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China: SAT takers set to double in 2012

In a sign that demand for US education will remain strong this year in China, the number of Chinese taking the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is expected to exceed 40,000 this year – up from 20,000 in 2010 and just 200 in 2003. Most of the top US universities require a candidate to have an SAT score.

The exam, which is held six times a year, is only offered on the Chinese mainland to those at authorised schools, meaning most students have to fly to test centres in Hong Kong, Singapore and other locations in Southeast Asia.

Facing stiff competition, Chinese student Zou Minzhe told China Daily he was expecting to take the test up to three times. “Today, more students study abroad, and consequently the competition for places at US universities, especially top schools, is even tougher.

The number taking the SAT is expected to exceed 40,000 this year – up from 20,000 in 2010

“I plan to study at a college that’s in the top 20 to 30 in the US, which means I have to gain a very competitive SAT score,” he said.

The number of Chinese students at US universities climbed 23% this year – from 157,500 to 194,000, following a 23% rise the previous year.

The British Council has predicted Chinese outbound mobility will not slow until 2020, however some warn US universities are becoming too dependent on Sino recruitment. Research body World Education Services said earlier this month that almost one in two international students in the US currently hail from China, India or South Korea, threatening campus diversity and posing financial risk.

SAT’s administrator, the College Board, told The PIE it was expanding beyond major markets. In 2012 95,315 SAT takers were a citizen of another country, up from 58,689 in 2007.

ACT recognises a “great need for our programs in markets like China and India”

“Internationally, the SAT has become synonymous with the best of American higher education. This is in part due to the College Board’s role as a not-for-profit membership organization, which was founded by many of  the most prominent universities in the US,” said a spokesperson said, adding that the test was now accepted by top universities in France, South Korea and the UK.

Meanwhile, SAT’s major rival as a top entrance test, the ACT Test (American College Testing), has turned its attention to international marketing for the first time, recognising a “great need for our programs in markets like China and India” but also in other markets.

“We are just beginning to expand our international presence,” an ACT spokesperson told The PIE News. “We have recently hired a new vice president to head up our international operations, and we are taking a strategic, phased approach that will allow us to extend our mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success worldwide.”

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