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Best Bets for Surviving and Succeeding the SCAT Exam

The School and College Ability Test, SCAT, is designed as a challenge for the best and the brightest students. It is used to screen for entrance into gifted programs and schools in the United States, most notably the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. It is offered to youngsters, currently one or more grade level below the exam standard, offering an above-grade-level challenge.

Three levels of the SCAT exam, containing both verbal and quantitative sections, are offered to those in 2-8 Grades, as follows:

b

Students in grades 2-3 take the Elementary SCAT designed for 3-6 graders

b

Students in grades 4-5 take the Intermediate SCAT designed for 6-9 graders.

b

Students in grades 6 & above take the Advanced SCAT designed for 9-12 graders

The exam is available to students twice during the academic year. There is also a mock exam, available to students prior to the actual, for SCAT test prep. The mock exam results, can assist in identifying areas of potential weakness, and hence areas requiring further review.

Each student’s results are compared against children in the student’s current grade, as well as those in the more advanced grade(s), those for which the exam was actually designed and intended.

The Verbal Sections

The verbal segment of the SCAT exam is presented as a series of 55 questions that are analogies, 5 of which are experimental and are not part of the grade. Typically, two words are provided that have an association with each other.

Four possible sets of similar comparators are available as possible solutions. The pair closest to the original analogy must be selected, though there are usually narrow differences among, at least, two of the choices.

Verbal understanding and word analogies require a strong vocabulary, excellent verbal reasoning skills, and the ability to understand shades of differences across the meaning of words.

Practicing word analogies is perhaps the best way to master the verbal section of the SCAT exam, regardless the level of the exam, grade or age of the student. There are a near infinite number of possible analogies with infinite categories and classifications. Preparing for the exam means solving and remembering the different type of classifications, all of which will facilitate enhanced scoring. The ability to recognize the varying classifications, will allow the student to quickly identify many more analogies than would otherwise be the case.

Math and Quantitative Sections

Once again, there are 55 questions, in this case quantitative questions, where 5 are experimental and the 5 are excluded from the final grade. The quantitative section of the SCAT examination, like the verbal, is all multiple choice with 22 minutes available to complete the segment. A calculator is not allowed although the questions do measure understanding of basic number operations, math relationships and quantitative reasoning.

Three possible answers are given for each question, and the questions are set-up in pairs. A pair of math questions are provided, part A and part B. They can be a set of factoring equations, number sequences, requesting the next number in the sequence, or a comparison of the area of 2 geometric shapes. Not enough information in the elementary level only first three options are there as answer choices.

All possible answers are within the following:

A > B
A < B
A = B

Tips For Improving SCAT Scores

The best approach for improving SCAT test results requires pulling together all resources available.

1. Study and review sample test questions, both verbal and quantitative
2. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the exam format and the exam questions so as not to waste time doing  so during the exam.
3. Practice with mock exams early on, focusing on and strengthening areas of weakness.
4. Scoring is based on the number of correct answers, so do not leave any questions blank. Guess, if necessary.
5. When in doubt, stick with your initial impressions, they are most often correct.
6. Stay calm. Don’t panic.

Several on-line tutoring services are available for SCAT test prep, eTutorWorld is one of them, with a 90 percent success rate. It is worth investigating, depending on the level of need and the time frame available for improvement.

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