What’s the SAT?

The SAT is the nation’s most widely used  college and university admissions test. It’s the first step towards higher education for most students and is taken by more than two million students every year.

The SAT tests the reading, writing, and math skills that you learned in school that are critical for success in both college and your future career.

Please note, the following information refers to the current SAT and is in effect through the January 2016 test date. The redesigned SAT goes into effect March 2016.


SAT Structure

The general SAT is made up of 10 sections that together assess the test-taker’s skill in the area of :

  • Reading: Measures the ability to understand what is stated or implied in text passages and tests vocabulary and sentence structure.
  • Writing: Measures essay writing skills and knowledge of the English language grammar and usage.
  • Math: Measures the ability to solve arithmetic operations and proficiency in algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability.


SAT Scoring System

Each of the test’s sections receive a score on a scale from 200-800.

The total SAT score is therefore out of 2,400 points. Test takers receive two additional sub-scores (a multiple choice score from 20-80 and as essay score from 2-12) on the writing section. Additionally, the SAT also includes a short unscored section that is not factored into the final score.

Approximately three weeks after you take the SAT you scores will be released. The mean or average score is about 500 on critical reading and 500 on mathematics. Average scores can vary as they are based upon the most recent SAT scores of all students in a particular graduating class.


When, Where, How?

The SAT is published and created by the College Board and administered by the ETS. The actual test is offered seven times each year in the United States and six times internationally. It is offered in the months of:

  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January
  • March (U.S. Only)
  • May
  • June

Most high school students will take the SAT twice in order to obtain their best score. First during their junior year and then again during their senior year once they’ve gained greater familiarity with the test.

Registration is easy, and can be online here.


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