YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Seoul American High School students have exceeded national averages on the Scholastic Aptitude Test — an achievement officials credited to dedicated students and sharp teachers.

The SAT — an evaluation measuring verbal and math reasoning abilities — is factored into admissions for many colleges and universities. The maximum score is 1600, split equally between tests of verbal and math abilities.

During the 2002-03 school year, Seoul American students averaged 508 on the test’s verbal section, one point above national average, said Alice McHan, school test coordinator. Students averaged 530 on the math section, 11 points over the national average.

“We consider this a real coup for us,” McHan said, adding that she believes Seoul American students “do so well on the SATs because they have a lot of good instruction. We have some really great teachers here who really … pay attention to the curriculum and try to keep kids prepared for everything.”

From 85 percent to 92 percent of the school’s students are college-bound, McHan said. Almost all seniors take the SAT or ACT Assessment — a comprehensive test comprising sections on English, mathematics, reading and science.

“We start off with probably a higher percentage than normal of well-motivated students with parents that place a real high premium on education and receive a lot of support from their families,” said Principal Keith Henson.

The school offers the SAT six times annually; students often warm up their sophomore and junior years by taking the PSAT, a pre-test give to see if students qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, McHan said.

Students can take the SAT more than once, she said, adding that colleges count the highest scores from each section.

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