SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)
The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It was first introduced in 1926, and its name and scoring have changed several times, being originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT I: Reasoning Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, and now simply the SAT.
The SAT is owned and published by the College Board, a private, nonprofit organization in the United States. It is developed and administered on behalf of the College Board by the Educational Testing Service. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college. It is designed to not be aligned to high school curriculum.
The current SAT, introduced in 2005, takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to finish, and as of 2014 costs US$52.50 (up to US$101.5 outside of the United States), excluding late fees. Possible scores on the SAT range from 600 to 2400, combining test results from three 800-point sections: Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing. Taking the SAT or its competitor, the ACT, is required for freshman entry to many, but not all, universities in the United States.
On March 5, 2014, the College Board announced that a redesigned version of the SAT would be administered for the first time in 2016. The exam will revert to the 1600-point scale, the essay will be optional, and students will have 3 hours to take the exam plus 50 additional minutes to complete the essay.
The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math — subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.
Taking the SAT is the first step in finding the right college for you — the place where you can further develop your skills and pursue your passions. But SAT scores are just one of many factors that colleges consider when making their admission decisions. High school grades are also very important. In fact, the combination of high school grades and SAT scores is the best predictor of your academic success in college.
What does the SAT test?
The SAT doesn’t test logic or abstract reasoning. It tests the skills you’re learning in school: reading, writing and math. Your knowledge and skills in these subjects are important for success in college and throughout your life.
- The critical reading section includes reading passages and sentence completions.
- The writing section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage.
- The mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.
How can I do my best in SAT?
The best way to get ready for the SAT is to take challenging courses, study hard, and read and write in and outside of the classroom.
Studies suggest that cramming and short-term prep can’t substitute for hard work in school, but it’s certainly a good idea for you to become familiar and comfortable with the test format and question types. That’s why the best SAT practice is the PSAT/NMSQT®, which covers the same subjects under timed conditions.
You can also take advantage of our free online practice tools, such as an online or printable practice test, sample questions, The Official SAT Question of the Day™ and more.
Remember, a little practice goes a long way.