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SAT Tips For International Students

Just like U.S.-based students, international students have to take the SAT or ACT for college admissions. Thankfully, we have our own SAT tips for international students.

Take a minute to check out our simple but effective SAT tips for international students.

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sat tips for international students

Plan And Register Early

Don’t wait until the last minute to take it.

The SAT isn’t offered every month of the year. Normally, it’s offered only a few times over the year. Not only that, but it’s likely that you’ll want to take the test at least twice.

Why? Because it’s difficult to get a perfect score on the first try. That’s perfectly fine though, and most schools understand that fact. The key then is to plan to take it at least twice, maybe three times at most.

You’ll need to go online to the College Board website to find where test dates are held. There are over 1000 places worldwide to take it, but those spots fill up fast.

That’s why you need to register as early as possible to get a seat. Once you get one, then plan out how much time you need to study. You’ll need at least a couple of months to take multiple practice tests and study.


Don’t Forget About The TOEFL Exam

You need to take another exam besides the SAT for consideration.

U.S. students normally don’t have to take the TOEFL exam. This test is mainly for you to demonstrate their English language proficiency.

If you’re applying to U.S. colleges and universities from overseas, then you’ll have to take it. However, many students find TOEFL to be easier than the SAT. Therefore, if you spend a lot of time on SAT prep, especially the Reading section, then you’ll be ok.

However, the TOEFL and SAT have different test formats. So don’t assume that you’re ready for both tests by studying only for one. While working with SAT practice tests, make sure to take TOEFL practice tests too.

Pay Attention To Critical Reading And Grammar Rules

The Critical Reading section is challenging for non-native English speakers.

U.S. colleges know that the Reading section is more difficult for international students than Math. Math rules and concepts are universal, while English rules and grammar are specific.

If you’re taught in a school system that doesn’t stress English, then this section can be tough. The good news is the New SAT format eliminated the old vocabulary section that gave everyone trouble.

What you should focus on instead is working on grammar rules and reading skills. These are the skills that colleges will pay more attention to score-wise.

Don’t Give Up

As tough as things get, don’t give up on your dream.

SAT test prep takes hard work:

  • Take multiple practice tests
  • Figure out which sections give you the most trouble
  • Work on fixing those sections to boost your score

If you get discouraged, keep going. One trick students use is figuring out what scores you need for dream schools.

The reason why is you don’t have to worry about getting a ‘perfect score’. Once that pressure is gone, it’s easier to focus on what you need to get.


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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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