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SAT Takers need to ask the Right Questions in Order to Get the Most Out Of Their Preparation for the Exam and Their Applications

SAT exam


How often should one take the SAT? What score ensures admission into the Ivies? What is the ranking of this school? Shouldn’t one take both SAT and ACT? My dream college is asking for scores of 2 Subject SATs. Should I take 5?

These are the most frequent queries school students ask in the process of preparing for the SAT test and then applying to colleges for undergraduate programs. Clearly the entire exercise is driven by a single objective – becoming part of a school that ‘ranks’ really high. Great. Of course it is a wonderful achievement to be at an Ivy college and the prerogative of every student. But will retaking the SAT and getting that ever elusive ‘perfect’ score ensure admission? As far as this score battle goes, it is hard to tell what score is good. It may sound out of a fairy tale but the truth is there have been students who were admitted to schools despite SAT scores below the school’s average score and others who had mind blowing figures in terms of scores but who were rejected. After all the months of relentless labor, sleepless nights and near insane routines for preparation a student may (and I insist ‘may’) actually nail the exam but not the admission.

Ideally two attempts at the SAT are sufficient to do what one wants with the test. After a hearty preparation that should include vocabulary sessions, reading practice and loads of grammar, math routines and full length tests timed to the second, a student is able to do a fine enough job of the test and score close to his best. At the same time, this attempt throws up for the test taker areas that can be improved on and so it is wise to take another attempt, with a gap of 1 or two months, to score higher. But believing that each attempt will scale the score up is like believing in magic! It is an exception not the rule. So SAT takers should avoid the folly of retaking the test again and again unless between each attempt the input has been humungous.

Once a student is ready with the SAT scores he has to embark on the next phase of the journey – the applications to colleges. Most students are not ready for this. Parents, peers, teachers and even acquaintances have really interesting tales (mostly hearsay) about colleges and invariably have only one piece of advice – go for the best! That ‘best,’ believe me is really inelastic and is actually synonymous to the ‘most’ heard of. So, going by this advice, all young aspirants seeking to study ‘abroad’ have really very few schools to choose from and have to fight it out to be at an MIT or a Cornell or an UPenn. Through the process of first studying and then applying students are conditioned to think only in terms of the highest score and the best colleges. Highest and best relative to whom? To gain from the whole effort every student should prepare to give his optimum and then apply to colleges that fit best with his profile. Not the other way around. Doctoring the resume, getting social work certificates and claiming to be a poet in a bid to fit your profile with that of the school’s requirements is foolhardy. Chances are the Admission Committee, with all its experience, will see through the charade; and if not, the student may secure an admission but that will be the beginning of the bigger problem – fitting in.

Always select colleges that offer platforms that suit you and will allow you to express yourself from the moment you walk through the portals of the institute. A high comfort feeling is the first condition for selecting colleges. And remember, the undergraduate programs, especially in the US, are more flexible that you can imagine; they allow you to change courses, restructure modules, and transfer to other colleges and what not. So start well, and you will end well.

Option Training Institute Dubai is replicating the efforts the institute put in for 12 years in India. As such the Institute is experienced and well versed with the reality of preparing students for the SAT. In the first phase of our course, our trainers focus on providing intensive training for the Writing and Math sections, sections on which a perfect, or near perfect score, of 780 + is very possible. In the second phase, our trainers impart rigorous training for the Critical Reading section and the Essay and simultaneously organize regular testing modules that allow the student to acquire the right testing skills.