The SAT homeschool matric is an option to pursue, in combination with the GED, to apply for a foreign conditional matric equivalent from HESA ( Higher Education South Africa).
PLEASE NOTE that the SAT alone is generally not an acceptable matric equivalent. It must be in combination with the American GED, which is explained on this page: GED + SAT Homeschool Matric
Please read that page in addition to this one!
What is the SAT?
The SAT, formally known as Scholastic Aptitude Tests is a series of standardised tests used in the USA and internationally for university acceptance. It is now simply called the “SAT“. SAT tests are administered by the College Board in the USA.
Over 80 years ago the College Board created the first standardised college entrance test to help colleges and universities to assess which students would be more likely to succeed at tertiary level. The SAT is written annually by more than two million students in the USA and internationally.
[Please note that the College Board also offers SAT Subject Tests [TM] which are tests for individual subjects. However these are not required for South African matric purposes – it is just the SAT.]
What qualification do I get?
The SAT does not earn candidates a qualification but it can be taken any time a student feels adequately prepared to write it. Most high school students write it in Grade 11 or 12.
If you score adequately, your SAT results, in combination with the American GED may be submitted to the Matriculation Board, run by HESA, with an application for a foreign conditional matric equivalent, which may be used for university application purposes.
To do so, you must achieve the following:
- an overall score of 1600 on the SAT Test , with a sub-minimum of 550 for Critical Reading and 500 for Mathematics and 500 for the Writing section
What must I study for the SAT homeschool matric?
The SAT is a 3h45 written test and consists of 10 separately timed sections:
- Three sections test critical reading (70 minutes total)
- Three sections test mathematics (70 minutes total)
- Three sections test writing (60 minutes total)
- One variable (unscored) section tests critical reading, mathematics, or writing (25 minutes total)
The test aims to assess college readiness rather than an ability to learn content material. It focuses on subject matter learned in high school and problem solving skills in three areas:
- Critical reading
It is comprised of three kinds of questions, which are machine scored, except for the essay:
- Multiple-choice questions
- Student produced responses (mathematics only)
- Essay question
Each section receives a score on the scale of 200–800.
A South African parent of two children who have written the SAT advises candidates to search online for SAT Prep Guides and to purchase about three different ones to work through. She recommends that you should get plenty of practice at test-taking by doing a minimum of 10 practice tests of 4 hours each in order to score well on the test.
Where do I get SAT preparation textbooks?
You can buy SAT prep books locally at online book stores.
The College Board offers The Official SAT Online Course
The Official SAT Study Guide can be purchased for about R450.00 (2014) in South Africa.
There is also The Official SAT Study Guide book and DVD for about R375 (2014).
Various other SAT prep books are also available and there are other websites offering online SAT preparation.
The Redesigned SAT will launch in the American spring of 2016 (our autumn) so make sure that you purchase the correct study guides for the new format when the time comes.
Where do I write the SAT?
Students have the option of writing the SAT on 6 different dates throughout the year in South Africa. The tests are written at 7 centres around the country, but not every centre offers the test on all 6 dates.
Click here to find International Test Dates
The South African test centres are at the following venues in Cape Town, Bloemfontein and various centres in Gauteng:
- University of Cape Town
- the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg
- University of Witwatersrand
- the African Leadership Academy in Honeydew
- the African Union International School in Midrand
- the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley-on-Klip
- Bohmer Secondary School in Bloemfontein
Do not contact the institutions hosting the test venue. All registrations and enquiries must be done online via the College Board website as they handle the administration of the tests.
How do I register?
The easiest way to register is online, with payment by credit card, although there is an option to register by mail.
The benefits of registering online are that you can select your test centre and test dates and find out about availability immediately, you get instant registration confirmation and online access for corrections and printing of your registration ticket.
You will need to upload a digital photo as part of the online registrations process, so have this ready. The photo you provide will become part of your Admission Ticket. The photo must be a good quality head and shoulders front facing shot, like an ID photo, and must be easily recognisable as YOU on the test day.
Tests must be booked online via the website of the College Board here: Register
You are advised to set aside about 45 minutes to get your registration done. There are four steps to register:
- Click “Register Now”
- Create a College Board Profile
- Pay by credit card
- Receive your registration confirmation
To create an accurate profile, in addition to a digital photo, you may be asked to supply the following when you sign up:
- Your email address
- A parent’s email address
- A parent’s birth date
- Your household’s income
- Your parent’s highest educational degrees
- Your most recent class rank
- Your average grades in all subject areas
- What classes you’ve taken and which year you’ve taken them
- Credit card information to pay for the test
The College Board site states: “Your official score report will be provided to you and your high school about five weeks after the test. Students who register online and wish to receive a paper score report by mail in addition to the online score report must request it when they register.”[emphasis added]
This is very important. A South African parent could not get an official paper score report for her son as apparently it had not been requested in advance. The only copy he had was a digital version with the words “This is not an official SAT score” across it.
What does the SAT cost?
The SAT registration fee is USD $54.50. Candidates outside the USA must pay an international process fee. In South Africa this fee is $35, so the total cost is USD $89.50 (November 2015).
Which tertiary institutions recognise the SAT homeschool matric?
In the USA many universities grant admission to applicants based on their good SAT scores plus a homeschool transcript or a recognised high school diploma. However, this is NOT the case in South Africa.
There are different types of tertiary institutions in SA and each have their own entrance criteria.
- FET colleges (Further Education and Training) offer vocational or occupational education and training.
- Traditional academic universities offer mainly theoretically oriented degrees, postgraduate courses and conduct much research.
- Universities of technology, previously known as ‘technikons’’ offer certificates, diplomas or degrees in technology, do some research and lead students into more vocationally-oriented education to equip them for specific careers.
In practice, it seems that many South African FET colleges (not universities) are willing to accept students with only a GED, but universities have more rigorous entrance requirements. You must confirm the entrance requirements for the FET college of your choosing.
The Matriculation Board, run by HESA regulates admission requirements for first degree study. The Board will grant a conditional foreign matric equivalent if you have a GED and SAT with adequate scores. However, this is not quite the same as a conventional national senior certificate as it is conditional. The condition is that the student must pass their first year at university.
HESA will grant a matric certificate with foreign conditional exemption if a student has the following:
- SAT score of 1600 with a sub-minimum of 550 for Critical Reading and 500 for Mathematics plus an American High School Diploma or General Education Diploma (GED)
- American High School Diploma or General Education Diploma (GED) accompanied by letter of admission from an appropriately accredited US university
As stated previously, the SAT on its own is not a recognised option for university acceptance. There are some homeschoolers who have been accepted to SA universities after writing the SAT and the National Benchmark Tests, which are the South African university entrance tests. However, these students were admitted after much red tape and by special concession of the faculties to which they applied.
The universities listed below have confirmed via email that they will accept applications from students with the GED+SAT combination approved by HESA. (No replies have yet been received from other universities not listed.)
- North-West University
- Stellenbosch University
- University of the Free State
- University of Venda for Science and Technology
- Mangosuthu University of Technology
- University of Pretoria
UCT has conceded that the GED+SAT fulfills statutory requirements for admission applications but that each faculty has a right to set its own criteria. Usually the application goes to the university/faculty forum which then meets to discuss the student, looking at his/her qualification alongside the NBT (National Benchmark Test) results, and the student’s greater CV, including community involvement. This applies at most other universities too.
As with any matric certificate, there are no guarantees that a student will be accepted. You must first find out the entrance requirements of the institution/s of your choice before you pursue any of these options for that purpose.