Moiz’s SAT Preparation Journey to 1480!

Total – 1480

Math – 780

English – 700

What I’ve learned from my experience with the SAT preparation is that you need to put in the work (regardless of how cliché or obvious this sounds). Right practice is the key to success as this is a “standardized” test with specific ways of testing your knowledge and skills and thus familiarizing yourself with the paper’s pattern is imperative for a good score. You need a solid grasp of the content being tested on the SAT (takes at least 2-3 months of intensive study) and a set of correct approaches to answering the questions on the SAT (takes solving at least 8-10 practice tests).

Reading

In my opinion, two things are really important for doing well on the reading section: time management and comprehension of the passage. For the reading section, you are going to find that you will be in a better position if you have a habit of reading regularly as it may be instinctively easier for you to understand what you have read and retain important information. The reading passage questions are mostly contextual and if you understand what’s going on in the passage then you will be able to answer the questions. When I first looked at the reading passages and tried answering the questions, all the answers seemed “correct”. The answer choices are presented in such a way that they all seem to be the right answers. This is where Sir Talal’s classes were very useful for me as he taught us that the trick is to find the “most correct” answer out of the available answer choices. This made things easy for me as I then focused on eliminating the incorrect answer choices during my SAT preparation (which usually involved looking for words or phrases that logically helped identify an answer choice as an incorrect option.)

I personally preferred to read all the questions first before reading the passage, after which I would answer the questions. In my opinion this helps prime your brain to subconsciously look for the answers to the questions you read and thus helps you mark-up important information more effectively. Similarly, for paired passages, you should treat each passage as an individual passage and deploy the same strategy of reading questions, the passage, and then answering the questions. This is discussed by Sir Talal in great detail in his classes. You should ideally be spending around 4-5 minutes reading the passage and once you are done you should reflect on what the passage is about. For this, Sir Talal provided a very useful “underlining strategy” that helped with analyzing the content of a passage. If you work through Sir Talal’s reading drill sets, you will figure out that there are certain themes and ideas being tested that repeat themselves (I call this the “pattern”). There is a logical way of answering all the various types of questions asked on the reading section and ample practice will help you identify this “pattern”. I think that going through all the material provided by Sir Talal along with extensive practice on Khan Academy helped me push my English score up to 700.

Writing

The strategy for this section is pretty straightforward: you need to get yourself familiarized with all the grammar rules being tested on the SAT. I feel that Sir Talal provides his students with ample study and practice material for them to get a sense of the content being tested on the SAT writing section. Overtime, I learned that being equipped with Sir Talal’s famous “Tutoria rules” and using a simple “process of elimination” approach for filtering out incorrect answer choices works well for the Writing Section (along with avoiding a tendency to overthink.) The strategy that worked best for me was to read one paragraph before answering the 2-5 questions related to that particular paragraph. This makes sure you have some context to back up the answers you choose instead of just reading one line that contains a question and then looking at the options to see which answer choice fits best. With enough practice, you will also be able to see that there are certain parts of the Writing passages which contain irrelevant information that you can skim through in order to save and better utilize time. As for practice, I feel that Sir Talal’s SAT booklets and SAT preparation material were more than enough for me to do well on this section.

 Math

For this section, it is really important that you continually and consistently practice. This will not only ensure that you get a sense of the concepts being tested on the Math section but also that you are able to manage your time well (which is crucial for the no-calculator section). I personally recommend doing Sir Talal’s “must do questions” along with all the other practice papers he provides you with in order to guarantee an easy score of 700+ on this section. I also found that the “Barron’s SAT book” contains some useful math techniques which helped me save time while solving some of the Math questions. It is important that you speed through the easy questions in the beginning in order to make time for the questions near the end. I also feel that you cannot waste time on a question by trying multiple approaches to see which one works but rather you should be sure of the specific technique that you will use to solve a specific type of question (and that is a skill that comes with ample practice, usually after attempting 8-10 practice tests).

Honestly, your skill level in Math doesn’t matter that much (apart from having to spend less time on revising the concepts to be tested on the SAT) as long as you don’t learn to tackle the set question types correctly and as efficiently as possible and for that I can’t emphasize enough on the fact that you need to practice (this helped me go from a score of 660 on my first try to a score of 780). Furthermore, endurance (building stamina to work through the paper) is key for the math paper and that can only be strengthened with rigorous practice. Again,Khan Academy is a great resource for practice in addition to Sir Talal’s provided study material, which helps one get familiar with the intricacies of the test and ultimately do well on it.

Hashim’s SAT Journey to 1520!

My SAT score-1520

Breakdown- English 740 Math 780

Reading

This was indeed the trickiest part of the exam, a section where focus, skill, concentration and the ability to answer questions quickly was required. However, there is a simple set of tricks that can help crack this section. First, you must always follow your gut, most of the times the answer that you think is correct is the right option. There is a chance you might get double minded but that is of no use, read through a question once, go through the passage, and just go with what you think makes the most sense, stressing on a single question will mess up your timing. Secondly, always use the elimination technique whenever there is an ambiguity between two or more options, divide options into ones that are completely wrong and don’t make any sense, and ones that do make sense. To choose between the ones that make sense, pick out single words from the passage that may eliminate one of the options. Lastly, practice is the key. Sir Talal’s guide books were of immense help and are great for individual reading practice.

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English Writing

This is one of the easier sections of the test, where only a set of rules and some practice will earn you a good score. All I would recommend for this section are Sir Talal’s guide books: they contain practice that is divided into separate sub topics. Start off with a diagnostic test or some practice on khan academy to know where you’re lacking. Once figured, practice from the guide books to get such questions right. One last thing that can help with this is to always practice with a mindset to not get the same type of questions wrong more than once.

As this is an easier section, I’d suggest you to answer some of the questions as you are reading the passage. There are some question types like subject-verb agreement, Transitions, pronoun-noun agreement, parallel structure, etc which do not require understanding of the entire passage. This will save you a lot of time, while boosting your confidence as well.

Math

Practice makes perfect, even though I could not attain a perfect score myself, this one phrase could never be more relevant and significant. This part of the test contains questions that are similar in one way or the other. Once you’ve practiced enough, you know half of the test already. The rest depends on how well you manage your time as that may act as a barrier between you and your perfect score. In each of the two sections, the last 5 questions may be difficult to attempt, not conceptually but due to the scarcity of time. The trick to this is to answer the first ten or so questions as quickly as possible, such questions are easier than the rest and take almost no time to answer. Answer initial questions at a quicker rate and save time for the tougher ones. Sir Talal has compiled his guide books topic wise, this helps a lot as you may identify your weak areas and work on them individually.

Goodluck!

Rafay’s SAT Journey to 1560!

SAT SCORE – Breakdown:
Reading: 390

Writing: 390

Math: 780

Introduction

How well you do on the SAT depends on how you approach the exam. This approach depends on your resources, how you react to mistakes and obstacles, and how much you practice. Usually, where students go wrong is with resources. There are many test prep companies which don’t go into much detail on how the exam really works and what it tests. The result is irrelevant practice material that not only wastes the reader’s time but also harms their SAT score. It is really imperative that you only expose yourself to material that exactly or nearly exactly resembles the actual test. This is because you need to only practice what you will be tested with. I will be detailing each section on the basis of approach, the amount of practice required, most recommended resources, and what obstacles you may encounter. Rest assured, this guide will include everything you need to get your target SAT score.

Reading

This section is where most students fail. I too had a very tough time with this, but having practiced a lot and with the right strategies, I was able to improve from 280 to 390. You need to very intelligently approach this section. If you are not a habitual reader, I suggest you start reading now. The reason why a lot of students fail in this section is because of a lack of comprehension skills. If you are one of the unfortunate ones who didn’t get in the habit of reading early on, then you need to start either reading novels or SAT-style passages usually found from New York Times, Independent, Time magazine etc. If you are short of time, then you have no choice but to practice with individual Reading tests, which also works so no need to worry. For strategies, I highly recommend Sir Talal’s classes. He discusses various strategies on how to approach the different types of passages including but not limited to “marking-up and summarizing.” Once you really understand these strategies and start applying them, you will realize the passages aren’t that difficult. Once you get down the strategies, you need to move on to practice.

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The best practice materials that I have come across are from Khan Academy, various drill sets, exams and question types uploaded on the portal by Sir Talal. You should also refer to UWorld.com when you are done with most of your practice. This website contains more difficult material, but has better explanations and really helps over-prepare you for the section. I don’t think many resources resemble the section as well as these resources do and Sir Talal has spent ample time coming up with the best resource material: focus on that and you will see marked improvement in your performance. The quality of your practice is also really important. Always time yourself strictly, and try not to be lenient. A digital watch works wonders to help you pace yourself with each passage, and really helps your focus. The best tip that I can give you for this section, is that there will only be one correct answer choice. This answer choice can be proven with explicit evidence from text, context included, and the other three wrong answer choices can be proven wrong the same way. Always actively use text evidence to either prove an answer choice wrong or correct. When doing so, only refer back to the text when you have to. Otherwise rely on your comprehension for evidence. As for practice, I recommend doing one practice test each day. Out of the three, this section requires the most practice. When you have done a practice test, score yourself, and analyze your mistakes. Now, this is where you will either improve a lot or not improve at all. This is the most important step. When I was preparing, I would either not look at my mistakes, or just look at them at the surface and move on. This is why most students don’t improve in this section, and I too didn’t for quite some time until I really started scrutinizing my mistakes. You need to see why an answer choice is wrong and why an answer choice is correct. You need to really think how, if you were to go back in time and do the question again, you would have arrived to the correct answer. Once I started really applying this one principle to my practice, only then did my reading score improve. Otherwise, I was stuck in the range of 280-340. Getting stuck is one of the major obstacles of this section and only by really analyzing your mistakes will you be able to overcome it and get a good SAT score.

Undergraduate fee structure of LUMS, LSE, NUST and GIKI

Writing

This section is the easiest to improve out of the three since it relies on grammar rules and your ability to understand context. However, without good resources to guide you through, there is a tendency to get stuck in a certain score range. I recommend Sir Talal’s lectures and manuals. His writing manuals cover everything in detail while his lectures break down all the grammar rules you need to know to get a good SAT score. Additional material provided by him on his portal is cherry on top of cake. You won’t be needing anything else if you cover the above thoroughly. Practice is the key n this section so make sure you don’t miss out on anything. Extra practice on Khan Academy will also be beneficial. Again, you need to be really mindful of your mistakes and really analyze them and try not make them again. I recommend doing about one practice test every 1-3 days. The obstacles that you may encounter in this section are a) not improving despite doing a lot of practice tests and b) a dip in the score despite consistently scoring higher. To address a), you need to revise grammar rules. Usually students have a hard time answering sentence/paragraph placement and add/delete/revise questions, because they don’t exactly understand how context works in the flow of questions. You need to see that each sentence has its own idea, and this idea is related to the idea of sentences before and after. If a sentence breaks flow, or does not transition smoothly to the next idea, it needs to be revised. To really see how this works, refer to the material mentioned above. You need to practice a lot for it to become apparent. To address b), just see what mistakes you have made, and whether it is something that you need to work on. Usually dips happen either because a certain test contains your weakest points or because of a lack of focus. If it’s the former, you have a great opportunity to address your weaknesses. If it’s the latter, you can ignore the dip since there’s not much you can do about it other than working on your concentration.

Mathematics

This section is usually the most reliable in terms of score, since you can be sure to consistently get 770+ once you make it work. The plethora of topics that the SAT tests in this section can be intimidating, but once you really put in the time, and practice them, you will see that this section is the least tricky of the three, and usually tests the same topics over and over with just a few changes to its questions and a few tricks. Doing all of the questions in Khan Academy and the material provided by Sir Talal should be enough to get you to the 700-750 range. You should reliably get 770+ in every test after you go through all this material. Your approach should be to solve each question in as much time as possible. This requires thinking a bit creatively around your problems, but once you get that down, you can effortlessly get through this section. The only obstacle in this section is falling into the trap of a few tricky questions and therefore getting stuck. Usually when the solution to a question becomes too long, it is a good sign that you are going in the wrong direction. This is when you need to stop, rethink how you are approaching the question, and come up with a less time consuming route, unless you don’t have any other way.

Parting Words

I would also highly recommend Tutoria (previously Brightlink Prep SAT.) Sir Talal has himself gone through this process. He knows each and every angle of the test, every good resource, and knows the usual difficulties that students go through. Having an experienced mentor answer every single query in less than a minute was extremely helpful in preparing me for the test and really made the process easier. The most unique aspect of Tutoria that I find worth mentioning is that Sir Talal himself routinely takes the SAT. He has a track record that qualifies him for the one of the best tutors of the country, if not the best.

Now, the most important thing that usually goes overlooked is that, while the SAT is a very important exam, you need to be careful not to let it take over your life. This is also really important in getting your target score. Always give yourself occasional breaks. There’s no point in practicing when you are too exhausted to learn anything. Eat right, sleep well, be sure to exercise. Remember, this exam is not a measure of your intelligence or your self-worth. Getting a good score doesn’t mean you will succeed. Getting a low score doesn’t mean you won’t. Think of the SAT as only an opportunity. Nothing more.  There will be countless more opportunities like it in the future. Be sure to have a backup in case anything goes wrong. I think one of the things that helped me get my score is that I had reliable backup options which I was happy with, and it wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t gotten my target score. Having a safe backup option will help you get over your anxiety, and you won’t be up the whole night before test day thinking about how the test will decide your life, which is really not a fun state to be in.

Undergraduate FEE Structure of LUMS, LSE, NUST and GIKI

FEE Structure of LUMS, LSE, NUST & GIKI

FEE STRUCTURE of LUMS

LUMS attracts most of my students and so I’m frequently asked about the details and the fee structure of the undergraduate program there. Before I walk you through the fee structure along with other costs, let me give you a few other points that you’ll need to know.

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  • Tuition Fee at LUMS for all undergraduate programs is based on the number of credit hours taken.
  • The cost per credit-hour at LUMS for undergraduate programs for 2018-19 is PKR 26,000/-. You will be responsible for buying your own books and other reading material.
  • For all undergraduate programs at LUMS, full-time status requires 12 credit hours per semester. Students who have paid full-time tuition can take up to a maximum of 20 credit hours per semester without any additional charge (i.e. a student who has paid full-time tuition fee can take between 12-20 credit hours per semester without any extra charge).
  • SBASSE undergraduate students will be charged Lab charges for the maximum of 4 years only. SBASSE students who require to take courses beyond this will not be charged any additional Lab charges (if 4 years lab fee has already been charged).
  • Through an amendment in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 by Finance Act 2013, advance tax (under section 236 I) shall be collected at 5% on the entire amount of fee (if Student Payable exceeds Rs. 200,000/- per annum excluding the amount refundable).
  • In case of withdrawal from the program, fee will be refunded according to the fee refund policy available at LUMS website
  • University fees are usually announced once a year, for the following academic year. However, fee rates are subject to change without notice
  • Fee payment instructions are given on the fee voucher: LUMS also has an online payment facility
  • Students that live outside Lahore are a priority when it comes to allocating hostel rooms as compared to the ones who live in Lahore

Tutoria’s student gets 1560! Read his story.

Now, let’s move on with the fee structure:

  • The total cost of the undergraduate programs (12-20 hours) is Rs. 312,000/- (per semester) so that adds to Rs.624,000/- per year
  • If you need additional credit hours the cost of per credit hour is Rs. 26,000/-
  • The admission for undergraduate sessions is Rs. 72,700/- (One time charge)
  • Undergraduate sessions require a registration fee of Rs. 23,150/-  (per semester)
  • Lab Charges (For SBASSE Undergraduate program only) will cost Rs. 59,950/-  (per semester)
  • Security Deposit (Refundable) for Undergraduate and Graduate program is Rs. 19,800/- (One time charge)
  • Hostel Charges:
    • A total of Rs. 34,800/- (Per Semester)
    • Hostel Registration fee is Rs. 1,900/- (Per Year)
    • Hostel Security (Refundable) will cost Rs. 17,300/ (One time charge)

FEE STRUCTURE of LSE

Now, let’s evaluate the fee structure of the undergraduate program at LSE. The following fee structure is one semester only.

Courses

Credit Hours

Fee Per Course

Micro Economics I 3 Rs. 30,000
Macro Economics II 3 Rs. 30,000
Financial Management 2 3 Rs. 30,000
Investments 3 Rs. 30,000
OB and HRM 3 Rs. 30,000
Operations Management 3 Rs. 30,000
Total FEE for 6 courses Rs. 180,000
Adjustable Advance Tax @5%  Rs. 9000
Total Fee/semester Rs. 189,000

FEE STRUCTURE of NUST

The following table will sum up the fee structure of the NUST undergraduate program.

Engineering and Sciences Social Sciences and Business
Admission Processing Fee Rs. 35,000 Rs. 35,000
Security Deposit Rs. 10,000 Rs. 10,000
Semester Fee Rs. 90,000  Rs. 90,000
  • Reading material fee will be charged to undergraduate students of BBA and BS Accounting & Finance @ Rs.4350/year.
  • Miscellaneous charges Rs.1800/- per Semester.

Payment of Student Fee

  • At the time of admission, students have to pay the admission processing fee, security and full semester fee in advance.
  • Invoice/Challan for admission charges along with first-semester fee and Provisional Selection Letter will be available on NUST website.
  • Tuition fee will be payable on semester basis. Students have to pay their fee in advance before the commencement of semester otherwise they will not be eligible to sit in the class.
  • Through an amendment in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 by Finance Act 2013, advance tax (under section 236 I) shall be collected @ 5% on the entire amount of fee (if Student Payable exceeds Rs. 200,000/- per annum excluding the amount refundable).
  • Advance tax paid on fee is adjustable at the time of filing of Income tax return. NUST will issue Advance Tax Certificate in this regard at year-end.

FEE STRUCTURE of GIKI

GIKI attracts a lot of students to its Engineering program which is ranked as one of the best in Pakistan. Here is the fee structure of the undergraduate programs at GIKI.

Particulars BS Program in Engineering & Computer Science BS Program in Management Science only
Academic Year 2017-2018 Rs. 550,000 Rs. 505,000
Academic Year 2018-2019 Rs. 600,000 Rs. 550,000
Academic Year 2019-2020 Rs. 655,000  Rs. 600,000

Fee Summary

Annual Fees (non-refundable, Tuition + Lodging charges) Rs. 505,000
Security Fess (Refundable) Rs. 25,000
Admission Fees (non-refundable) for Pakistani students Rs. 58,000

* Total fee for the first time would be Rs. 345,000 which comprises of Tuition fee of Rs.300,000, a refundable security deposit of Rs. 20,000 and Admission fee of Rs. 25,000

I hope this was helpful 🙂

The Best & Worst SAT Preparation Books

As if the SAT exam isn’t nerve wrecking enough, choosing the right SAT preparation books to prepare for the SAT is equally crucial. When you go to book stores you’ll find an entire rack loaded with endless piles of SAT preparation books. The worst part is coming home and finding out that the book you got is not helpful at all. You’ll also learn that there are separate workbooks for every section of the SAT. Buying most of these books is not only expensive but also won’t help you a lot if you make the wrong choice. It can be very confusing when you have a dozen workbooks and rush through all of them, trying to get done with loads of concepts at once. Besides, not every book is complete, some SAT preparation books in Lahore have really helpful Reading and Writing sections but their Math sections aren’t good enough and vice versa.  Hence, it’s absolutely important that you pick the right material. Let me walk you through the strengths and weaknesses of some SAT prep books.

In my classes, I always tell my students to not rely on any single book because no book comprehensively covers the entire SAT. You must diversify your study plan and absorb the best material that is available. This has become really tricky especially after the launch of the redesigned SAT exam. All kinds of SAT preparation books have been published to capture the market but very few of them tackle and understand the ideology of the redesigned SAT exam: making it extremely difficult to choose the right material. That is the reason I have spent a great deal of time in collecting all the right material from various sources (some of which is not even available in the market) and have made my own booklets that cover all the concepts that you need to know. I share that material with all of my students.

Here is my take on various SAT preparation books that are available in the market:

SAT Preparation Book #1:

The Official SAT Study Guide by Collegeboard

SAT Prep Books-The Official SAT Study Guide by CollegeBoard

This is the official SAT study guide published by Collegeboard. In the past years, I told my students that Collegeboard’s book was the number one, critical book they had to have in their study arsenal. Now, I’m saying pretty much the opposite – don’t bother. Why? Because you can find all of its material for free online!

Pros

The best part about this SAT preparation book is the official practice tests at the end. Official SAT tests released by the Collegeboard are the gold standard for practice questions. At present, there are eight official tests and each test contains real questions given to actual students on previous administrations of the SAT. Without a doubt, the quality of official questions is far better than that of questions written by unofficial sources such as Kaplan or Barron’s.

So does the book offer anything beyond the 8 practice tests which are available online?  It does dedicate a bunch of pages to explaining the test structure, basic strategies, and answer explanations. Since you can find the majority of this info online, though, I wouldn’t recommend buying the book unless you really want all the material printed out for you. The book does cover most of the question types that you will come across on the SAT: all the nuances, all the traps, all the idiosyncrasies are there for you to behold, and the more you understand them, the better prepared you’ll be come test day. So if you are starting your SAT preparation in Lahore, the official study guide is your go-to book.

Cons

The book doesn’t provide any instructional material, so don’t expect to actually learn skills and content here. If you’re bad at algebra, you can’t rely on this book alone. Most test takers buy it for the tests, and the Collegeboard knows this.

The book does provide you with various question types but does not feed you with ample practice material to master those concepts and strategies. You will need additional material with this book to fully comprehend and absorb the various strategies that you encounter on the SAT exam. Moreover, the difficulty level of the questions does not match the difficulty level of the SAT exam. The questions and examples are easier as compared to the real exam, so you need to look for other sources to improve your skills and practice more.

In sum, I’ll definitely recommend this book to a beginner who needs a head start on the exam.

Next, I’ll talk about the BIG THREE: the three biggest test prep organizations in the world: Barrons, The Princeton Review and Kaplan. To be very honest and blunt, I don’t recommend any of them! These brands just rushed in to publish their books on the New SAT that they missed out on properly adjusting their content and aligning their ideology with the test makers. I have given a detailed opinion on all of the three SAT preparation books below so you can choose the right content from these books and not waste time and energy learning the wrong material.

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SAT Preparation Book #2:

Barron’s

SAT Prep Books-Barron's NEW SAT

Pros

Barron’s New SAT is a thorough prep book that offers content review, sample questions, and practice tests. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a very comprehensive book and covers most of the topics you need to know. Because of its dense format, it’s typically more effective for students who have already reached a higher level of understanding and want to enhance their comprehension skills. If you can divide up and scaffold the material in a manageable way, then you’ll be able to gain some valuable practice with this book. The Math portion of the book is much better than the English portion! The strategies are solid and helpful, the concepts are broken down well, and it hits that Goldilocks sweet spot of around 200 pages—enough to help you enormously without being overwhelming.

Cons

Barron’s has been criticized for recycling practice questions from its old SAT preparation books, rather than creating new SAT content, a problem that remains in the new addition as well. There are a lot more changes to the SAT than having four answer choices instead of five, so simply re-using old questions won’t give you a realistic sense of the question types and concepts on the SAT. This book appears especially guilty of this in its math sections, where the questions tend to deviate from the original pattern and become absurdly difficult.

In addition to not being as realistic as they should be, some of the questions are overly confusing and have complicated wording. While the New SAT will feature multi-step problems that call for in-depth reasoning skills, its problems will have relatively straightforward wording. Therefore, the questions you’ll get in Barron’s, while helpful, may be too hard and not as useful as they could be for your SAT preparation.

SAT Preparation Book #3: 

Princeton Review’s Cracking the New SAT 2018

SAT Prep Books-Princeton Review’s Cracking the New SAT 2018

Pros

Like Barron’s, Princeton Review’s Cracking the New SAT preparation book provides a comprehensive review of the three sections of the SAT with four full-length practice tests as well. Princeton Review covers concepts you need to know, like grammar rules and algebraic functions, along with strategies for approaching the questions and managing your time. It has a good Math section with almost 300 pages dedicated to it. Seems overwhelming? It is, a little. And if you’re looking for practice on Reading or Writing and Language, the book does offer good advice and practice sets—just not very much advice and not many practice sets (think 50-75 pages).

The Princeton Review is one of the very few SAT preparation books which seems to actually understand the Collegeboard’s incorporation of graphs into the verbal section on the new SAT—a nuanced concept that few publishers get right.

It also gives thorough answer explanations which help you think about how you can approach similar questions in the future. Given that this book is similar to Barron’s in many ways, does it have the same drawbacks?

Cons

Yes, students do struggle with SAT math, but there’s no need to push it on them to the exclusion of the other sections. After all, you need to look at that composite score, too! The English portion needs some more working.

Princeton Review shares some of Barron’s drawbacks, mainly that some of its questions have overly elaborate wording and don’t match the straightforward style of official SAT questions as well as they should. The practice tests, while helpful, are not the best representation of SAT sample questions.

Unlike Barron’s though, some of Princeton Review’s content and questions err on the side of being too easy conceptually, rather than too difficult. While Barron’s might be better for especially motivated students aiming for top scores, Princeton Review is more appropriate for students scoring around 600 or below. It probably won’t help you break out of that range and score much beyond that, especially since it doesn’t break each content area down into as many subtopics as it could.

SAT Preparation Book #4: 

SAT Prep Plus 2018 by Kaplan

SAT Prep Books-SAT Prep Plus 2018 by Kaplan

Pros

Kaplan’s New SAT is one SAT preparation book that takes students from good scores to excellent scores, especially in math section.

The good thing about this prep book is that it focuses well on test taking strategies. This SAT book offers a significant number of practice questions and gives you abundant opportunities to implement the strategies learned.

You will find some high-level questions in this book that are harder than the questions that appear in the actual exam. Hence, this is one of the best sat preparation book for the students who want to go that extra mile and achieve a higher score in math.

Cons

In the verbal section, this text misses the mark. The practice questions and passages in Kaplan are not close to the real SAT and are just recycled older questions. The practice tests also do not resemble the new pattern of the SAT exam and questions tend to get really wordy and difficult at times.

Moreover, answers and other materials have a lot of errors, indicating poor quality control. You’ll probably notice many of these mistakes yourself, but if you don’t catch them you’ll learn the wrong facts and strategies.

To summarize, you can definitely go for this book for the math section, but stay away from the verbal part.

LUMS Undergraduate FEE Structure 2017-2018

SAT Preparation Book #5: 

500+ Practice Questions for the New SAT

SAT Prep Books-500+ Practice Questions for the New SAT

Pros

While I could easily fault this book for the lack of any content instruction, it would be unfair to do so, because the purpose of this book is to be a question bank. The Princeton Review has created questions that, while perfectly legitimate, aren’t quite as complex and nuanced as those found on the actual test. And you know what? That’s not necessarily a bad thing—if you are just starting off. So if you are a beginner and want some good practice, you can definitely refer this book.

I should make it clear that I’m not saying, “Oh, this book is just an easy version of the test.” I’m saying it is an easier version of the real thing and it is a valid version. Unlike Kaplan’s SAT preparation books, for instance, which—at least for verbal—are much easier than the real test in an inaccurate way, the Princeton Review mostly stays true to the underlying subtleties of the questions and answer choices. It just doesn’t have the hard-level questions that make up 15-20% of the actual test.

Cons

Perhaps the greatest shortcoming of thisSAT preparation book is the absence of techniques and methodologies. You just get a good question bank of 500+ questions without any strategies and how to approach the questions.

To sum up, this book is a great place to start drilling, especially if you are new to the test. But for those wanting to prepare for the rigors of the actual test with practice tests and more difficult questions, you’ll need another book.

To conclude, all the SAT preparation books mentioned have strengths and weaknesses, but combined provide relatively comprehensive prep in all the important areas: practice questions, content review, and strategies. If you’re looking to focus even more on a particular section, then you would benefit from subject-specific SAT preparation books. Try to find reliable sources online and discuss with an expert before starting your SAT Preparation. It is extremely crucial that you have the right guidance and the right SAT preparation books & material at your disposal or all your efforts will go down the drain.

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Momina’s SAT Preparation Journey to score 1540!

SAT preparation journey to 1540

Before I started my SAT preparation, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be able to score a 1540 on my SAT in my first attempt, but Sir Talal truly made me believe that it was a lot more than just possible. From helping me build crucial critical-thinking skills to making sure the clock didn’t take a toll on my nerves, each and every one of my weaknesses was taken great care of during this SAT preparation course. I am forever indebted to Sir Talal and Tutoria (Brightlink Prep SAT) for making my SAT preparation journey this easy! Here’s a breakdown of how I scored a 1540.

SAT preparation strategy for Reading section

Being an avid reader, copy editor, and published author, I was immensely overconfident about this section of the SAT. This high ultimately wore off when I started attempting practice tests. Although, I never scored what most students would refer to as “way too low” on this section, my score was just not consistent with my expectations. To overcome this phase of self-misinterpretation, I drew out a plan with the help of Sir Talal and began following it, religiously; attempting five to six reading sections (Kaplan and Collegeboard, mostly) as well as three to four time-bound quizzes, online. I also mastered the art of skimming through passages and not letting the irrelevant details faze me. Both of which, are of utmost importance when taking the SAT.

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A good tip to ace this section would be to attempt the questions backwards. That way, by the time you get to the main idea questions at the start, you’ll understand fully what the point of the passage is because you’ll already have attempted the tiny detail questions which ask you about the point of a specific paragraph or line.

SAT preparation strategy for Writing section

Just like the reading section, I thought I knew everything there was to know about grammar. That, however, wasn’t the case. Although I handled the questions pretty decently, I wanted to do a lot better. To help me with my semi-delusional state of mind, Sir Talal provided me with ample guidance on how to not overuse punctuation. With that in mind, I attempted approximately ten to thirteen writing sections, every single day.

Something I did to ace this section was correct badly written sentences I found, online. I know it sounds pretty generic, but it kept me on my toes, regarding this section.

SAT preparation strategy for Math section

This section undoubtedly gave me the hardest time as I hadn’t opted for Math in A levels, but I made sure it didn’t mess with my head too much by solving plenty of handpicked “must-do questions” which not only cleared my concepts, but also got me up to speed. The one-on-one sessions, manuals, and practice tests (from Princeton, Khan Academy, and Kaplan, mostly) helped immensely with my time-related issues, making me score high on this section, as well.

How to Avoid Silly Mistakes on the SAT!

A good tip to ace this section would be to attempt all four sections (heart of algebra, passport to advanced math, data analysis, and additional topics) of the math syllabus, separately. This’ll surely help anyone and everyone narrow down their weak points.

Overall, the only piece of advice I can give to my fellow SAT-takers is to make each and every second of their time count by making use of all the resources provided to them and not letting waves of overconfidence take a toll on their otherwise meticulous SAT preparation. Oh, and please don’t mistake your interests for your expertise when practicing for the SAT; those are two completely different things!

What to Read to Improve SAT Reading Score?

Improve SAT Reading Score

Best novels to read to improve SAT Reading Score

I’ll start by saying that memorizing words will not help you improve your SAT Reading Score! I have had students memorize ten or fifteen thousand words but to no avail. You need to understand the ideology of the SAT exam and how it is structured. The examiners expect you to comprehend language and how it is used in various scenarios rather than simply learning those words. The best way to get a better SAT Reading Score is by actually reading.

The SAT Reading section consists of certain types of passages:

  • 2 Science passages (contemporary science)
  • 2 Social Science passages (Economics, Psychology etc.)
  • 1 Literature Passage

It is important that you read English newspapers everyday because it offers all types of writing and categories that could help you with the SAT Reading passages. You can also come to know about the latest news and events that you could find in the SAT test. Moreover, newspapers are a good source if you want to learn economic or scientific jargon that will aid you in the exam.

Most students agree that the trickiest SAT Reading passages are the ones that come from the literature genre. Since we’re not accustomed to reading and thinking through literature with a more antiquated idiom, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with such literature.

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Students with excellent reading and comprehension skills find the Reading section of the SAT much easier to solve. Reading classic literature novels won’t only help you understand an archaic style passage on test day but will also enhance your vocabulary, making it even more easy for you to get a better SAT Reading Score. I recommend carrying a book with you at all times and read whenever you have a few spare minutes. Reading one to two chapters would make a great deal of difference. While reading, mark any unfamiliar words and define them when you return home. You never know, you might come across the same words on test day!

However, you must know that unlike the Old SAT, the New SAT doesn’t have a lot of archaic language unless a passage is based on an old speech or a constitution. Passages are now based on logic more often and they’re contemporary passages.

You can start with the ones you find most interesting to develop a habit of reading and chances are you’ve already heard of these novels. Below is a list of Literature Classics you could start with to improve your SAT Reading Score:

  1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  6. Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  7. As I lay dying by William Faulkner
  8. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  11. Native Son by Richard Wright
  12. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  13. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  14. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  15. Wuthering Heights By Emily Bronte
  16. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  17. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  18. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  19. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  20. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  21. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  22. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  23. Frankenstein by Marry Shelley
  24. Emma by Jane Austen
  25. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  26. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  27. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  28. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  29. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  30. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  31. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  33. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  34. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  35. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  36. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  37. King Lear By William Shakespeare
  38. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  39. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  40. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

The above list is just to get you started, obviously you can explore other classics based on your interests but I recommend sticking to the authors I have mentioned above i.e. Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy. Make sure you try to understand them in depth and most importantly make sure you know what the hard words mean in the books instead of ignoring them and reading ahead. Remember that the SAT asks vocabulary based questions so it’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you know what the strange looking word means.

Now let’s look at a couple of Social Science books to get you started with that dominion for a better SAT Reading Score:

  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  3. The Girl on the train by Ken Kesey
  4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  5. Room by Emma Donoghue
  6. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
  7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  8. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
  9. The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham
  10. King’s Shield by Sherwood Smith

Below is a list of Scientific novels to help you as well:

  1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  2. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  3. Ringworld by Larry Niven
  4. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  5. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
  6. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  7. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  8. Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov
  9. 2312 by Stanley Robinson
  10. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Like I mentioned before, these are just general lists to get you started. You can always add to your reading lists according to your interest but remember that you should choose a book that would help you improve your SAT Reading Score, otherwise it won’t serve the right purpose. You need to know specific vocabulary that you could come across on the exam rather than just regular words that they might not even ask you about. The Social Science and Science categories are different from the literature category and you might not be able to find the right material but you could always find the right articles regarding the two topics in newspapers so make sure to read the daily newspaper as well as the novels mentioned above (as many as you can) after which you will be able to say, “Bring on the SAT!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Silly Mistakes to Improve SAT Score?

How to Avoid Silly Mistakes to Improve SAT Score?

“How do I stop making silly mistakes on the SAT?” This is one of the most common questions asked by students seeking SAT exam tips to score well. My first tip for such students is always to relax: SAT is not a piece of cake so go easy on yourself!

Part of the problem is that students are looking for the wrong thing. When they ask me this question they expect me to hand them a pill that will cure this problem. There is no shortcut; the solution lies in a slow and steady approach to familiarize yourself with the questions you get on the test, followed by lots of practice. Practice! Practice! Practice!

The first thing you have to realize is that most stupid mistakes aren’t a result of stupidity or carelessness. They are a result of you not familiarizing yourself enough with the various question types.

You think that stupid mistakes are just, well, stupid but that’s not the case. Even if you knew how to solve the questions that doesn’t mean you didn’t need more practice or that better preparation wouldn’t have helped. Remember that when you’re really good at something, it’s almost impossible that you mess up. When you deeply understand the concepts you’re being tested on, you know what to look for and what answers to avoid. This helps you avoid any ‘silly’ mistake on test day because you develop a sixth sense when it comes to the questions. Mastery is the ultimate solution and the only way you can master SAT is by practicing. I cannot teach my students carefulness.

Other than practice, discipline is important as well. Make sure you focus on the material you’re learning instead solving practice exams while watching T.V thinking “Oh, its okay I’ll solve it properly on test day.” Let me assure you, you can’t just go through the motions during practice and then magically show up at your best on test day. How you do the practice tests are how you’ll do the real tests. Most students are unwilling to work through this period to develop habits that will help them on test day. They go through practice tests carelessly and don’t bother to read the questions more than once. This makes the actual test very hard for them to solve.

Before I go into the details of each section, let me give you a general overview of how to start. In the beginning, don’t worry about timing yourself. Just work on a single section at a time and focus on doing it the right way. Feel free to look up things as you go along, but don’t get distracted. All your attention should be on the test. There’s no point in calculating time when you don’t even know what to do. 

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1) MATH

  • Read the entire question even if it is long and boring.
  • Underline all the values given and all the questions asked
  • Write down short steps as to how you’ll solve the question. This will help you with a basic solving error, for example using the wrong value at a certain step.
  • Draw neat and accurate diagrams so you understand the scenario that is being talked about in the question. This helps you know when you’ve misjudged the length of a side or a size of an angle.
  • After finding an answer, read the question again and check whether you’ve solved the right thing.
  • The SAT Math section has two types of questions: Grid-ins and MCQs (13 Grid-ins and 45 MCQs)
  • It is necessary that you carefully grid-in your answers. Sometimes students tend to grid the answer incorrectly in a hurry so make sure you’re careful. I suggest practicing gridding-in your answers in practice tests.
  • For MCQ type questions, make sure you evaluate all the options instead of just picking out the option that looks correct to you.
  • If being thorough means you run out of time then you need more practice. The SAT gives you enough time to complete the exam so practice to minimize time lost.
  • Officially, Collegeboard breaks down the math section in 4 categories:
  1. 19 Heart of Algebra questions (linear equations, systems of linear equations, and inequalities)
  2. 17 Problem Solving and Data Analysis questions (ratios, proportions, percentages, units, quantitative data, probabilities)
  3. 16 Passport to advanced math questions (equivalent algebraic expressions, quadratic equations, exponential functions, other nonlinear equations and functions)
  4. 6 Additional topics in Math questions (basic trigonometry, the geometry of area, volume, lines, angles, shapes)

It is absolutely essential that you practice all these topics thoroughly and have an in-depth understanding of every concept.

2) READING

  • How you read a passage is the key to this section. I have a blog on how you should approach a passagen and increase your reading speed. Write down short summaries alongside each paragraph while reading so you know what information each paragraph provides and minimum time is wasted trying to look for the answer.
  • Be thorough with all the options given to you. Know why the correct option is correct. Similarly, know why the other three options are incorrect. This may cost you a lot of time in the beginning but with ample practice, you will develop this habit and end up not only saving time but being sure that you’ve picked the right option. So when you’re 70% sure about the right choice at least you’ll be 100% sure about the wrong ones. Do this for all the questions, not just the hard ones.
  • Cross out the options that are “most wrong” and get them out of the way.
  • Try to answer the question in your head before going through the options. This is the single most common habit of students who have achieved high scores.
  • Try not to answer the questions based on what you remember from the passage. Go back to the lines that contain the answer for confirmation. Remember, everything is written in the passage. You must back your answers up with reasoning from the passage.
  • Read the passage carefully and do not skip lines thinking they aren’t useful.
  • There are certain question types when it comes to the Reading section of the SAT exam:
  1. Infer/Imply/Suggest

Be careful when you come across these words. In real life, these words ask for your opinion but in SAT they don’t. It’s actually a comprehension question that requires you to get back to the passage and read again. In these questions, the answer isn’t straightforward but there is plenty of evidence present.

  1. Vocabulary in Context

These questions may seem simple to most students but they are actually tricky. Students tend to simply define the word and figure out what it means but they ignore the CONTEXT in which it has been used in the passage. You have to pick out a choice that links the word’s meaning to the context of the passage and how it’s been used.

  1. Main Idea/ Purpose of the Passage

Usually, this question is the first to be asked and it asks about the purpose of the passage, the main idea, shifts in the passage and the narrative point of view. I suggest solving this question at the end because by then you’d have understood the theme of the passage well by thoroughly reading and answering questions related to it.

  1. Charts and Graphs

The graphs and charts in this section are pretty straightforward as compared to the Math section. You just have to make sure you’re reading the values correctly and use your pencil in connecting the readings so you avoid error.

  1. Paired Passages/Dual Passages

While solving these passages make sure not to jumble up ideas of both texts and instead, read one passage at a time and solve its respective questions before starting the second passage. Focus on the differences of the ideas mentioned because you’ll most likely be asked about the differences. However, highlight the similarities as well just in case you come across a question asking for them. If a question is about what is supported by both passages, make sure that you find specific support in both passages, and be wary of all the usual trap answers. When asked how the author of one passage would react to the other passage, find out what that specific author said on the topic being discussed in the other passage.

3) WRITING

For every grammar question, make a habit of linking a grammar concept with the question so you don’t rely on your ear to check what sounds right. That invites a bunch of mistakes you don’t want to make. If your concept of grammar is well polished, you won’t have a problem making this a habit and answering the question correctly. Certain grammar rules, like punctuation usage, appear far more often than other rules. But because we’re going for perfection, you’ll need to know even the less-common rules.

In my SAT test preparation at Tutoria, I thoroughly go through the following topics which are most frequently tested on the SAT:

  • Punctuation
  • Sentence Structure
  • Conventional Expression (aka idioms)
  • Possessives
  • Agreement
  • Parallel Structure
  • Modifiers
  • Verb Tense
  • Pronouns 
  • In SAT Writing, most questions have a NO CHANGE option. In Improving Sentences types, A is the answer choice that doesn’t change the underlined section. The SAT loves tricking students using these answer choices, because it knows that students who don’t know grammar rules won’t see anything wrong with the sentence. NO CHANGE is a really easy answer to choose. Be very careful whenever you choose one of these NO CHANGE answer choices. Typically, these are correct answers around 25% of the time—not much more. If you find that you’re choosing NO CHANGE 40% of the time, you’re definitely not detecting grammar errors well enough.
  • Aside from grammar rules, the other major category of questions in SAT Writing is what we call “Rhetoric.” These questions concern how to make persuasive arguments and construct logical sentences, paragraphs, and essays. The Collegeboard also calls this “Expression of Ideas.”

Unlike sentences with incorrect grammar, sentences in rhetoric questions don’t usually have anything technically wrong with them. Instead, the SAT is testing you to find more effective ways to construct the sentence or passage. Here’s a rundown of the types, from most common to least:

  • Sentence Function
  1. “At this point, the writer is considering adding the following sentence…Should the writer make   this addition here?”
  • Concision
  1. “Which choice most effectively combines the two sentences at the underlined portion?”
  • Transition
  1. These questions underline a key transition word in between sentences or phrases. You need to pick the transition that makes the most sense.
  2. Example: “This assertion is not supported by scientific research. For instance, one review published in…”
  • Logical sequence
  1. “To make this paragraph most logical, sentence 2 should be placed…”
  2. These questions require you to order the sentences to get the most logical flow.
  • Precision
  1. These questions underline a word or phrase and ask you to pick the best replacement for them. This is as close to a vocab test as the SAT gets.
  2. Example: “The reason for Siqueiros’s secrecy became clear when the mural was confided.” Answer choices: A) NO CHANGE, B) promulgated, C) imparted, D) unveiled.
  • Quantitative
  1. These questions are the only ones in SAT writing that deal with graphs and data. You’re usually asked to make sense of figures in the context of the text.
  2. Note – if you don’t consider yourself a math person, don’t be scared – the graphs are never super complex. But you do need to be able to read graphs and charts quickly.
  3. “Which choice offers an accurate interpretation of the data in the chart?”
  • Style and tone
  1. These questions deal with maintaining the tone of the article – if it’s a professional science article, it shouldn’t use words like “icky” or “okay.”
  2. Example: “The writer wants to convey an attitude of ___. Which choice best accomplishes the goal?”
  3. Even though questions of a single type look the same, they do vary significantly in difficulty. The difficulty depends on how subtle the answer choices are and the passage context.

Once again, in my prep session at Tutoria, I break down every single Rhetoric skill and have hundreds of practice questions to drill them to perfection.

By now, you should have a good idea of what you need to do to stop making stupid mistakes. Stupid mistakes reflect your preparation as a whole. If you know the concepts and you know how to tackle each question, the answers come quicker and you have more time to be thorough. If you’re unprepared, uncertainty inevitably creeps in and so too do the careless mistakes.

Remember that nothing will happen overnight and significant improvement will come with time and thorough study sessions.

While preparing for SAT, I wanted to pull my hair out especially when I didn’t see results. Sometimes, my score would drop from one practice test to the next. I’ve been through what you are right now and I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it. The hard work and all nighters are all worth it, just hang in there! It’ll all be over soon. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LUMS Undergraduate FEE Structure 2017-2018

LUMS attracts most of my students and so I’m frequently asked about the details of the fee and cost required to graduate from there. Before I walk you through the fee structure along with other costs, let me give you a few other points that you’ll need to know.

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  • Tuition Fee at LUMS for all undergraduate programs is based on the number of credit hours taken.
  • The cost per credit-hour at LUMS for undergraduate programs for 2018-19 is PKR 26,000/-. You will be responsible for buying your own books and other reading material.
  • For all undergraduate programs at LUMS, full-time status requires 12 credit hours per semester. Students who have paid full-time tuition can take up to a maximum of 20 credit hours per semester without any additional charge (i.e. a student who has paid full-time tuition fee can take between 12-20 credit hours per semester without any extra charge).
  • SBASSE undergraduate students will be charged Lab charges for the maximum of 4 years only. SBASSE students who require to take courses beyond this will not be charged any additional Lab charges (if 4 years lab fee has already been charged).
  • Through an amendment in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 by Finance Act 2013, advance tax (under section 236 I) shall be collected at 5% on the entire amount of fee (if Student Payable exceeds Rs. 200,000/- per annum excluding the amount refundable).
  • In case of withdrawal from the program, fee will be refunded according to the fee refund policy available at LUMS website
  • University fees are usually announced once a year, for the following academic year. However, fee rates are subject to change without notice
  • Fee payment instructions are given on the fee voucher: LUMS also has an online payment facility
  • Students that live outside Lahore are a priority when it comes to allocating hostel rooms as compared to the ones who live in Lahore

Tutoria’s student gets 1560! Read his story.

Now, let’s move on with the fee structure:

  • The total cost of the undergraduate programs (12-20 hours) is Rs. 312,000/- (per semester) so that adds to Rs.624,000/- per year
  • If you need additional credit hours the cost of per credit hour is Rs. 26,000/-
  • The admission for undergraduate sessions is Rs. 72,700/- (One time charge)
  • Undergraduate sessions require a registration fee of Rs. 23,150/-  (per semester)
  • Lab Charges (For SBASSE Undergraduate program only) will cost Rs. 59,950/-  (per semester)
  • Security Deposit (Refundable) for Undergraduate and Graduate program is Rs. 19,800/- (One time charge)
  • Hostel Charges:
    • A total of Rs. 34,800/- (Per Semester)
    • Hostel Registration fee is Rs. 1,900/- (Per Year)
    • Hostel Security (Refundable) will cost Rs. 17,300/ (One time charge)

I hope this was helpful 🙂

How to Register for the SAT Exam!

How to register for the SAT exam- Step by step instructions

During SAT exam season, I am fully prepared for my phone to be bombarded by urgent text messages from my freaked out students who have started registering for their exam. Hearing “What do I do next?”, “I don’t know my postal code, is that okay?” and “When is the right time to register?” are just some of the many questions I am asked. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through all the steps so your life is made easier and I find peace in mine too! :p
Before I start with the step-by-step process, let me give you a few pointers and important reminders as to what you require for the SAT exam.

1) Get your passport made pronto! If you already have one, make sure to check if it’s expired or not. I have had students who had to go back home from the test center just because their passport was expired and the authorities didn’t let them take their text.

2) Register at least 8-10 weeks before the actual test day so you have ample options of test centers to choose from and also so you actually have a chance to show up for the test.

3) It is important that you choose a test center near you so you’re familiar with the route and chances of being late are close to none. If the center is close to your house it would also take you less time to reach there. No one wants to go on a long drive before a nerve wrecking exam!

4) A credit card to pay your exam fee

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Now let’s get on with the instructions on how to register for the SAT.

1. Create your own account on Collegeboard.org

2. Next, it is going to ask you what kind of account you want to create. Click on ‘I am a Student’.

3. This opens up a page for you to plug-in your general student information. Now this part is super-critical and where most students face trouble – so listen closely. For Pakistan, students taking the SAT exam need a valid passport. So, all your information in your SAT registration page here needs to be exactly the same as that on your passport.

Let’s begin with the name. Your “first name” should match with the “given name” on your passport e.g. my given name on the passport is Talal Ali so I will put that in the First Name field. The “surname” on your passport corresponds to the “Last Name” field on the collegeboard, e.g. my surname on the passport is Jan so I will put that in the last name field. I don’t have a middle initial on my passport so I will leave that field blank. Pakistani passports don’t have a middle initial field.

4. Select date of birth – and it should be exactly the one stated on your passport. Mine is June, 5th, 1991.

5. Every time you create an account on college board, you will be asked to use a new or different email address. You cannot make multiple college board accounts using the same email address. After that, put your high school graduation date, that is when you complete you’re A level or High School or Intermediate. Mine was June 2009 so I will write that.

6. After that you will be asked to put zip/postal code. You don’t have to put anything here; simply tick the button which states “outside US” and you are good to go on the next step.

7. You are required to write your school name and branch in the field which states “where do you go to school”. If your school name is listed, well and good and if it is not don’t worry. Leave this field blank and move forward.

8. Now you are required to create your username and password. It’s preferred that your username should contain your first name and/or last name.

9. Choose a security question and remember it. It will help in case you forget your username or password.

10. Do not subscribe to anything, you will keep getting emails.

11. Parent Information is not required so skip that.

12. Agree with terms and conditions and with data transfer policy and click next.

13. You will now be directed to a new page to confirm the information you have entered. Please check your information thoroughly; it should match the information on the passport.

14. Visit the page and click “Register Now” or “Register for the SAT”

15. After signing in to your account you’ll be taken to “MY SAT” page. On the bottom right you’ll find a blue button that would read “Register for the SAT” or “Register for another SAT” (If you’ve taken the exam before). Click that button

16. Another page will open where you’ll be told that it’ll take 30-40 minutes for the registration. Click Continue

The next step is to solve the long questionnaires. Some of them are very important while others are not. I’ll mention along the way the ones you’ll need to focus on.

17. Personal Information (VERY IMPORTANT): Make sure every information you put in this part of the questionnaire is correct because they’ll associate your exam to this information and track it as well.
You will be asked to verify your name. Make sure you check your name again to confirm whether it matches with the name on your passport or not. You won’t be allowed to change your name after this because this field will get locked. SSN is not required so please skip this.

18. You will provide your expected date of graduation (May or June followed by your graduation year) and the grade level. You will select 12th grade or higher if you are in A1, A2, Fsc student or senior year of high school. You might get an error saying your grade level and graduation date are inconsistent. Do not worry about this and tick the small box which states “No, I do not wish to make any changes, accept my response.”

19. And then write your mailing address. Do not use hyphens, commas or dashes while writing your address: you might get an error. If you do, try couple of iterations of your mailing address and it will work. Don’t panic if the system doesn’t validate your address.

20. Postal code is optional but you can put 54000 which is the postal code of Lahore.

21. After that you don’t have to answer each and every question. For most of the questions you can simply tick “I do not wish to respond” for example if it is asked “Tell us about your parents” simply tick “I do not wish to respond” and move on.

Tutoria’s Student gets 1550! Learn from his success story.

22. Demographics (NOT IMPORTANT): The College Board uses this information to do statistics on its test takers. All of this is optional and has zero impact on your score or college admissions.

23. Create Student Profile (NOT IMPORTANT): None of this is important to your score. The College Board shares this information with colleges so they can send you spam mail. If you want mails from colleges or want to learn about schools you might not have known about, then fill this out accurately. Say “No” to student search service if you do not wish to hear from Collegeboard or other colleges who are looking for students like you.

24. To Reiterate (Each of the subsections are NOT worth your time): This all includes Collegeboard course work, Activities and college plans that you don’t need to get into.

25. Select Test and Centre (THIS IS WHAT MATTERS THE MOST): The terms and conditions you’ll come across summarize two main points which are basically that you promise not to cheat and discussing the answers with someone else.

26. Choose Your Test and Date: Next, you’ll choose your test date. If you have testing accommodations or a fee waiver, this is where you enter that information.
Select SAT with essay for SAT 1 and SAT subject tests if you are giving SAT 2. Sat essay is compulsory for us as it is required by almost all the universities even LUMS so please select the essay. You will be charged extra for it but that’s okay.

27. Choose Your Test Center: Look for the centers that are close to you.

28. Upload Photo (IMPORTANT): Follow the instructions the website offers and choose a clear picture of yourself.

29. Make the Payment: Make sure you have a credit card or a debit card at hand. If you want to register via debit card, you will first have to call your bank and request them to open it up for an international transaction. Once they do that, you can make the payment.

So this is the entire process of registering for the SAT exam. If you skip the pages that I’ve told you, you’ll register in hardly 10 minutes.