‘For those who will be taking the SAT soon, don’t stress too much about the scores. Just that if you compare to yourself and you get higher points, that’s a win’. This is the message from the College Board representative during a meeting with The Vietnam Foundation.
Attending the meeting between College Board and The Vietnam Foundation there were Mr. Haike Zhao, the Associate Director of International Market Management from the College Board, Mr. Do Ngoc Minh, the Co-Founder of the Khan Academy Vietnam (KAV) program; Mr. Kieu Huy Hoa, the Director of the KAV program, along with their team participated on behalf of The Vietnam Foundation (VNF). Additionally, the meeting included the presence of Mr. Andrew Dalton, the Director of Education and the Founding Principal of the International School @ParkCity Hanoi (ISPH). Especially with the participation of the class monitors from the SAT Open Class, the students who have been acing the SAT exam have brought an enthusiastic atmosphere with numerous questions related to the SAT exam.
Manh Thang, one of the SAT Open Class’s class monitors, asked, “How does the SAT measure college readiness?”
Mr. Haike emphasized that the SAT exam is not a language proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL. The purpose of the SAT (or AP) is to measure a student’s readiness for college, i.e., their ability to perform well upon entering university, their ability to adapt to the university program and environment, and their likelihood of graduating. For example, when assessing reading and writing skills, the SAT evaluates a student’s comprehension within specific contexts and situations. In the case of the College Board’s Math assessment, questions are interconnected as a “sequence” so that if a student answers the first question incorrectly but answers the subsequent ones correctly, they can still assess the student’s critical thinking and accurately gauge each student’s capability, as opposed to relying solely on correct or incorrect answers.
It can be seen that not only reading, writing, and mathematics but also critical thinking, teamwork, communication skills, professional writing skills, presentation skills, and a variety of other soft skills are evaluated on the SAT. Therefore, preparing for the SAT and conquering the SAT exam will equip students with a more comprehensive set of skills.
Bao Chau, another class monitor, raised an interesting question to Mr. Haike Zhao: “Vietnamese students are confident in the Math section, but the reading and writing part in the SAT exam still seem challenging. Do you have any advice for them?”
The College Board representative affirmed that Vietnamese students are committed to their studies and treat them seriously. Every student is talented in a different way. “I know that you have had to study very hard. You spend a full day in class, extracurricular activities and even open class… It’s a lot for a student. For me, if you can prove what you’ve mastered, whether it’s academic knowledge or real-life experience, that’s already a success. Numbers don’t matter that much. Many universities are available and you can find a suitable one, not only the Ivy League Schools. Which university has the most CEOs? Never heard of it right? So if you take the SAT soon and can prove your academic skills, that’s the best. If you compare yourself and get higher points, that’s a win. Don’t compare yourself to others. That’s too much pressure on a student.”
Furthermore, he advised students that in order to excel on the SAT or AP, they should have a solid grasp of the fundamental knowledge taught in the classroom and supplement it with SAT/AP study materials from Khan Academy. Mastery requires both time and a rigorous study process. Diligent study and discipline are the keys to achieving high scores in these exams.
In order to perform well in the reading and writing section, he added, students can learn from everyday life materials and do not need to overly rely on the College Board’s resources. As for Math, Mr. Andrew stated that the essence of mathematical skills is the ability to solve math problems and apply mathematical knowledge to real-life situations. This distinguishes outstanding students. Students should be encouraged to study mathematics in English, which will help them understand the essence of the problem and explain the results instead of simply knowing how to solve them.
In addition to providing Vietnamese students with confidence-building tips for the SAT, the College Board representative and The Vietnam Foundation aligned their vision and strategy to implement free SAT and AP classes in Vietnam through the Khan Academy platform, promising a strong partnership in the near future.