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An Education Abroad – Preparing to Set Sail – Part 2

Preparing for an education abroad is definitely not for the faint-hearted – there are so many aspects for your child and you to cover and so many things to do that, at times, you may feel like the proverbial chicken without a head! Some things may be obvious – getting and maintaining good grades, for example. Then there are other aspects that are relevant only to those planning to study abroad – like the standardised tests, for instance. Let us give you the low-down on some of these.

15Preparing for the Admissions Tests – SAT and ACT

One of the key requirements from colleges in the US and Singapore is for the applicant to take the SAT or the ACT exams, and report the test scores as part of the application. (In general, colleges in the UK and Australia do not require SAT scores from an international applicant.) These exams are standardised tests that are usually taken by a student during Grade Eleven. Though there are some colleges in the US (Smith College, NYU, Bard College, for example) that are testoptional and do not demand a SAT or ACT score for admission, we  recommend that your child earns as many brownie-points as he can and take these tests. Reinforcing his superior academic strength can’t hurt him, can it?

What are the SAT and the ACT exams?

The SAT stands for the Scholastic Aptitude Test and is administered by the College Board, USA. The SAT I is a three-hour test intended to measure verbal and maths reasoning abilities without regard to the kind of schooling a student has had.


The ACT, or the American College Testing (ACT) Assessment is an alternative to the SAT, and today almost all colleges and universities accept the ACT. The ACT has a greater number of curriculum-based questions, and is more directly  related to what is actually taught in high school.

The SAT II are the subjects tests that are meant to test the student’s knowledge of a particular subject. Some highly competitive colleges, including the Ivies, recommend that the applicant take the SAT II tests as way of filtering the large number of applications. Do check if the schools your child is applying to stipulate any specific subjects – especially for the undergrad programmes in science, there may be some mandatory requirements. Your child should also take the SAT II if he has not done well in that subject in school, but wants to pursue it in college – this will help strengthen his application.


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