Thursday, August 08, 2019

The American SAT :: An Alternative to A-Levels For British Home Educators

Did you know that there is an alternative to A-Levels for British home educators?





What if I were to tell you that you don't have to ditch how you learn, your educational philosophies or your favourite resources. What if I told you that you could continue to keep God at the centre of your home education and that you can ditch GCSE's and A-Levels, would it interest you?

If I then told you that you could do all this and your children could still get into British Universities would think me crazy? Well, I'm here to tell you that all this is possible with the American SAT. How do I know? I know because we have done it and we are not the first. You can read our story here. There are a growing number of British families who have taken this route with their children having gained university entrance.


A Basic Understanding of the American Education System


It is helpful to understand the difference between the two education systems. While British secondary instruction focuses on GCSE's and A-levels, each of which is examined separately, the American systems only real standardised tests are the SAT and ACT and are taken at a national level. That means that you do not write exams at 16 years old, rather you continue in your chosen courses of study and in the winter of 11th grade the General SAT exam (for the 1st time) which tests on the cumulative skills gained over high school. The SAT standardized test is meant to show colleges and universities how prepared the student is by measuring key skills like reading comprehension, mathematical ability and clarity of expression. By sitting the exam at the end of your 11th grade year it gives you a good benchmark of what needs to be done for your test in 12 Grade.


Tell Me About the American SAT Test

The SAT is administered by the College Board and is a 4-hour long multiple-choice test. The test is taken on a Saturday morning and tests in three core competencies namely critical Reading, Math and writing with an option essay component.


What are the SAT Subject Tests?

These are college (university) admission exams on specific subjects such as U.S History, Science, Maths and more. These are the only American national tests that the student can choose to showcase their strengths and interests. Often British universities will want a combination of the General SAT as well as a specified number of SAT Subjects if there is not a high school diploma available or if the course the student is applying for is particularly academic. Each SAT Subject exam is 1 hour long and is multiple choice.

SAT Pro's

  • They are much cheaper than GCSE's or A-levels. The cost of the SAT General Reasoning test is roughly $80 and for each SAT Subject test around $22
  • You can take the SAT exam as many times as you want. Only the most recent 6 scores are kept on your College Board account and you can choose which score to send to your university
  • You don't have to worry about exam technique as you would with GCSE's or A-Levels. All the tests are multiple-choice. Note: this is not the easy option as you will spend about the same amount of time on your chosen courses throughout high school as you would on your GCSE and A-Level courses.
  • There's no waiting all summer for your results! You can expect to have your SAT score back in 2 weeks and for your SAT Subjects 4 to 6 weeks.
  • It's one test, on a Saturday. No drawn-out testing period of weeks on end that puts immense pressure and stress on students.
  • There are numerous test dates throughout the year so there will always be a date that is convenient for you.

SAT Con's

  • You may have to travel a little distance to your nearest exam centre.
  • You could have a different exam centre for SAT Subject tests than for your SAT test. Not all test centres offer sittings for every single test date.


How Do You Prepare For the SAT?

We have used Khan Academy to prepare for the SAT exam and VasityTutor for the SAT Subjects. You can purchase revision books off Amazon if you wish.

So, Are You Keen To Find Out More?

This is the first in a continuing series of posts on taking the SAT in the UK. I will be looking at related topics such as setting out your 4-year high school plan, transcripts, how to calculate your students GPA, how to record credits, dealing with the universities admission teams, curriculum, college preparedness and much more. If you have any questions please do leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them in a Q & A post or they will be answered in a future post.

Please do consider subscribing to my blog if you are wanting to find our more about the American SAT for British home educators.

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6 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! Thank you. I’m really looking forward to reading more in this series.

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  2. Hi, thanks for the info. I was interested in SAT for several years hence, until I read they are tested on a Saturday. (We observe Sabbath that day, not Sunday) Its a shame that they aren't on a different day as they seem to be a really good option.

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    Replies
    1. Yes they are a good option but I'm not sure why they sit exams on a Saturday, seems a bit odd to us. But apparently it is the same in America.

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  3. Hi,

    Just wanted to say thank you for taking time to write these blogposts. I have a bright home educated 10 year old and I am starting to think about how I can plan a route to uni for him. This is really useful information.

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome Isobelle, I think it's so important for us British Home Edders to know that there are alternatives :)

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