With 15% of last year’s university acceptances coming from our southern neighbour, the SAT exam is part of many students’ preparation for post-secondary education. Most universities in the United States base a large part of their admissions choices on performance on this standardized test.
To help prepare students, Education Extension runs an SAT preparation course in the fall, since most students write the exam in November or December. SAT exams are offered about once every six weeks at nearby University of Victoria.
“Certain things about the test differ from the standard tests in high school,” says Education Extension Director Dawn Wilson. For example, students can do better by skipping questions they are unsure of than by guessing, as the SAT marking penalizes students one quarter of a mark for each wrong answer they give. “Things like that a student wouldn’t intuitively know, but it’s critical in getting a good score.”
The SAT exam underwent a huge change two years ago and it now focuses more on communication, with an added essay component, than on reasoning through analogies. “The SAT exam tests the students’ ability to communicate effectively,” says Ms. Wilson.
The SAT preparation began this past Sunday with a full practice examination. The next five sessions will focus on specific areas of the test, such as math and writing. Students can register for one or all of the sessions. Tomorrow’s session will focus on the reading component.
On Wednesday, all Grade 11 students wrote their practice SAT (PSAT) exam, a shortened version of the test that accurately predicts how well they will do on the full exam and helps identify weaker areas.