The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by the College Board. Introduced in 1926, its name and scoring have changed several times; originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it was later called the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT I: Reasoning Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, and now, simply the SAT.
The SAT is owned, developed, and published by the College Board, a private, non-profit organization in the United States. It is administered on behalf of the College Board by the Educational Testing Service, which until recently developed the SAT as well.
The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside high school GPA, the classes applicant took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays.
Overall, the higher candidate score on the SAT and/or ACT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to him/her.
|SAT Length||3 hours (plus 50 minutes if taking optional Essay)|
|SAT Costs||$47.50 ($64.50 if taking SAT with Essay)|
|Highest SAT Score||1600|
|Average SAT Score||1060|
When should I take the SAT?
Most high school students take the SAT, the ACT, or both during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year. It’s important to leave time to re-take the test if you need to raise your score before you apply to college. The SAT exam is offered nationally every year in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June.
What is on the SAT?
There are two SAT sections:
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
The SAT also includes an optional Essay section. SAT Essay scores are reported separately from overall test scores. Some colleges may require that you complete the SAT Essay.
How long is the SAT?
The SAT is 3 hours long. If you choose to take the SAT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 50 minutes.
How is the SAT scored?
Each section of the SAT is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale. Your total SAT score is the sum of your section scores. The highest possible SAT score is 1600. If you take the Essay, you will receive a separate score.
Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
Most colleges and universities will accept scores from either the SAT or ACT, and do not favor one test over the other. That said, college-bound students are increasingly taking both the SAT and ACT. Changes made to the SAT in 2016 have made it easier than ever to prep for both tests concurrently—and earn competitive scores on both! The best way to decide if taking the SAT, ACT, or both tests is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test of each type. Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit.
How do I register for the SAT?
SAT registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each test date. Register online on the College Board website.
Differences between SAT and other Subject SAT
Some colleges require or recommend you to take SAT Subject Tests, especially if you’re applying to specific courses or programs. SAT Subject Tests are college admission exams on specific subjects. These are the only national admission tests where you choose the tests that best showcase your strengths and interests
- There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, mathematics and science.
- Each Subject Test is an hour long. They are all multiple-choice and scored on a 200–800 scale.
- Subject Tests test you on your knowledge of subjects on a high school level. The best way to prepare is to take the relevant courses and work hard in them.
When, Where, and How
- SAT Subject Tests are generally given six times in any given school year, on the same days and in the same test centers as the SAT — but not all 20 tests are offered on every SAT date.
- The Language with Listening tests are only offered in November.
- You can take one, two, or three Subject Tests on any test date.
- You can’t take the SAT and an SAT Subject Test on the same day.
- Some SAT Subject Tests require you to bring special equipment — for example, CD players for Language with Listening tests.
- You choose what tests to take when you register, but on test day, you can add, subtract, or switch tests — with some limitations.
Register for SAT test