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About the SAT®

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized test widely used for college admissions. It is a standardized test offered seven times a year in 7 different countries and offers a scale of 200 to 800 points on writing, critical reading and mathematics. The SAT is a test that assesses students' readiness for college. It was originally designed not to be aligned with high school curricula, but was recently adjusted to align with Common Core standards.

students taking the SAT in a classroom

The Structure of the SAT®

A standard SAT test consists of four sections, four in English and one in Math, and is scored using a scale from 300-800. Some test takers also have an optional essay section. The SAT consists of two sections, which score each section of the test on a scale of 200 to 800; in addition, two test scores are awarded, one for each of Reading, Writing and Language, and Math, and one for each of Analysis in History/Social Studies and Science. College Board discontinued the optional essay section of the SAT after the June 2021 administration, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reading Section

SAT Reading contains five passages, one from a U.S. founding document, one from literature, one from economics, psychology, sociology, or another social science, one from history, social studies, and science, and two science passages.

Writing and Language Section

The SAT Writing and Language Test is made up of 44 multiple-choice questions, and the test taker will be evaluated on four standard English conventions (word choice, analysis, sentence structure, word usage, and punctuation).

Math Section

The mathematics portion of the SAT consists of 45 multiple choice questions and 13 grid-in questions, and includes 80 minutes of time. The test has 38 questions, with 20 multiple choice, and lasts 55 minutes. The math test is scored by linear equations, problem solving, and statistics. The test is scored by 200 to 800. SAT Math - Calculator section only allows scientific and most graphing calculators, but not portable calculators. The College Board conducted research into the effect of calculator use on SAT I: Reasoning Test math scores and found that the performance of those using calculators in a test situation was negatively affected.

Why Does the SAT® Matter?

Opens doors to college

Colleges use SAT® scores to determine whether or not you are qualified to participate in their programs and be admitted to their schools. While several institutions are considering making SAT® scores optional for admissions this year as a result of COVID, we are not sure if this practice will continue beyond this school year. If you change colleges or apply to a community college for the first year and then transfer to a university, you may require test scores in the future. Colleges may "superscore," or use the top scores from each SAT® you've taken, if you score higher on this SAT® than any other SAT® tests you've taken.

Better chance of getting scholarships

Top applicants are frequently awarded merit-based financial help by institutions. One of the most crucial elements in selecting which students receive scholarships and which do not is their test scores. Even if the colleges to which you're applying are test-optional, financial aid may still require SAT® or ACT® scores. Because financial aid packages can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, taking the SAT to be eligible for these rewards is well worth your effort, even if it isn't formally necessary to apply to the school.

SAT® score can balance a low GPA

When your GPA doesn't indicate it, a high SAT® score might demonstrate your intelligence to the college administration. Admissions committees consider several aspects of your personality, not simply your SAT® score, but it is one of those critical parts that can help you complete the image.

SAT® Prep. Resources

CollegeBoard offers a Question of the day, Sample Questions, Tutorials and Practice Tests for the SAT. This doesn’t require any login or additional information. In addition to having ways to practice the SAT, CollegeBoard also offers dozens of test taking strategies.

Khan Academy has full-length SAT practice tests available and offer free, personalized practice based on your diagnostic test results! You can also find booklets, videos, etc. on their website. No login required.

Test Prep Review offers practice for many different standardized tests. This site allows you to quiz yourself on SAT sections, as well as pick and choose which types of problems you would like to hone your skills on.

vRealm offer SAT® prep. programs that are designed to improve student performance on the SAT® by utilizing a personalized instructional approach.


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