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SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test

Introduction

The SAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test used by most U.S. colleges and universities for admissions purposes. The SAT essentially measures verbal, mathematical and analytical skills of students looking to seek college admission.  SAT is taken by majority of students in their junior or senior year in high school. SAT scores are also used to determine scholarship eligibility. The SAT test is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and held seven times a year in the United States. Internationally the exams are held six times. Read more to get details on SAT test dates, SAT registration, SAT scores, SAT practice test, SAT prep courses and SAT test prep.

(Suggested Read: 5 Tips for Acing the SAT; SAT Subject Areas; Right Resources for SAT and ACT Test Prep)

Why SAT is Important?

Difference between SAT and SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Reasoning Test is what is normally referred to as the SAT and this standard exam is required by high school students to seek college admission in most educational institutes within the United States. Whereas, the SAT Subject tests are additional tests that evaluate a student's knowledge in a specific subject area and are required by some of the more selective U.S. schools in addition to the SAT.

Test Structure

The SAT  is a focused test on verbal, writing and math skills. It is primarily designed to measure how well students can read, express and think.

The SAT consists of three main focus areas- math, reading and writing. There are 10 sections in all Ė three for each focus area, and one 25 minute experimental section. This section is used strictly by ETS to assess questions for use in future tests. (It can be in any of the three areas and does not count toward the score).  

SAT is a 3 hour 45 minute exam. A 25 minute essay section will always be the first and a 10 minute multiple choice writing section will always be the last in the test format. The other parts of the test ó six 25-minute sections and two 20-minute sections ó can appear in any order.

Focus Area

Section

 Coverage 

 Number of Questions 

Total Time

Reading:

Critical Reading

Sentence Completion

19

70 Minutes for Reading

Critical Reading

Reading Comprehension

48

Writing:

Essay ( 25 Minutes)

One Topic

1

Editing

Correcting Paragraphs

6

60 Minutes for Writing

Correction

Correcting Sentences

25

Spotting Errors

Spotting Sentence Errors

18

Math:

 Problem Solving

Regular Math

24

70 Minutes for Math

Student Produced Response

Comparison Grid

10

Problem Solving

Regular Math

20

         

Experimental:

Unscored

UnScored

25 Minutes

Focus Areas

5 Tips to Prepare for SAT

  1. Take SAT PREP: The best way for students to increase their SAT scores is to take regular SAT prep tests and courses available online. These practice tests help students identify their weak areas and target them for improvement.  It is important for students to remember that computer prep programs only are not sufficient because they donít simulate the test experience. Itís'significant for students to go old school and practice with paper-and-pencil materials.

  2. Brush up Math: Students should focus in strengthening their math skills and brush up on regular math concepts, algebra, geometry and statistics learned in high school.

  3. Invest in Study Guide: Students should invest in buying the official SAT study guide available online which offers a complete list of topics that will be tested, as well as practice problems and eight real tests. Students can take all of the practice tests and become familiar with the instructions and organization of the test.

  4. Understand theTest Format: Students should get acquainted with all the three major sections to do well. Each section starts out easy and gets progressively harder. Itís important to remember that the easy questions are worth just as much as the hard ones.

  5. Avoid Guess Work: The SAT doesnít reward random guesses. Getting a multiple-choice question wrong deducts a quarter to a third of a point from the student's score.

Score

Scores on SAT is calculated for each section based on the number of questions students get correct / incorrect, or the ones they omit. The SAT test scores are valid up to 5 years from the test date.

Correct Answers: +1 point for questions students get correct
Incorrect Answers:  -1/4 point subtracted for incorrect multiple-choice
Zero points: subtracted for incorrect student-produced response (math section); and for questions students don't answer.

Each section of SAT (critical reading, mathematics and writing) is scored on a 200- to 800-point scale, for a total of 2,400 points. Students also get two subscores on the writing section including a multiple-choice score ranging from 20 to 80, and an essay score from 2 to 12.

Students generally get their SAT score report 5 weeks after the test date.

Test Dates

Test Test Dates Registration Deadline

SAT Test

November  07, 2015

October  09, 2015

SAT  Test

December  05, 2015

November 05, 2015

SAT  Test

January 23, 2016

December 28, 2015

New SAT  Test

March 05, 2016

February 05, 2016

New SAT  Test

May 07, 2016

April 08, 2016

  
    New
SAT  Test

   June 04, 2016      May 05, 2016 

Fees

SAT Reasoning Test: $50

SAT Subject Tests:

Base Fee: $23
+ Language with Listening Test: $23 (per test)
+ All Other Subject Tests: $12 (per test)

Additional fees incur for late registration, late fee payment and changing test date, location or center. Also, for international students there is an additional processing fee of $31. For more details please visit the SAT official website.

Registration

The quickest and easiest way to register is online. Please visit the official SAT website to get additional details.