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  Standardized Tests

SAT .

Scholastic Aptitude Test - SAT, is standardized tests formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Scholastic Assessment Tests, frequently used by colleges and universities in the United States to aid in the selection of incoming freshmen. The SAT is administered by the private, non-profit College Board, and is developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

SAT Subject Tests allow you to differentiate yourself in the college admission process or send a strong message regarding your readiness to study specific majors or programs in college. In conjunction with your other admission credentials (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a more complete picture of your academic background and interests.

Some colleges also use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses. Based on your performance on the test(s), you could potentially fulfill basic requirements or receive credit for introductory-level courses.

SAT SUBJECTS:

There are 20 SAT Subject Tests divided into five categories: English, history, mathematics, science and languages.

Here’s a complete list of all the Subject Tests:

English

  • Literature

History

  • U.S. History
  • World History

Mathematics

  • Mathematics Level 1
  • Mathematics Level 2

Science

  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Languages

  • Chinese with Listening
  • French
  • French with Listening
  • German
  • German with Listening
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese with Listening
  • Korean with Listening
  • Latin
  • JaSpanish
  • Spanish with Listening

Structure of SAT.

SAT consists of three major sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Each section receives a score on the scale of 200–800. All scores are multiples of 10. Total scores are calculated by adding up scores of the three sections. Each major section is divided into three parts. There are 10 sub-sections, including an additional 25-minute experimental or "equating" section that may be in any of the three major sections.

Critical Reading

The Critical Reading section of the SAT is made up of three scored sections: two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section, with varying types of questions, including sentence completions and questions about short and long reading passages. Critical Reading sections normally begin with 5 to 8 sentence completion questions; the remainders of the questions are focused on the reading passages. Sentence completions generally test the student's vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure and organization by requiring the student to select one or two words that best complete a given sentence. 

Mathematics

The Mathematics section of the SAT is widely known as the Quantitative Section or Calculation Section. The mathematics section consists of three scored sections. There are two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section, as follows:

  • One of the 25-minute sections is entirely multiple choice, with 20 questions.
  • The other 25-minute section contains 8 multiple choice questions and 10 grid-in questions. For grid-in questions, test-takers write the answer inside a grid on the answer sheet. Unlike multiple choice questions, there is no penalty for incorrect answers on grid-in questions because the test-taker is not limited to a few possible choices.
  • The 20-minute section is all multiple choices, with 16 questions.

The SAT has done away with quantitative comparison questions on the math section, leaving only questions with symbolic or numerical answers.

  • New topics include Algebra II and scatter plots. These recent changes have resulted in a shorter, more quantitative exam requiring higher level mathematics courses relative to the previous exam.

Writing

The writing portion of the SAT, based on but not directly comparable to the old SAT II subject test in writing (which in turn was developed from the old Test of Standard Written English (TSWE)), includes multiple choice questions and a brief essay. The essay sub score contributes about 28% to the total writing score, with the multiple choice questions contributing 70%. 

The multiple choice questions include error-identification questions, sentence-improvement questions, and paragraph-improvement questions. Error-identification and sentence-improvement questions test the student's knowledge of grammar, presenting an awkward or grammatically incorrect sentence; in the error identification section, the student must locate the word producing the source of the error or indicate that the sentence has no error, while the sentence improvement section requires the student to select an acceptable fix to the awkward sentence.

Most of the questions on the SAT, except for the essay and the grid-in math responses, are multiple choice; all multiple-choice questions have five answer choices, one of which is correct. The questions of each section of the same type are generally ordered by difficulty. However, an important exception exists: Questions that follow the long and short reading passages are organized chronologically, rather than by difficulty. Ten of the questions in one of the math sub-sections are not multiple choice. They instead require the test taker to bubble in a number in a four-column grid.

The questions are weighted equally. For each correct answer, one raw point is added. For each incorrect answer one quarter of a point is deducted. No points are deducted for incorrect math grid-in questions. This ensures that a student's mathematically expected gain from guessing is zero. The final score is derived from the raw score; the precise conversion chart varies between test administrations.

When to take SAT?

SAT Subject Tests are generally offered six times in any given school year. However, not all 20 tests are offered during every administration. You should note that the Language with Listening tests is only offered during the November administration.

SAT Subject Tests are generally offered six times in any given school year. However, not all 20 tests are offered during every administration. You should note that the Language with Listening tests is only offered during the November administration.

SAT Subject Tests are generally offered on the same dates that the SAT is offered. As administration of both the SAT and SAT Subject Tests are concurrent, students may not take both the SAT and SAT Subject Tests during the same administration.

If you are thinking about taking the SAT this year, allow about 3 months before your test date to get into training. For most of you, this will mean catching up on all that vocabulary that you never learned in school and brushing up on basic math skills. There are many books that will help you.

SAT Scores:

Students receive their online score reports approximately three weeks after test administration (six weeks for mailed, paper scores), with each section graded on a scale of 200–800 and two sub scores for the writing section: the essay score and the multiple choice sub score. In addition to their score, students receive their percentile (the percentage of other test takers with lower scores). The raw score, or the number of points gained from correct answers and lost from incorrect answers is also included.

 On a total score of 2400 (800 critical reading, 800 math, 800 writing)

  • a score of 1650-1800 is adequate for many colleges
  • a score of 1800-2100 is good
  • a score above 2100 should ensure that you have no problems for admission (if all else is in order!).

           

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