SAT Test

Many homeschool students take the SAT before applying for college. The SAT Reasoning test is designed to assess the knowledge and reasoning skills of prospective undergraduates. The test has three components: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. In every version of the exam, the Writing test is administered first. There are two parts to this section of the exam: a series of multiple-choice questions and a short essay. In the multiple-choice questions, you will be asked to improve sentences and identify errors of grammar and syntax. In the essay section, you will be asked to develop a short logical response to a general prompt. The next section of the SAT is the Critical Reading section. It is composed entirely of three types of multiple-choice questions: reading comprehension, sentence completion, and critical reading. One infamous part of the SAT Critical Reading section, analogies, has been removed permanently.

Finally, the Mathematics section of the SAT is composed of two different kinds of questions: multiple-choice questions and written response questions. In a written response question, students will be required to produce their own answer. The subjects covered in the Mathematics section include number operations, algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, and data analysis. Specifically, students will be required to understand and solve problems in the following areas: absolute value; rational equations and inequalities; radical equations; integer and rational exponents; diverse and inverse variation; function notation; domain and range; graphs and equations of linear functions; and graphs and equations of quadratic functions. Students will also be required to solve problems based on tables and charts. There may be problems that require estimation. Students will be allowed to use a four-function, graphing, or scientific calculator on this section of the exam.

Receiving Your SAT Scores

Here is some advice for homeschool students regarding the SAT test.

The College Board strives to make receiving your SAT scores as quick and accurate as possible. A score report will be posted on the Internet about three weeks after you take the exam. Approximately a month after you take the exam, you will receive an official printed score report in the mail. This is the version of the exam score that will be mailed to all the pertinent college admission departments. In the Critical Reading and Math sections of the exam, you will receive a scaled score from 200 to 800. For the essay, you will receive a score from 2 to 12. On the multiple-choice questions in the Writing section, you will receive a score from 20 to 80. The scaled scores are based on the raw score, which is calculated by adding one point for every question answered correctly and subtracting one quarter of a point for every question answered incorrectly.

Unanswered questions do not affect the raw score. This means that it is slightly better to leave the question unanswered than to answer incorrectly. Statistically speaking, you should only answer a question when you can absolutely eliminate one possible answer from consideration. If you believe that any of the four answers could be correct, you should not answer the question at all. In general, it is better to guess rather than to leave a question unanswered. In any case, the raw score is converted into the scaled score using a complex algorithm that takes into account the relative difficulty of the exam. One of the sections of the exam, known as the equating section, will not contribute to your final exam grade. This section of the exam is used to evaluate possible new questions for the SAT. You will not be able to tell which of the exam sections is the equating section.

Receiving Your SAT Scores

SAT Test Taking Advice

Here are some tips for taking the SAT test for homeschooling students.

The SAT is structured much like other standardized tests. For the most part, it is composed of multiple-choice questions. However, in the new version of the SAT, some mathematics questions require a written response, and a new essay section requires an extended piece of written reasoning. In order to practice for these parts of the exam, students should familiarize themselves with example questions, and should practice answering these questions under the time constraints that will be experienced during the exam. There are a number of practice questions available on the College Board website, so students should take the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the structure and level of difficulty they are likely to encounter on the actual test.

During the essay section, students should thoroughly read the passage before beginning their composition. Unlike a multiple-choice question, it is not easy to go back and correct a composition once it has been started. For this reason, many students find it helpful to compose a brief outline before they begin their essay. This helps them stay on track and avoid wandering away from their main points. The best essays on the SAT writing section are well organized and narrowly targeted. On the multiple-choice sections of the exam, one good strategy is to eliminate wrong answers when it is difficult to determine the right answer. By eliminating answers that you know are wrong, you can narrow your choices and eliminate irrelevant material from your consideration. It is a good idea to practice answering SAT questions under the time constraints you will experience on the day of the exam, so that you will not become flustered by the format or the difficulty of the questions.

SAT Test Day

SAT Test Taking AdviceWhat homeschool students should expect on SAT test day.

In order to take the SAT, you need to bring an admission ticket and acceptable photo identification to the testing center. The admission ticket is issued after registration is complete. It can be downloaded and printed from the College Board website. The College Board defines acceptable photo identification as any card that has been issued by a government or school and that contains your full name and photograph. Along with these items, you should bring two number-two pencils and a separate eraser. However, if you neglect to bring these items, they will be provided by the test administrator. Also, if you are going to be taking a mathematics exam, be sure to bring a four-function, graphing, or scientific calculator. Although the test administrator will not allow you to eat or drink while you are taking the exam, you will be given an opportunity to have a snack during breaks between sections. You will be provided with scratch paper, so you should not bring any papers or books.

SAT Test DayThe test administrator is especially vigilant about forbidding cell phones, personal digital assistants, and any other electronic devices. Students are not allowed to communicate with one another while sitting for the exam, nor are they allowed to communicate with anyone outside the exam area. In addition, students should be aware that if they do not show up on the assigned test date, they forfeit the entire registration fee. It is possible to take the exam even if you have missed a late registration date. This is known as stand-by testing. Individuals who wish to take the exam in this way should arrive at the testing center on the day of the exam with the late registration fee and a completed registration form. If there is room for you to take the test, the test administrators will seat you in time. In general, the most important thing to remember before taking the SAT is to get a good night's sleep and to eat a nutritious breakfast on the morning of the exam.

Last Updated: 05/24/2014

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