SAT in Singapore 101: Your First Step to Studying in the USA

Want to study in the land of the free? Live the American dream? Study in Harvard, MIT, Stanford and walk amongst legendary historical figures? The SATs is your first step.


What is the SAT

The SAT is the entrance exam for all US universities. Think of them as the A levels for the US. In Singapore, since SMU emulates the US university system, it also allows admission using SAT results.  

You apply for the SATs here. The SAT is a general admission test and there is also the SAT subject test that isn’t a definite requirement but can enhance your college admissions (or if your particular university requires it).

When to Apply

You can take the SAT anytime throughout the year, it is recommended you do so 1-2 years before you apply to a US university. The SAT is offered at least 7 times a year in the U.S. and 6 times worldwide. It is offered in October, November, December, January, March (U.S. only; SAT only), May and June. You should do them only when you are free because these tests need to be studied for.

Where to take the SAT

Once you have registered for the SAT at a specific test date, you can choose any of these centres to take the SAT.

Test Center NameTest Center AddressCode
ANDERSON JR COLL4500, ANG MO KIO AVE 6 56984375105

Not 100% sure about your next step? Let one of our seniors share his journey and offer tips on how you can make the right choice to a fulfilled life in this annual higher education workshop.

SAT Components

The Reading Test


It includes:

  • One text from a classic or contemporary work of U.S. or world literature.
  • One text or a pair of texts from either a U.S. founding document or in the great global conversation they inspired. The U.S. Constitution
  • A selection about, sociology, psychology, economics or some other social science.
  • Two scientific passages (or one passage and one passage pair) that examine basic concepts and developments in Earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics.

When you take the Reading Test, you’ll read passages and interpret informational pictorials. Then use them to answer some test questions.

Some questions ask you to find a piece of info stated. But you’ll also need to understand and infer the passages’ ideas.

Writing and Language Test

To answer some questions, you’ll need to scrutinize a sentence. Others require reading the full essay or even interpret a graphic. For instance, you might be needed to choose a sentence that corrects a misunderstanding of a scientific fact or chart and even something that better explains the importance of the info.

The passages you improve will range from arguments to nonfiction narratives and will be about careers, history, social studies, the humanities, and science.

Math Test

The Math Test will focus in depth on the three areas of math that play the biggest role in a wide range of college majors and careers:

The Math Test also draws on Additional Topics in Math, including the geometry and trigonometry most relevant to college and career readiness.


This is arguably the hardest part of the SATs.

  • Read a passage.
  • Explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience.
  • Support your explanation with evidence from the passage.
  • The Essay Prompt (The Question)
    • As you read the passage below, consider how [the author] uses
    • evidence, to support ideas.
    • reasoning to develop notions and to connect hypotheses to evidence.
    • styling skills, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add impact to the ideas expressed.
  • What You Must Do
    • Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience that [author’s claim]. In your essay, analyze how [the author] uses one or more of the features above (or features of your own choice) to provide logic and convince readers. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Your essay should not explain whether you agree but instead explain how the author builds his or her case
  • The Topics
    • All passages have these things in common:
  • Written for a broad audience
  • Argue a point
  • Express subtle views on complex subjects
  • Use logical reasoning and evidence to support claims
  • Examine ideas, debates, or trends in the arts and sciences, or civic, cultural, or political life
  • Always taken from published works

How to Prepare

You don’t really need a prep class for SAT, but it could most certainly help….if you had the cash. If you don’t, there isn’t a need to worry about it either. Just grab some prep books and that should be sufficient. Getting “The Official SAT Study Guide” should be a good place to begin. Downloading the SAT app on your phone to test and learn new vocabulary everyday would be good, since vocabulary is a tough section most students encounter difficulty in.

  1. Do practice tests

Take time off your week to take a full-length, timed practice test. This doesn’t just build your test-taking “endurance.” Sitting through a 3h 45min worth of exams is physically and mentally tough.  It’s also important to learn how to deal with test exhaustion and pace yourself. After taking each practice test, evaluate how well you did and then prepare yourself such that your next round of prep works on your weakest areas.

  1. Understand the test format

Usually, the questions in the SAT are in ascending order of difficulty. So the easier questions are in the front and the more difficult ones are at the back. Hence, don’t spend the same amount of time on every SAT question. For critical reading questions that aren’t arranged in order of difficulty, answer detail-oriented questions (i.e. the ones that refer to specific line numbers) first. By the end, you’ll already be familiar with the passage and can answer broader questions with ease

  1. Read widely

Practice reading articles on foreign subjects before the test. Read a few paragraphs, then stop and try to identify the author’s argument. This will help you tackle boring SAT passages that are almost always be about strange subject matters.

  1. Master your vocabulary

Most vocab questions in SAT are words you never ever use. I’m not sure why they test it but well, just study it. It is a really easy way to increase your SAT score, especially if you study smart. Knewton’s SAT course provides students with plenty of vocab prep, including a list of the 120 vocab words most commonly tested on the SAT. They help on Sentence Completion questions and aid Reading Comprehension sections as well.

  1. Write practice essays till you buy new G2s

Cramming and squeezing out quality essays in 25 minutes is not be easy. It’s the first section of the test. Your prompt is always a broad issue like justice, success, failure, honesty, the value of knowledge. Doing trial runs of the essay will help familiarize you with this formula, ensuring you don’t waste any time on test day. Allocate time for reading the prompt, brainstorming, outlining (a rough outline is fine), writing, and proofreading. Decide on a clear, unambiguous thesis, then make sure you have two or three relevant examples to back it up. Finally, conclude that essay with a bang succinctly whilst restating your main argument. Remember, structure is king.

  1. Calculator Buddies


Mental math is overrated. Calculators save you time, and help prevent careless errors. Try using your calculator while you prep, so that typing in tough equations like [(16 +37)/3]^5 is coming naturally to you on test day. Familiarize yourself with shortcuts, like the TI-83s ability to display a decimalized answer as a fraction. Every trick counts.

  1. Remember your formulas

Don’t rely on the geometry formulas at the beginning of the test. Remebering your area formulas, the Pythagorean Theorem, the average formula, special triangle rules, and exponent rules will save you precious time and give you the extra edge.

  1. Understand how multiple choice works to your advantage

The SAT is largely a multiple choice test. This format does give you some important advantages. On Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Sentences questions (on the Writing section), you can often see what grammatical concept is being tested by looking at the differences between answer choices. On math problems, you can often eliminate answer choices by plugging them back into the equation in the question. This will help you identify which kind of error you should be on the lookout for.

If you liked these general tips for the SAT, like our Facebook page and check out some of our other guides. Taking the SAT in Singapore isn’t easy, but it is the first step to your dream school. Don’t waste it and study hard!

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I’m Seah Yi, a graduate from Raffles Junior College, Class of ’14. My subject combination was Biology, Math, Chemistry and Economics (4 H2s) and of course General Paper and Project Work (H1). Studying was never an easy thing for me. I don’t consider myself to be a smart kid and I don’t credit my grades to my intellect either. In my opinion, the greatest asset I have is hard work and the knowledge on how to work smart and hence my motto, “Never Maximal, Never Minimal, Always Optimal”.