The goal of the French SAT (as well as all the language SATs) is to test your knowledge and comprehension of written and spoken French. Remember that this is a standardized exam where every question comes in multiple-choice format.
The French Subject Test is a great way to highlight your knowledge of writing and listening to French and demonstrate your interest in the French language in the eyes of a college's admissions board. Evermore, a good, high score could help you place out of introductory-level French courses.
Keep in mind that there is no magic formula to help you score a high grade; for that to happen you need to prep beforehand, practice a bunch on the online practice tests, use all the resources available to you like the SAT books or pdf documents you can find online. With this amount of preparation, you are guaranteed the best scores.
With that in mind, get ready to ace the SAT tests with the tips we have for you in this article. You can also download this free guide available on the College Board site in pdf format.
If you feel like you could benefit from some extra help you can always consider private tutoring as an option, just make sure you find a tutor with experience teaching SAT.
Also, be sure to check our French SAT study guide.
We've created a list of tips that will come in handy to students during test time. But we'd first like to remind you that you should study really hard to know the subject well before the exam. You should prep at least a few months before.
College admissions take a good look at your test results, so make sure you are ready to ace the exam. There many books in your school library that will help you study, as well as other resources online.
Here are some tips to follow during the test:
- Read each question carefully
- Answer the easy ones first (or the ones you know the answer to)
- The test is organized in an "easy to hardest" manner. Try to answer the first ones first.
- When in doubt, eliminate the options you know are incorrect so you are left with fewer options and increase your probabilities to get the correct answer.
- Skip the ones you are not sure about. A wrong answer will lose you points, an empty one won't.
- Your answer sheet should be kept as neat as possible.
- Circle the questions you skipped on the booklet so that you can go back if you have time left.
- Work at a steady pace. Always keep moving, don't get stuck on any question.
- Keep track of time. Check your progress and know where you are and how much time you have left.
- Remember that the machine only reads No. 2 pencils, bring the right one and fill in the circles completely.
Topics on the Test
Knowing the topics that are going to be on the test or exam is the first step you need to take to organize your study methodology, review your course notes and manage your time properly. A subject should never take you by surprise!
There are three skills the test is going to measure from your level of French. First is vocabulary in a context that accounts for 30% of the final score. Second, for 30% - 40% of the score, you'll answer questions about structure. The last section is reading comprehension and it accounts for the last 30% - 40% of the score.
Remember that you will have 60 minutes to answer 85 multiple-choice questions.
French with listening
The listening section takes 20 minutes and it accounts for 35% of your score. You'll be asked questions about pictures (8 - 12 questions), short dialogues (10 - 12 questions), and long dialogues (10 - 15 questions).
You'll then have 40 minutes to complete the reading section, which accounts for 60% of your score. Here you'll be expected to answer questions about vocabulary (16 - 20 questions), structure (16 - 20 questions), and reading comprehension (20 - 25 questions).
Remember there are approximately 90 multiple choice questions that you'll have to answer in 60 minutes.
The SAT exams are designed to test in full all the skills and knowledge that a student has learned in school. They want to know how much you've learned but also these exams are going to prepare you for what's ahead in college.
Students often wonder what exactly are the skills they need (or the ones they already learned), or what to review and study for. This is why you need to do a thorough check through the College Board site and understand what the exam is about.
We also recommend you check the site and download any free guide or find and use any resources available to you, they might just help you perform best.
If you took a French course and wish to take the SAT for it, here are the skills they will test students on during the exam:
- Knowing vocabulary and what it represents within a cultural context.
- Skill to select the correct word or expression in a grammatically correct context. A question (or two) where the student has to identify the correct use of vocabulary and structure in paragraphs.
- Understanding and identifying setting, passage, supporting ideas, and themes. The sample texts are taken from novels, essays, historical works, magazine or newspaper articles, and even text on advertising, tickets, timetables, or forms.
If you still have a question or two you might also want to see our guide on the Benefits of taking the French SAT.
Preparing for the test
Now, we already gave you our tips on how to get ready for the exam, but we thought we should show you what the College Board suggests as preparation for the SAT of this course.
Preparing for these tests is not something you do overnight because these exams are designed to test your knowledge on a subject you've been learning for a long time. So make sure you've studied this language for a couple of years before you decide to take the exam.
According to the College Board, students should study the language between 3 to 4 years in high school or an intensive 2-year program outside class.
Improve your comprehension and ability to speak French over a long period of time. This means that if you're a senior but started learning French this year, you should wait at least a whole full year to see if you're gonna wanna take the test.
Finally, they suggest students review the listening sample inquiries, which come in a practice CD.
Feel free to check our article on how hard is the French SAT and make sure you've prep accordingly, done the practice tests, and studied hard.
Remember you can always find help in private tutoring, especially if you find a tutor with experience on standardized tests and the subject (someone who speaks French well would be best).