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More Chinese students taking SAT in Singapore

Publication Date : 17-07-2014


Some Singapore students planning to take the SAT in October for early admission into American universities next year have hit a hurdle.

Several hundred students from China are estimated to have signed up for the October test here, two major SAT coaching companies have told The Straits Times, leaving students here without test places.

The Chinese usually take the SAT in Hong Kong, as the test is not easily available in China. But a mix-up in test dates in the special administrative region has caused many to turn to Singapore instead.

The SAT, formerly called the Scholastic Assessment Test, is offered six times a year at six to eight centres here. It consists of a reasoning test and subject tests, which must be taken on separate dates. Most students here take the reasoning test and at least two, if not three, subject tests.

Local students have appealed to the United States-based College Board, which runs the examination, to open up more seats.

At some schools such as Anglo Chinese School (International), students have been advised to consider taking an alternative US college entrance test, the ACT.

A-level holder Anna Lee, 20, who wants to resit the SAT in October in the hope of improving her scores, said she is in a panic.

"The deadline for early admissions is November for many American universities. I have written to the College Board asking them to find me a place but there is nothing as yet," she said.

There are no SAT test dates here in July, August or September. It is not known how many Singapore students have failed to get a spot in the October sitting.

When contacted, a spokesman for the College Board declined to say how many students from China have signed up for the October test here, but said it was aware of the "particularly high" demand.

She also did not reveal the total number of SAT test places offered here each year, but coaching companies estimate that there are about 8,000.

She added that officials are "actively working" to increase capacity in locations where students wish to take the SAT.

She also advised affected students to select the option to "ask the College Board to find a seat for you", found at the bottom of the test centre's selection page, when registering online.

Jeremy Craig from Testtakers, a company which runs SAT preparation courses here, said students who want to apply for early admission will be disadvantaged if they miss out on the October date.

"Many students here take both the reasoning test and subject tests, which they have to take on separate dates. For early decisions, the applications should be in by the end of November."

Second-year junior college students have to sit the A levels in November, so October would be the last test date, he added.

Rita Kaur, careers and higher education adviser at ACS (International), said she plans to meet a few of her affected students to advise them on options.

In China, only around 50 secondary schools - usually international ones - are allowed to offer the tests to their enrolled students, regardless of nationality or country of origin.

The Chinese media reported that every year, 40,000 students from China sit the test in Hong Kong, with many also going to Singapore and South Korea.

New Oriental Education and Technology Group, the biggest SAT preparation company in China, did not give any figures when contacted but said that it sells examination tour packages to Singapore for students to take the SAT and also enjoy the sights here.

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