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What does it take to get a high score?

Popularity 1Viewed 991 times 2019-6-8 06:58 |System category:News

I've taught English in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, off and on for the past 8 years. I came here with the intention of staying only one year. When I saw the desperate need for quality English education, I knew that I could help. So, I've stayed.

Right now, we are in the season of the Gaokao. Tens of thousands of high school seniors have been cramming for months, if not years, for this once in a lifetime exam. In late August, students who desire to study abroad, will be taking the next offering of the 'Meiguo Gaokao' or, as it is known throughout the world, the SAT.

The SAT is primarily made up of two parts. Math and English. Even though some questions refer to science, sociology, ecology, industry and humanity, all information needed to answer such questions are imbedded in the context of the passage and question. The English part is called 'evidence based reading and writing.' Some students find relief in the fact that they aren't tested on speaking. However, that relief is short-lived when they also realize that TOEFL or IELTS, both English assessment exams, are also required for studying in a native English speaking country. Both of these exams test a student's speaking. Of course, when they study in a native English speaking country, they will need to be proficient in English.

The average score for my students who have taken the SAT currently stands at 1530. I've had students as high as 1580 (out of a possible 1600) and as low as 1480. What is interesting is that the girl who scored the lowest, 1480, is now in her fourth year at Princeton University. My student with the highest score was recently accepted to the University of Chicago which is ranked anywhere from No. 3 to No. 9 top university in the world.

What I discoverd is, that even though Chinese and other Asian students can consistently score high in math (two of my students got a perfect 800 score in math), they also can exceed the average score in English. Likewise, they can score higher in English than native English speaking students. In fact, overall for the exam, Asian students score 5.3% higher than their Western counterparts.

What does it take to get a high score?

It takes dedicated and hard-working students and experienced and skilled teachers (or tutors) to achieve high scores. Any score over 1500 will qualify a student for candidancy for admission to any college or university in the world. For example, the average score of students at Harvard is 1530.

I'm including a chart that was created by the National Education Statistics Administration of the U.S. government. You'll find that Asian students do in fact score higher on the SAT by 5.3%.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report voice_cd 2019-6-9 09:29
Thanks for sharing, and we have highlighted your blog.

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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


Recent comments

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    cmknight: "The school I work at tells me to concentrate on pronunciation and oral speaking skills only, the students will get grammar lessons from their re ...
    I read a language expert recently who said, "Language isn't learned from grammar; Grammar is learned from language." She was a polyglot that had learned about a dozen languages. She claimed no special skills or talents.

    I think that her meaning was clear. Grammar should be naturally taught on a canvas of speaking and listening. The 'internal voice' must be established first for language acquisition to be successful. It fails when grammar comes first. Speaking, reading and writing come from the internal voice that has been built through listening. A baby learns this way naturally. Chinese language is taught this way in schools. It is natural.

    As I see it, grammar focus is a great way to confuse students which results in the students never acquiring the language. However, it makes the training centers rich. If you can coax the student along, yet, never teach him the language, you can milk his parents for money for a very long time.

  • Why English Is So Hard 2019-7-15 22:39

    Yes, the serious exam system has made Chinese education go in a strange way which has wasted too much for the nation!  Our physical education program should make ordinary kids become healthier and stronger rather than prepare thousands of athletes for few champion gold medals! All subjects ought to train children to do independent thinking with their own head instead of repeating others' sayings without one-word-changing!
    (A long time ago, I posted one blog (or thread)titled ‘We should learn English as kids’ .)

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