Can someone explain the bare bones of the SAT?

#1

I’m in my final year of high school this year and I’m planning to sit the SAT for the first time just to try it out. How important is the optional essay? Like is it needed when applying to certain universities?

And I also need to do the SAT subjects tests right? I think 2 is the minimum?

#2

Both of these questions are very dependent on the Universities that you’re targeting.

Most top schools require the optional essay. You get extra time for the essay, so I don’t see too many reasons not to do it - plus, it’s probably the easiest part of the SAT! Some places won’t need the SAT, and some places are becoming test-flexible too, but I’d definitely recommend doing it if you want to go to any of the top schools.

As for subject tests, some Universities don’t even require them - however, if your university needs it, or if you want to demonstrate a particular academic strength, definitely take them. For me, I took the core SAT and three subject tests. Stanford doesn’t require subject tests, but I wanted to demonstrate my strengths by taking Literature, Physics and Maths II.

If you want University specific advice, feel free to ask! Otherwise, have a look around on their admissions pages for more details :slight_smile:

#3

Thank you Harry - makes sense!

I’m finding the reading/writing part quite difficult - any tips to go about studying for that?

And very true, may as well do the optional essay!

#4

No worries mate!

As for the reading, something I found really useful was writing a comment next to each paragraph. What is the paragraph about? Where does it fit? Is there anything unusual about it? This helps unravel the meaning of the text, but also helps you with the reordering questions they often ask.

For writing, it helps to rote learn grammar rules. I read ‘The Elements of Style’, which is a helpful book for this (not SAT specific, but commonly regarded as the go-to book for modern English grammar.

#5

I’ll definitely try to get my hands on that book!

Universities i’m considering are NYU, Stanford, Yale, Harvard & MIT haha

Thanks again

#6

Nice! Definitely do the essays then, and I’d recommend a few subject tests too :slight_smile: