SAT exam, but it is generally taken by international students seeking admission to undergraduate programs. Every year a good number of Vietnamese students take up SAT to give a boost to their applications to the US and Canada universities. The average age of those who take the SAT exam is 17-19 years old, and the results are accepted by many colleges and universities in the USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand

Criteria for SAT Details
Eligibility There have been no fixed criteria introduced yet.
Age Limit The SAT exams have no age limit, so candidates of any age can take the exams without worrying about whether age will be a factor.
Educational Qualification There are no specific educational requirements. In fact, those who wish to pursue a degree can start preparing for this exam during their high school years.
Frequency SAT exams have no set limit on the number of times a candidate can take them. However, it is generally advised that candidates take the exam at least twice before finishing high school. This gives them the best chance to succeed.

How to register for the SAT exam in 2023?

Important points to be noted for a successful SAT exam registration and completion process:

1) Candidates get three options to register for the SAT exam: online, by mail, or by phone.

2) Registration for the SAT exam is open all year long, however candidates must reserve their upcoming SAT entrance exam dates in accordance with their convenience and the slots that are available at the individual testing centres.

3) Candidates will be required to pay extra fees for modifications made, such as changing the test date or registering later.

4) Additionally, candidates who missed the cutoff date can apply for a waitlist.

5) Since there are only a few days available for the SAT exams, it is advised that candidates first determine whether their chosen college requires the SAT exams or whether they are optional. 

Recommended article:

Here are the upcoming SAT Dates (2023)

SAT Dates 2023 Deadline for Registration
Mar 11, 2023 Feb 24, 2023
May 6, 2023 Apr 21, 2023
June 3, 2023 May 19, 2023

*the SAT dates 2023 are tentative 

What is the syllabus for the SAT exam?

SAT Reading Syllabus

The SAT Reading Test is a tool used to evaluate a candidate's skill in reading comprehension. The SAT Reading syllabus has five passages that tests a candidate's ability to evaluate, synthesise, and use evidence that can be derived from a variety of sources by using texts from science, history/social studies, and fiction.

SAT Writing Syllabus

The SAT Writing and Language section assesses a candidate's command of language, grammar, and punctuation. Given that the SAT is an exam for high school students, it tests the candidate on few principles of grammar and standards too. Questions about error detection, error correction, style, tone, word choice, paragraph transitions, passage structure, and passage coherence are posed in various rounds of the writing section.

SAT Mathematics Syllabus

The SAT Math section includes arithmetics and covers maths from Grades six through ten. Geometry, statistics, algebra, and fundamental trigonometry, to name a few. Aside from those things, there are also additional Maths ideas like quadratic and exponential functions, geometric and trigonometric ideas, and complex numbers.

The most important thing to remember in this section is that one part of the math test allows calculator use, but the other part does not. Therefore, it is advised to pay attention to this and carefully read each question.

SAT Essay

Even though the SAT Essay part is optional, many universities still demand high scores from applicants. A candidate's reading, writing, and analytical abilities are assessed on the SAT Essay. Each candidate is given 50 minutes to develop an argument after reading a passage that is between 650 and 750 words long. It's crucial to highlight that the candidates shouldn't express their personal opinions. 

What is the pattern of the SAT exam?

There are two main sections in the SAT: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW), and Maths. Each section is scored out of 800 points. In addition, many colleges and universities require applicants to submit an SAT Essay score as part of their application process. This essay is optional, but scored on a 2-8 scale 

Number of Sections 4 (2 EBRW: 2 Maths)
Duration of Exam 180 minutes (without Essay)
Language of Paper English
Mode of Examination Pen & Paper
Negative Marking None
Number of Questions 154
Score Range 400 - 1600

How are SAT scores calculated?

Your total score on the SAT exam consists of two section scores, which are each worth a maximum of 800 points. When added together, these scores will give you your total score on a scale from 400 to 1600. But what exactly are these sectional scores based on?

Each sectional score is calculated based on your performance in specific areas of Maths and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Your sectional score can range anywhere from 200 to 800 points.

In addition to your sectional scores, you will also receive subscores for each type of question asked in both sections of Math and Reading/Writing. These subscores are given on a scale from 1 to 15 and provide extra insight into how well you did overall in each section. 

Easy Tips to prepare for SAT 2023

SAT preparation generally takes three months on average. However, with SAT coaching, candidates can work to shore up their weaknesses through regular training and practice sessions. Furthermore, to help candidates gain a better understanding of what the SAT exam is all about, it is important to have a clear study plan that includes reviewing numerous past SAT exam question papers. This is especially beneficial for first time-takers, as it can give them an idea of what to expect from the exam. For retakers, solving previous year papers can help in identifying and improving upon their weak areas.

There are many different ways to prepare for the SAT exam. You can take classes, hire a tutor, or study on your own. Whichever method you choose, it is important that you thoroughly understand all the sections of the test.

One way to ensure that you are prepared for the SAT is by taking practice tests. This will help you get familiar with the format of the exam and the types of questions that will be asked. 

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