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Useful tips to crack SAT 2012

September 29, 2011 15:14 IST

The Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is an entrance test that qualifies admission to undergraduate programmes in the US. A counsellor from Edge, a Mumbai-based counselling centre, presents a lowdown on the exam pattern and offers quick tips to aspirants.

Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT, as it is commonly known, is a standardised admission parameter for most of the colleges in the United States. It is an important test for all students aspiring to study in undergraduate programmes in the US. Here's what you need to know while preparing for the exam.

About SAT

The SAT essentially helps the colleges in US perceive how a student thinks and communicates. It assesses the candidate's literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in college.

It is conducted by the College Board, a New York-based non-profit membership association.

It consists of three major sections: critical reading, maths and writing.

You have exactly 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the SAT, are allotted a certain amount of time for each section and can choose to move to the next section if you finish early.

Most of the questions are multiple choice-based and carry equal marks. For each incorrect answer, ¼ of a point is deducted. There is no negative marking for unanswered questions.

In Multiple Choice Questions, there is no negative marking even for wrong answers. However, it is advised to make an educated guess, using the process of elimination.

Tips for aspirants

Eliminate all the choices that you know are wrong by making an educated guess. Since all questions carry the same number of points, don't spend a lot of time on questions that you find are difficult to solve. Later on, if you find time, you may come back to it.

The best way to prepare for SAT is to read extensively. Look for and read short texts on varied topics; you may find them in newspapers and magazines. Read about topics you are familiar with and also the ones that you haven't read before. Also read short stories.

When you are reading, look for words that have a root or history you already know. Think about how prefixes and suffixes work together. For instance, consider words such as exterior, exit, extrinsic.You can easily guess that extrinsic is remotely related to 'external' as it has ex as its prefix. Similarly, while reading, whenever you come across a word you don't know or a word that has more than one meaning/usage, find out if the words in the rest of the sentence can help you define it better. Use a dictionary!

Incorporate the newly leaned words in your everyday usage. You can collect a group of words with more or less the same meaning. It is easier to learn them as a group. Eg. entice, inveigle, allure. These are called synonyms.

What really helps you to do your best in SAT is to revise what you have already done in school and to find out how well you apply your knowledge and a lot of practice.

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Illustration: Dominic Xavier