The interview was created for the purpose of the application for US studies. One of the students from Poland agreed to tell us about her preparations for the application for US studies. It is worth adding that Wiktoria applied on her own and did not benefit from the support of the agency.
You can read the first part of the Study in the USA - Interview series here 👈
Uniclub: The extensive luggage of experiences is already packed. Then exactly what are the prerequisites of academic institutions in the USA?
Wiktoria: If you want to enroll in an American university, you must first pass the exam called the Scholastic Assessment Test. Consequently, you should begin preparing to take the SAT exam while still in high school so as not to miss any university applications.
When applying to top colleges, the Matura Test doesn't matter, but the SAT does. The SAT General is similar to our Basic Baccalaureate, the SAT Subject Test is similar to the Extended Baccalaureate.
First, you need to pass the SAT General comprising Reading, Grammar, Understanding, Essay, and Math Level 1. Some colleges will ask you to take an exam with or without a paper element. So you can decide whether to write it or not.
Basic mathematics in the United States is more difficult than in Poland. The tasks are more difficult, but you can use the calculator for some parts. It is worth buying this calculator right away and practicing with it. I have tried using a normal calculator for a long time but it made my life very difficult. So I recommend that you immediately buy and work with all the necessary tools that you can use in the exam.
The SAT assignments are very focused on logical reasoning. Learn to read and understand texts and data. The upside is that all tasks are multiple-choice. The only part open to the exam is the essay.
SAT Subject Test
The test is written in the chosen subject. Top universities usually require two tests, not more. These exams are relatively expensive and should be written in American schools. In my case, it was Berlin and Prague. The SAT Subject Test can be started and possibly improved as soon as you like. The upside is that you don't have to drive one test each time, you can only write up to three Subject Tests at a time.
I have written SAT level 2 and SAT US History. This combination is especially recommended for students outside the United States, as American schools like to see that the applicant knows about the United States. I recommend getting started quickly with your history preparation, as there are questions about things as detailed as opening the first railroad in the US. There are many SAT Subject Tests, especially language tests. If someone knows a foreign language well, he or she can take the exam and get extra points easily.
Uniclub: Does the American exam look similar to the Matura exam?
Wiktoria: The SAT is not like the Polish baccalaureate. For my first SAT exam, I came in high heels and a skirt like for a galla ceremony just like in Poland. The teacher who looked after us was in shorts and flip-flops. People came in casual clothes, in sweatpants, and with a full breakfast, because you can eat and drink during the exam. However, you are not allowed to go to the toilet. Only during the break. However, it is much less stringent and stressful than the Polish baccalaureate.
The equivalent of extended courses in American schools are the so-called AP courses (Advanced Placement). These are school courses that can be taken by going to an American high school. People who do not have such an opportunity can register and take the final exam for a given course only and receive a diploma for it. I did AP microeconomics and AP macroeconomics.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS:
SAT General Test. The SAT is a multiple-choice entrance examination used by most colleges and universities. The SAT lasts 3 hours without an essay. If you choose to write an essay, the test will last approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes.
SAT Subject Test. The subject test is a one-hour national subject test designed to show your strengths and interests. There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in areas such as English, History, Languages, Math, and Science.
Essay. An essay is a short, formal text that represents the author's perspective or opinion. Essays usually deal with academic topics.
AP Course. Advanced Placement is a program that offers university classes to high school students. American colleges and universities can award points to students who achieve high exam scores.
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