What Is The SAT?
The SAT is a standardized test used in the U.S. for admission into college. The point of the SAT is to find a way to measure a student’s ability in certain subjects among reading, writing, and mathematics. Founded in 1926 by the College Board, the SAT was made for high school students that were planning on entering college after graduation and was a way to better determine a student’s current knowledge skills.
Why Do Boulder & Denver-Based Students Need To Take It?
Why do you have to take it? Unfortunately, some states like Colorado have laws that every student must take the exam whether they have plans to attend college or not. These states include:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
As a student living in Arvada or Erie, the SAT must be taken. In other states, there is a choice to take it, however, if entry into a university is desired, SAT or ACT scores must be submitted. Don’t be afraid! Instead, get a step ahead and become proficient in each subject and overall format of the test. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to do well and let Mindfish enlighten you on what to expect on the SAT.
What Content Should Students Expect To See On The SAT?
The average Colorado SAT covers evidence-based reading, writing, and mathematics subjects over a period of 3 hours with an optional essay question for another 50 minutes. This extensive test is broken down into a few sections with short breaks in between.
Section 1: Evidence-Based SAT Reading
The first section of the SAT exam starts with reading where you will have 65 minutes to answer fifty-two questions. The reading portion of the test measures three specific skills: command of evidence, words in context, and analysis in history/social studies and science. Each of these primary skills is present to test the student’s ability to identify helpful evidence and clues to guide them through the passage resulting in answering the question correctly. While locating information is important, it is key for Denver & Boulder-based students to be able to examine hypotheses, interpret data, and consider implications.
As for what type of questions are going to be on the SAT exam, it’s pretty straight-forward. It includes multiple-choice questions based on reading passages and sometimes charts or images.
Section 2: Evidence-Based SAT Writing & Language
Section two of the SAT covers writing and language communication skills while measuring five specific skill areas. Including the same three primary skills from the reading portion of the test, the writing and language section also tests the expression of ideas and standard English conventions. The expression of ideas asks the student about the impact of the exam and how well it is organized. The standard of English conventions wants students from Louisville and Superior to use their grammar skills to edit words, clauses, sentences, and punctuation.
In 35 minutes, a student must answer 44 multiple choice passage-based prompts similar to the first reading section. These SAT passages range from being word specific to answer the questions while others may have to use the entirety of the passage while searching for clues. The variations in each question are supposed to further test a student’s capabilities among different levels.
Section 3: Mathematics
For the math portion of the SAT, the student will have 80 minutes to complete 58 questions. The first 55 minutes of this section will allow students from the nearby Lakewood and Littleton areas to use calculators while the remaining 25 minutes, calculators are prohibited. Questions range from algebra and problem-solving to advanced math and precalculus. Expect to see additional topics such as geometry and trigonometry as well. Because there are so many topics to cover in mathematics, the SAT must test students on a majority of each subject.
Most of the questions on the mathematics portion are multiple-choice with an exception of four “grid-on” questions for each present subsection. For grid-on questions, Englewood-based students are expected to fill in their own answers. There are no options given.
Section 4: Optional Essay
The essay question that appears as the final section of the SAT exam is optional, meaning you do not have to answer it. Keep in mind that some colleges require this essay question to be answered. Do research on the college you are applying to and confirm if you must answer it or not.
For this essay, the student will be asked to read a passage and identify how the author builds an argument to persuade a specific audience. To answer the question properly, the student should support their findings with evidence from the passage. The essay is fact-based which indicates that there are no opinions or personal experiences asked of the students to share. Be prepared to answer questions based on culture, arts, sciences, civics, or politics. The SAT scorekeepers are looking for students to demonstrate an understanding of reading, writing, and analysis. By proving that you understand the key concept of the essay question and supporting your answer with the correct evidence, you are bound the pass with flying colors.
How Is The SAT Scored?
An important point to note in Colorado when reviewing your final score is that it is scaled. The score you receive is not a percentage of how many questions you got correct. The scoring system uses a scale from 400 to 1600 using 10-point increments with each individual section scoring between 200 and 800. The raw score is converted to a scaled score using a specially made SAT scoring system. Because the essay at the end is optional, it is counted as a separate score and does not affect your grade in the first three sections. As mentioned earlier, the essay question is scored off of three primary skills: reading, writing, and analysis. Each skill is scored from 2-8 with a maximum overall score of 24.
The SAT scoring system may sound extensive, and that’s because there are variations in each test throughout the U.S. and this system ensures that no matter which version is taken, that the scores represent your educational abilities. With the thousands of applications, colleges have it easier when it comes time to make admission decisions.
Now that we’ve discussed how the SAT is scored, how do you know if you received a good score? As of 2019, the average score is about 1059 out of 1600. A strong score is defined as anything above the average; however, it is really up to the college you are applying to. Each university decides on the required score for acceptance. Our Mindfish test prep students are guaranteed to receive acceptance into at least one of their dream schools.
Why Do Colleges Need My Test Scores?
Colleges like to see SAT scores for multiple reasons. It gives them an easier way to view a student’s readiness for college as well as determine acceptance offers between students. By comparing test scores, the admissions office can decide which students are more suitable than others. If you are accepted into a school, your test scores can further be used for placement purposes when it comes time to register for college courses. As a freshman entering college, it is nice to know that you will be in classes at the appropriate level. Colleges even use your test scores to determine financial aid and scholarship awards. Another reason why your best foot forward with a Mindfish tutor is invaluable when it comes to SAT test prep!
The Right Time To Take It, How To Apply, And Costs
High school students approaching junior year in Lone Tree and Parker, CO should take the exam before the end of the Fall season. By taking the test as early as possible, students will have more chances to retake it later in hopes of earning a higher score. Most students who take the SAT, take it more than once.
Registering for the SAT is the easy part that must be done online. Visit the College Board website and register there using your assigned login information. Once you’ve found your way to the register page, you will be asked to either pay a testing fee of $49.50 for the exam or $64.50 for the exam with an optional essay. Fortunately, fee waivers for low-income families of students are available upon request from guidance counselors. Some states even pay for students’ SAT exams including:
- New Hampshire
- New Hampshire
- Washington, D.C
Start SAT Test Prep Today With Mindfish
Having thoughts of the SAT swarming a high school students’ mind can feel unbearable. Get ahead of the game and begin test prep as early as your sophomore year. At Mindfish, our certified test prep tutors know the ins and outs of the SAT exam to help you see better results and higher scores.
First, decide which test if right for you, SAT or ACT. While the ACT offers more science and math-related questions, the SAT may be better for students who feel they are stronger in reading and writing rather than science. Take a mock test and discover if it is right for you. Mindfish offers an array of studying techniques and with help from our expert instructors, you can build a personal curriculum to best suit your academic needs. Set a goal because it sets the road to high motivation for a student to do the best job they possibly can. Finally, create an action plan and stick with it. Make a schedule for yourself and follow it each day. When testing time comes around, you will be set and ready to soar.