26% increase in SAT test takers in 2013-14:  Lisa Jain, College Board
Updated on Dec 19, 2014 - 5:37 p.m. IST by Abhay Anand

Lisa Jain, the Country Representative of College Board in India talks about the major differences between SAT and AP tests, the number of test takers from India and preparation strategy so that the students can get high score to obtain a seat in their dream university abroad. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: A candidate willing to go abroad for higher education should prioritize what between SAT and AP?
The SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) Programs serve different purposes in the college admission process, and in preparing students for higher education.

The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test, and many colleges/universities in the U.S. and other parts of the world, require it as a mandatory part of the college application. The test aims at assessing subject matter and problem solving skills learned by students in high school in three areas – critical reading, mathematics, and writing. SAT Subject Tests are also as an admission test, but they allow students to demonstrate content strength in particular subjects of their choice. Subject Tests are made mandatory by certain universities, whereas others might recommend them or not need them at all.

The AP Program, on the other hand, consists of college-level courses and exams that students can take in high school. AP is not a compulsory part of the college application. Instead, taking AP courses helps students stand out in the college admissions process, by demonstrating to admission officers that they have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them. AP Exams also allow students to earn college credit or advanced placement before they begin college, which can help them to graduate early, save tuition fees, pursue a double major, move into upper level courses sooner, gain time to complete an internship etc. AP also allows students to develop the skills that are necessary for success in college and future careers.

For students considering study abroad, the key thing is to prioritize the right thing at the right time. The SAT is administered 6 times a year, so students should try and take the SAT between October-December in Grade 11. In the beginning of Grade 12, in May-June, students can then take AP Exams or Subject Tests. Planning is key, to avoid stress and not get overwhelmed by the application process.

Q: Kindly tell us the number of students who take SAT exam and AP exam each year in India?
A: We have witnessed the highest growth in SAT volumes in India in the last administration cycle (2013 Oct – 2014 June). The SAT volumes in India grew by 22% from 2011 to 2012, by 12% from 2012 to 2013, and by 26% from 2013 to 2014. As more and more Indian high school students aspire to study overseas, and as a larger number of colleges and universities in India begin to use the SAT as a component of their college admissions process, I expect the SAT volumes in India to continue increasing in the coming years.

Similarly, the Advanced Placement (AP) Program in India has been very well received.  The number of AP Exams taken by students in India increased by 20% from May 2011 to May 2012, and by 50% between May 2012 and 2013. The 2014 AP Exams were administered at designated schools and test centers in 11 cities across India, and the AP exam volumes in 2014 have been significantly higher than ever before.

Q: What are the preparation recommendations you would like to suggest to Indian students?
A: It is essential to practice for standardized tests such as the SAT. Students can find many free and paid resources on the College Board website, such as ‘Question of the Day’, free practice questions, the Official SAT Guide, and an online course. Students can also log on to the Khan Academy website to work through hundreds of previously unreleased practice problems from actual SAT exams, accompanied by more than 200 videos that show how to solve the problems step-by-step. It is important for students to identify their skill gaps during practice, and then work on improving in the areas where they are weak. Just completing practice tests one after the other, without reflecting on the result, is not an effective way to practice.

An excellent way to prepare for the SAT early is to take the PSAT in Grade 9, 10 or 11. The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), is a comprehensive, standardized assessment administered at schools in October that helps prepare students for the SAT. Research conducted in the US indicates that students who take PSAT score up to 189 points higher on their SAT.

The PSAT Score Report provides a detailed skill breakdown and performance review, helping students identify their strength and weakness areas so that they can adopt smarter and more effective strategies while preparing for SAT and other similar tests. The PSAT is less than 1/4 the price of the SAT, so it’s very cost effective.

The PSAT can be used by students as a first-step diagnostic assessment to gauge where they stand. The questions on the PSAT test knowledge and skills that are covered in high school. Hence, coaching or test preparation for the PSAT is not required or recommended.

Given the nature of the PSAT and topics covered in the test, it can be useful even for those students who don’t want to take the SAT, but are focusing on preparing for other similar multiple-choice standardized tests for admission into foreign or Indian universities.

Q: Would like to know what type of universities and courses students are looking at presently.
A: We can look at ‘SAT Score Sends’ as an indicator of which universities/colleges students are interested in applying to. The top 5 U.S. universities that Indian students have sent their SAT scores to, last year, are University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Cornell University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Michigan.

Some others that feature in the top 20 list of universities that received the maximum number of SAT scores from Indian students are Princeton, New York University, Boston University, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, University of Texas at Austin and Purdue.

Engineering, Sciences, and Business continue to be popular areas of study for Indian students. 

Q: Is College Board offering any special programme for students who want to go abroad?
A: The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization founded in 1900 with a goal to expand access to higher education. Each year, the College Board helps more than 7 million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT®, PSAT/NMSQT® and the Advanced Placement Program®.

BigFuture is a free, comprehensive website run by the College Board that guides students in preparing for, finding, and enrolling in colleges that are a good fit for them. Indian students can benefit tremendously from this resource, as it provides them with very useful information about colleges and universities in the U.S. and many other countries such as Canada, UK and Singapore.

Also Read:

Difference between SAT and ACT
SAT Test syllabus
SAT Test Eligibility

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Showing 47 out of 47 Questions

hi sir jee 2020 my percentel 96.5141161.my home state Karnataka . sc category wide i want computer science course seat in you college pl send me answer.

Singampalli sai rahul Student Expert 14th Feb, 2020
Hello aspirant,

Based on your percentile score and cadte I will list out the top colleges in which you can get a seat in CSE Branch-

  • IIIT Delhi - Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIITD)
  • DTU - Delhi Technological University (DCE)
  • Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology
  • UIET - University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University

Jee Mains college predictor tool-https://engineering.careers360.com/jee-main-college-predictor

What is the difference between subject SAT test and General SAT ???If one has to give SAT for biology what will be the syllabus ???

hrithik jain 10th Feb, 2020


The main and the biggest difference is that General SAT tests for the general Knowledge and critical reasoning while SAT subject test your knowledge in specific areas say: biology, math etc.

Also, General SAT is around 3 hours paper whereas, SAT subject is a 1 hour paper. General SAT is offered for around 7 times a year and SAT Subject is offered for like 6 times a year that too, depending on the subject (date wise).

There are two test for SAT Biology- Biology (E) and Biology (M), you cannot take both of them on the same date. (E) stands for Ecological and (M) for Molecular. The syllabus topics are as follows:

1. Cellular and Molecular Biology- 15%(E) and 27%(M)

2. Ecology - 23%(E) and 13%(M)

3. Genetics - 15%(E) and 20%(M)

4. Organismal Biology- 25%(E) and 25%(M)

5.  Evolution and Diversity - 22%(E) 15%(M )

*Consider these figures to be approximate and cross check before finalizing.


Can I get admission into IIT or NIT based on my SAT subject test scores?? if so how to apply for it???

Koyel Bagchi 8th Feb, 2020


No iit or nit can not accepts sat.

Because the majority of students are selects here through jee not by their talents. Even if the pattern of jee is changed then also it is not similar as sat.

Hope it helps you.

Thank you.


I am going to complete my 11th standard in March 2020.Then can I write SAT exam in the month of June 2020.

AnkiT KunwaR 3rd Feb, 2020
Hello Aspirant,

Basically there is no eligibility criteria specifically for SAT 2020. Generally candidates can opt for the exam in their junior or senior years of high school (Indian Grades 11th or 12th), to be precise, aspirants are roughly between 17 or 18 years of age.

So, you will be eligible for SAT 2020.

Good Luck

Can a student from India take the SAT exam if he/she is homeschooled?

Aishwarya Bp 28th Jan, 2020


Yes you can take SAT exam even if he/she is home schooled.

You have to register online,Once you're done registering you will get an admission ticket.

You can ask for a fee waiver if you're home schooled from a counselor at the local public high school. one must provide eligibility proof like tax records, public assistance records, or record of enrollment in an aid program  to the conselor.

Hope it helps

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