SAT Penang Style


12155732035_1206782103It’s the time of year when overseas education recruitment drive goes into top gear here in Penang, Malaysia. The exhibitors are out in force and there’s a US college and university fair in town this week. Naturally, SAT will pop up as a subject of interest so it’s a fitting occasion for me to air some thoughts on this favourite topic of mine in regard to my latest
domicile. I will call it SAT Penang Style.

In Penang, SAT learning or tuition centres are practically unheard of. The usual practice here in engaging the test is largely self study. That’s hardly surprising, given that the US tertiary pathway is as yet pretty much alien to local folks. A guidebook coupled with some practice tests will typically suffice as reference material. In as far as prep is concerned, familiarization is the end game and mastery rarely makes the standard agenda.

By and large, SAT Penang Style tackles Math problems via first principles, expands Reading vocabulary through memorization, and shies away from critical Writing. I think these approaches are ‘noob’, SAT-wise.

  • First principle Math is good but slow. Speed is paramount in SAT.
  • Rote vocabulary is prone to context error. That’s a favourite SAT ploy.
  • There’re different ways to write. For SAT, only critical Writing rocks.

In general comparison, SAT Penang Style is ‘amateur’. It could do with more in terms of strategy, plan, tactics and techniques.

  • Ace the low-hanging fruits instead of straining for the high ones.
  • Familiarize with the common tricks and traps and don’t get ‘owned’.
  • Work in between tests, not during, to prepare for the next one.

As a SAT fanatic, I think few will get far with the current typical attitude. Many will fall short in gaining admission to their aspired schools and more will miss out on scholarships or honour programs due to inadequate SAT scores. It’s an injustice somewhat but the ‘shortcomings’ are not difficult to overcome. I will certainly do my part in starting a
SAT Penang Style Plus.

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