A Guide to the SATs for Canadian Students

Image by California Cthulhu (Will Hart), Flickr

Image by California Cthulhu (Will Hart), Flickr

Many Canadian students dream of going to the United States for their post-secondary education. However, the process is tough and spaces are limited. Of the 30,946 students who applied to Brown University’s Class of 2015, only 2,692 were accepted – and only 28 of them hailed from Canada (source: Brown University). Don’t fret, we’re here to help! One of the first things you should be focusing on is the SAT – one of the most important elements of the application process for most US schools. Here is a brief rundown of the test:

  • Every high school is different. A student with perfect grades in one school might only get fair grades in another. The SAT provides a way for every student to be assessed in an equal way.
  • The SAT tests your abilities in three areas: readingwriting and mathematical reasoning.
  • The test consists of several multiple-choice questions and an essay.
  • A score of 200-800 is given in each section, providing a maximum score of 2400.
  • The test takes about 4 hours to write.
  • The cost for writing the test is $51.
  • You can take the SAT as many times as you want, but most students take it twice. The College Board (in charge of running the SAT) recommends not taking it more than twice because of a lack of evidence supporting significant score gains by taking the test more than twice.
  • Most schools accept SAT scores up to December of Grade 12, however individual schools may accept scores at later dates. Review your prospective school’s application process for their requirements.
  • Recently, the College Board introduced Score Choice which gives students the option to choose which score they wish to send to their schools of interest. However, some schools still ask students to submit all of their SAT scores. Review school policies because some only take your best overall score while others will take your best score from each section.

Typically, the test is administered six times a year in Canada. You can find a list of dates to write the SAT in Canada as well as register for the test on the College Board website. Register as soon as you can, not only because registration closes one month prior to the test date, but also to ensure a seat in your nearest test centre. If you have missed the deadline, you can apply for Waitlist Status and depending on whether sufficient test materials, staff and seating are available on the test day, you can take the test. If you are admitted to the test centre on test day, a waitlist fee of $45 will be charged.

SAT Tips

  • A score over 2000 is recommended to be competitive in prestigious US schools such as NYU, USC, Stanford or any of the Ivy League schools. 
  • Most students take the SAT in the spring of Grade 11 and again in the fall of Grade 12.
  • Even though you can take the test as many times as you want, taking it too many times may not send a good message to admission officers.
  • When choosing when to take the SAT, be aware of college application deadlines. You may have until December of Grade 12 to take the test but those applying for Early Decision or Early Action should write their SAT earlier.
  • Study! Some students spend months, even years, studying for the SAT. A really good score can help you stand out.
  • Some college applications also ask students to write SAT Subject Tests. Check out our article on {SAT Subject Tests} for a break down on these tests.

Want to learn about other tests?

, , , , , , , ,