What is the SAT test?

SAT is a standardized exam used by most higher educational establishments to decide whether a student is college-ready.

SAT exam is, in fact, a pencil-and-paper entrance exam, developed by the College Board.

Like the ACT, the SAT measures students’ skills and defines how well a student is prepared to enter a college or a university. SAT score is reviewed along with your GPA score, classes that you took, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, admissions interview, and personal statement.

The higher your score is, the more chances and options you’ll have.

What is on the SAT test?

The test consists of 3 main sections and one optional:

  • SAT Reading Test
  • SAT Writing and Language Test
  • SAT Math Test
  • SAT Essay (optional)

Besides specific items testing each of your skills, every section has several ‘Analysis in Science’ questions aimed to test your analyzing and reasoning skills. These questions require you to solve problems in physical science, Earth, life, and space contexts.

As mentioned above in the SAT overview, writing an essay is optional. However, you should consider passing it as many schools do require it. Also, the essay is scored separately, so it won’t affect your overall score.

You may have also heard students asking about what is the sat reasoning test? And the answer is nothing. The test was introduced in 1926, and since then, its name has changed several times – the SAT Reasoning Test was one of them.

What is the SAT subject test?

SAT subjects tests are admission exams used by schools to test your knowledge on specific subjects. You also get to choose which test to take to demonstrate your strong sides.

There are 5 general subject areas you can test your knowledge in. It is English, math, languages, science, and history. There are 20 SAT Subject tests you can choose from. Each is scored on a 200–800 scale and consists of multiple-choice questions only. All questions are on a high-school level.

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How many questions are on the SAT?

In total, there are 154 items in the standard SAT test format. The amount of questions varies depending on the section. Here is the number of items in each section:

  • SAT Reading Test

It consists of 5 passage sets and 52 multiple-choice questions.

  • SAT Writing and Language Test

It consists of 4 passage sets and 44 multiple-choice questions.

  • SAT Math Test

It consists of 58 items and 45 multiple-choice questions.

Among these 154 items are 35 Analysis in Science questions divided as follows: 21 items in SAT Reading section, 6 in SAT Writing and Language, and 8 in SAT Math section.

How long is it?

The SAT exam lasts 3 hours plus an additional 50 minutes to work on the essay. Each section has a different time limit:

  • SAT Reading Test – 65 minutes
  • SAT Writing and Language Test – 35 minutes
  • SAT Math Test – 80 minutes

Here is more about how long is the SAT

When is the SAT test?

The test is held every year in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June.

Most students take the SAT together with ACT in spring (during junior year) or fall (during senior year). You should consider doing the same. It is convenient, leaves enough time for thorough preparation and a retake if one is needed. You can also find all the upcoming dates online and choose the most convenient one.

How much is the SAT test?

The SAT registration fee for the 2021-2022 school year is 55$. A fee waiver is available.

There are also additional registration and score services related fees, like change fee, waitlist fee, rush order fee, score by phone fee, etc.

Remember to register beforehand, not to overpay. The sooner you do it, the less you will have to pay. Choose the optimal date and place and leave enough time to prepare. That way, you won’t need to pay for changing your test center or test date.

Don’t forget to check whether you are eligible for an SAT Fee Waiver.

SAT Test Scores range

The three main sections of the SAT exam (reading & writing, and math) are scored on a 200-800 scale. After you finish, the points for each section are added, and the highest score you potentially can get is 1600.

Each correct answer earns you 1 point, and an incorrect one subtracts 1/4 point. Skipped questions are not counted. Afterward, this raw score is converted into a scaled one (a 200-800 scale).

There is also an optional essay score (ranging from 2 to 8). You may dive dipper in SAT scores on the official College Board website.

If you are not sure you did well on the exam, try comparing your scores to the scores of students who took it with you or the scores of students that attend your target school.

How hard is the SAT test and how to be ready?

You already know what is SAT exam. You should also know that it’s hard only if you are unprepared. We don’t only mean studying the material well but also learning everything you possibly can about the exam itself, its sections, its peculiarities, and its pitfalls.

It takes time to prepare well, so be ready to invest enough of it.

Are you sure that the SAT is right for you?

Keep in mind that you can pass both the ACT and SAT. We advise you to learn the peculiarities and format of both exams.

Above, we’ve already answered the question what is the SAT test, now take some time to research the ACT.

Carefully check the admission requirements of the schools you are planning to apply to. Having all the information at hand, determine which exam fits you better, and choose the right one.