It’s 10 in the morning and a group of students are eagerly waiting for a library to open its gates in Gyaneshwor. All these students want to go to the US for their further studies and the key to getting admission will be to excel in the SAT, a standardized test for undergraduate admissions. As the SAT test on Oct. 9 fast approaches, the library at United States Education Foundation (USEF) in Gyaneshwor has become a hub for these students.
Formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the SAT Reasoning Test is preferred by almost all the US colleges and universities in assessing the applicants. This three-hours-and-45-minutes test examines the language proficiency and the verbal skills of test-takers. The test is not usually a requirement for admission but is vital in securing financial aid. With an increasing number of Nepali students trying to get into American institutions, the numbers of SAT examinees are increasing too. More than 3,000 students will be sitting for their SAT at Rato Bangala School, St. Xavier’s School and Lincoln School this Saturday.
Meanwhile, students are flocking to the library everyday. The place provides books on SAT, TOEFL as well as all sorts of information on college application. Liza Paudel, who recently graduated from Trinity International College, is a frequent visitor to the library. Paudel, who is also taking the SAT, says the resources at the library are very helpful. “Vast choices of SAT books are available and the library also has good study space, though you need to arrive early to get a seat.” Applicants can also sign up for counselling services and get expert information on admissions from the counsellors, who are authorized by the US government.
However, Sandesh Pathak, an A-Level graduate from Budhanikantha School, preferred to stay away from the library and prepare on his own at home. “The place is full of people and I got distracted all the time.” Pathak is confident that he will obtain a good score. “The key to scoring well is that you do extensive practice. You just need to get accustomed to the format."
Though questions have been raised on the effectiveness of SAT, many colleges still rely on the scores. There have been complaints that SAT demands a higher vocabulary understanding which is not commensurate to what a college education requires. Some students who do not entertain taking the SAT test have even resorted to taking the ACT (American College Test), another standardized testing option which is also getting popular these days.
However, SAT still tips the balance on many candidates’ applications. The exam becomes every student’s nightmare. But the zeal to score higher never dies. Since one can take the SATs repeatedly, most of these students will certainly register for a second round of testing which is available conveniently on November, December and January.
Tips for a better test:
1. Arrive early at the test centre before reporting time. Starting late is a huge disadvantage.
2. Make sure you have everything you need—passport, pencils, erasers and calculators. Don’t think about buying stationeries at the last moment.
3. Attempt the easy questions first. If you are not sure, mark them and come back to them later. Beware of the negative marking for wrong answers. Getting a zero is better than guessing.
4. If you are running short of time, don’t try to attempt all the questions. Instead, focus on the ones you have already attempted, and check them.
5. Complete all the sections, even the challenging ones. If the questions are really tough, even doing moderately well could get you high marks.