Saturday 7 AM: Time for the SAT!

Welcome to the 2nd post in the series, University Musings. 

This weekend I have helped to administer the final “old” style SAT at KIS, a group of our G11 students as well as some G12 were present last Saturday from about 7.30 until 1PM in order to sit for the most widely taken US university entrance test.

Over the past 18 months I guess I must have run about 11 or 12 similar tests and watched students from Bangkok, the rest of Thailand as well as far afield as Korea and China take these tests, quite often leaving nervous parents sitting outside for the full 4 hours chewing on fingernails and constantly looking at their watches.

Here at KIS we want our students to succeed and, in order to help them, we have introduced this academic year a situation where all students from G9 to G11 take the PSAT, (Preliminary SAT) which we hope will give them an insight into what the real SAT will be like when they finally come to take it.

October of

G9, G10 and G11

Following January

The School pays for all the above student to sit the PSAT test. School receives the results and sends them out to students and parents. This will be followed by information meetings for students and parents with the University Counsellor.

The PSAT is an excellent way of introducing students to the world of standardized testing. There is certainly a correlation between the scores that students score in these tests and the scores that they will eventually score in their actual SAT tests. More importantly though the PSAT results also come together with explanatory notes which will suggest strategies which students can use to improve their performance in the tests.

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

May

Jun

G12

G12

G11/12

G11/12

G11

G11

The table above gives a suggested progression for students undertaking the IB Diploma. I always suggest that G11 student’s leave the October and November administrations out of their plans as this is a very busy time for them at the beginning of their diploma, indeed even December may be too early. However, this still leaves them with May and June of G11 plus the first three sittings in G12 to make sure that they get the scores that they require.

There are a few things which need to be said about the SAT and its little brother the ACT (which we also administer): It is not for everyone, we have had students who have done exceptionally well in the IB Diploma yet bombed the SAT and Vice Versa. The SAT is a means to an end but it is not the only way to get to university. UK Universities take very little, if any, note of the SAT and there are many universities even in the USA where the tests are optional.

Some students spend hours and thousands of Baht attending SAT lessons outside of school, this is, obviously the students prerogative but just a word of caution. The SAT has no set syllabus so therefore there are only little “tricks” such as learning how to read quickly or reading the questions before reading the passage which might help the student the “new” Sat which we will administer in May for the first time promises to be based more on what is taught at school, if this is true then hopefully everyone will benefit and the need for external providers will diminish.

We shall see.

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