About the SAT

What Is The SAT?

The SAT is a widely used college and university admissions test. In addition to the general SAT, there are 20 SAT Subject Tests. These tests allow a candidate to demonstrate his or her proficiency in five specific subject areas (English, history, languages, mathematics, and science). Some institutions may require or recommend that applicants take specific Subject Tests in addition to the general SAT.

How Is The SAT Structured?

The general SAT is made up of several shorter sections that together assess the test-taker’s skills in the areas of reading, writing, and math:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing – Measures the ability to understand what is stated or implied in textual passages, tests vocabulary and sentence structure, includes a language and writing test
  • Math – Measures the ability to solve arithmetic operations and proficiency in algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability
  • Essay – There is an optional essay component

How Is The SAT Scored?

Each of the test’s sections (evidence-based reading and writing, mathematics) will receive a score on a scale from 200-800. The total maximum score is therefore 1,600 points, the minimum 400 points. Moreover, test-takers receive the subscores for each section. Essay results are reported separately (but the essay is not compulsory).

Where and When Can I Take The SAT?

The SAT is published and developed by the College Board and administered by ETS,  which offers the test several times a year at test centers in the U.S. and many other countries. Most high school students take the SAT twice. First, during their junior year, and then – once they have gained greater familiarity with the test – during their senior year. Registration can be done online.

What Study Guides Can Help Me Prepare?

See our review of the best SAT books and, if you are interested in additional resources, browse all available study guides for this exam and take our free SAT quiz.

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