Have you heard the news? Students at School of the Nations did extremely well on the October Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Out of twenty-one seniors who took the test, eight scored in the 80th percentile or above in the Nationally Representative Percentile. In other words, thirty-eight percent of test-takers from our class of 2018 earned scores higher than 80% of US students who took the SAT in October. But there is more! Our Juniors did well, too. Three of the four students in Grade 11 who took the October SAT exam earned scores in the 88th percentile or higher. These students wanted to experience what the test was like and took the SAT for practice. Our students are clearly committed to high ideals. Both results reflect our students’ hard work, teachers’ dedication, parents’ commitment, and academic standards of excellence.
A percentile is a number between 1 and 99 that shows how a student performed on a test compared with other students who took the same test. For example, if a test-taker scored in the 88th percentile, that means she or he scored better than 88% of all others who took the test.
The Nationally Representative Percentile compares a student’s score to the scores of typical 11th and 12th grade students in the US.
Source: The College Board
October arrives, and Enem season is officially declared. For many Brazilian students, taking the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio is a decisive milestone in their high school careers. It marks the beginning of a brand-new challenge — entering the university. Test scores are used by public and private Brazilian universities as admission criteria. It is a competitive and difficult test in which years of hard work and dedication to one’s studies pay off. Some of our students, however, choose to focus their efforts on the SAT.
What is the SAT?
The SAT is an entrance exam used by most universities and colleges in the United States for admissions. It is the American equivalent of the Brazilian national exam, Enem. The test assesses a student’s knowledge in Math, Reading, and Writing. Each section is worth 800 points each. Students have 3 hours to take the test.
Alex Machinena is one of twenty-one Nations’ seniors who took the SAT exam in October. At seventeen years old, Alex successfully ranked in the 99th percentile and earned a perfect score in Math. His study plan began with thirty minutes a day of reading and then progressed to taking mock PSATs, then SATs. Alex finished his plan by taking the official SAT. “Reviewing class materials and tests before taking the exam helped me a lot,” said Alex.
While he has not yet decided whether he wants to study abroad or at a Brazilian university, Alex shared that he did his best on the test. “I confess I was calm at the time. I still haven’t made up my mind, so I guess that relieved some of the ‘natural’ pressure,” he said jokingly.
Alex is applying to the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, among others. “Engineering is what I am leaning toward the most,” Alex said.
For some, SAT preparation begins early. As life changes, like a snowball rolling down a mountain, Leticia
Assano found herself facing challenging decisions. As a Junior at School of the Nations, she had the discipline to set short- and long-term academic goals.
“My main goal is to study abroad. My dream school is Princeton, so I took the exam in Grade 11 to have the chance to retake the exam, if necessary, before I send my final test results,” Leticia said.
Leticia ranked in the 95th percentile, which is nothing less than outstanding. She said she was calm while taking the test and that she prepared well for it. “I took the test without worrying about how well I would do. I wanted to see what the test was like and to become familiar with it,” she added.
Leticia also mentioned her learning progress through high school. She mentioned day-to-day activities as part of her test preparation, such as Model United Nations’ discussions on Mondays and Writers’ Club on Wednesdays. For Leticia, both PSAT practice and mock exams have helped her greatly. “Now that I have the results, a change of habits is definitely coming soon! I even bought new review books,” Leticia shared.