The SAT exam is an admissions test used by many colleges and universities to assess a potential student's academic strengths and readiness for college. The SAT Test serves a similar purpose as the ACT Test. Standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT are used in the admissions process along with other factors such as high school grades, class rank, community service, recommendations and extracurricular activities. The intent of the SAT is to measure a student's capabilities in the core areas of reading, writing and mathematics. SAT Test Scores range from 200 to 800 for each of the sections, for a total potential score of 2400. Students typically take the test in the spring of their junior year and/or the fall of their senior year. There are seven SAT Test Dates for the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories.
SAT Test Format
The main sections of the SAT are: critical reading, writing and math. The majority of the questions are multiple choice although there are also "grid-in" questions in the math area. There is also an essay in the writing section. The SAT Test is made up of 10 sections. The first section is a 25 minute essay. Sections 2 through 7 are 25-minute sections. Sections 8 and 9 are 20 minute sections and section 10 is a 10 minute multiple choice writing section. The table below summarizes the sections.
|Section ||Time Limit ||Number of Questions ||Summary |
|SAT Critical Reading||70 minutes (Two 25 minute sections and one 20 minute section)||67 questions (19 sentence completion and 48 passage-based reading questions)||Short and long reading passages. Measures sentence completions and passage-based reading.|
|SAT Math||70 minutes (Two 25 minute sections and one 20 minute section)||54 questions (44 multiple choice and 10 response questions)||Covers basic mathematical skills that are typical for a student at the end of junior year. You will be tested on: number and operations; algebra and functions; geometry and measurement; and data analysis, statistics, and probability.|
|SAT Writing||60 minutes (two 25 minute sections and one 10 minute section)||40 questions||One essay and 49 multiple choice questions (25 on improving sentences, 18 on identifying sentence errors, and 6 on improving paragraphs)|
Try our free SAT practice tests to help you prepare.
SAT Test Registration
The SAT test is administered on Saturdays and is offered seven times per year (November, December, January, March, May, and June). Most high school students take the SAT for the first time during the spring of their junior year. Many students will also take the test a second time during the fall of their junior year.
The easiest way to register for the SAT is online by going to http://sat.collegeboard.org/register.
SAT Registration Fees
There are a myriad of fees associated with your SAT registration. The basic SAT registration fee is $50. The fees for the subject tests vary based on how many tests you take, and the type of test it is. In general, the SAT subject test fees are a one time registration fee of $23 per registration plus an additional fee of either $12 for non-language tests or $23 for a language test. In addition to the standard registration fees, there are additional fees charged for phone registrations, changes to test types, locations or dates, late registrations, and waitlisting. There are also fees associated with sending your scores to schools or requesting more information about the specific questions and answers on your test. All of the test and registration fees are non-refundable.
SAT Test Scores
There are three main sections on the SAT: mathematics, critical reading, and writing. Each of these sections is scored on a scale from 200-800. Your total potential score on the SAT is 2400. In addition to these scores, you will also receive two subscores on the writing component: an essay score (ranging from 2 to 12) and a multiple-choice score (ranging from 20 to 80). Your main scores on the SAT are derived by giving you 1 point for a correct answer and subtracting 1/4 point for an incorrect answer. Any questions that you skip are not counted towards your score. This raw score is then converted into a scaled score (in the range of 200-800) by a statistical process referred to as "equating". To determine how well you did on the SAT you can compare your scores to others who have taken the test (by looking at your percentile rank). You should also compare your scores to the scores of students that attend your target colleges. Please refer to Test-Guide.com's full section on SAT scores for more complete information on how scores are calculated and how to compare your scores to other test takers.