6 SAT Tips for International Students

1. Make sure it’s necessary. Some schools won’t require the SAT for international students or don’t require the SAT at all.

2. Know the quirks of English. Any non-native English speakers know that English isn’t always straightforward. The SAT does test idiomatic knowledge, which can trip up non-native speakers. Though native speakers will often say they chose an answer because it “just sounded right,” that’s a difficult skill for non-native speakers to master. One thing that helps is reading English-language news articles and literature. 

3. Master the test structure. Have a good understanding of the different elements of the test, and how material will be presented. You need to know what the SAT will test, and what won’t be relevant.

4. Look for language- or country-specific prep help. Being in the U.S. (or in one of the other major countries for SAT test-takers) doesn’t mean that you don’t have any local resources available. You can find local tutors with experience tutoring non-native speakers. if you’re lucky, you might be able to find a group of fellow aspiring international students.

5. Connect with an advisor if needed. Aspiring international students can often find resources like Education USA, which helps students all over the world understand what they need to do to get on track for college and beyond in the U.S.

6. Find a testing center and make sure you book well in advance. The SAT is offered outside the U.S. 6 times each year (October, November, December, January, May, and June). If there isn’t a testing center within 121 km (75 mi) of where you live, you can request one via the College Board website here. Keep in mind that it takes time for schools to receive your SAT scores, so don’t cut it too close to the application date.