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SAT

About the SAT

The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by the College Board.

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 your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important SAT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school.

Overall, the higher you score on the SAT and/or ACT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you.

SAT Basics

SAT Length 3 hours (plus 50 minutes if taking optional Essay)
SAT Sections Math
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
Essay (optional)
Highest SAT Score 1600
Average SAT Score 1060
Validity 5 years

About the SAT

The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by the College Board.

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 your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important SAT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school.

Overall, the higher you score on the SAT and/or ACT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you.

SAT Sections:

There are two SAT Sections:

  1. Math
  2. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
Reading
  • 52 multiple–choice questions
  • 65 minutes
  • Passages or pairs of passages (literature, historical documents, social sciences, and natural sciences)
Writing & Language
  • 44 multiple–choice questions
  • 35 minutes
  • Grammar, vocabulary in context, and editing skills
Math
  • 58 multiple–choice questions (broken up into a 20-question No-Calculator section and a 38-question Calculator-allowed section)
  • 80 minutes (25 minutes for the No-Calculator section; 55 minutes for the Calculator-allowed section)
  • Algebra I and II, geometry, and some trigonometry
Essay (Optional*)
  • 1 essay
  • 50 minutes
  • Read a passage and explain how the author builds a persuasive argument

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.

SAT Duration:

The SAT is 3 hours long. If you choose to take the SAT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 50 minutes.

SAT score:

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.

Registering for the SAT

SAT registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each test date. Register online on the College Board website. The College Board may require SAT registration by mail under special circumstances.

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