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SAT or the Scholastic Aptitude Test is an exam conducted for the purpose of admission in an undergraduate program in the US. SAT, as the name suggests, tests the aptitude or intelligence through a standardized medium. The main idea behind conducting the SAT is to have a common scale through which all students seeking admission in colleges can be judged. This makes the task simpler for the college authorities in addition to being fair to the students.
An association of various schools, colleges, universities and similar educational institutions called the College Board takes up the task of conducting SAT. It is a non-profit organization and it gets the SAT administered, developed and scored by Educational Testing Services or ETS. Various colleges, in the process of admission into the institution, consider these scores, as it is an effective way of bringing down the differences existing in the students who apply for admissions to colleges. For example, a student could have attained a higher grade in an easier exam compared to a student who has scored lower in a relatively tougher exam. This can reduce the chances of a deserving student to get admission in the course and institution of his desire. So SAT as an entrance exam, can be seen as a platform where these differences can be removed and a deserving student gets equal opportunity to prove his worth. Since a number of schools and colleges are a part of the College Board, almost every college recognizes it and considers its score in its admission process.
SAT is classified as SAT-I and SAT-II. SAT-I is a reasoning test to examine the quantitative and verbal skills of students. So it is a general test of thinking abilities. And SAT-II is a subject based test. It is specific to the course and subjects that a student prefers to take admission into.
SAT reasoning test is a 3 hour and 45 minutes long test and is divided into three major sections, which are Mathematics, Reading and Writing, which are further divided into three sections each. This gives us a total of nine sections of the test. Apart from these there is a tenth section, the experimental section, which is not scored and could be reading, writing or even mathematics. The order of the sections though is not fixed. The total score of SAT ranges from 200 to 800. in addition to these sub scores are also reported.
- The mathematics section is a 70 minutes test, out of which 2 sections are of 25 minutes each and one is of 20 minutes. There are multiple choice questions and grid-ins or student response questions in this section. It tests the students for their basic algebra, geometric and arithmetic knowledge. The use of calculators is allowed.
- The reading section is again of 70 minutes, out of which 2 sections are of 25 minutes each and one is of 20 minutes. It includes questions on sentence completion and comprehension. This section tests the verbal skills and the comprehension skills of the students.
- The writing section is of 60 minutes, its three sections being of 25, 25 and 10 minutes. Here you have multiple type questions and essays, which test the students grammar in terms of its usage and also the students vocabulary and expression.
- The experimental section could be any of the above sections, but it is not known which of the sections is experimental. So there will be 2 sections of the same type one of which will not be scored or added up in the final score. It is a 25 minutes test and it could have any type of questions as in one of the above sections. It tests new questions for future exams.
The subject based test of SAT tests the knowledge of students in a particular subject. It includes 5 general subjects, which are Language (like Chinese, French, German etc), History, English, Mathematics and Science. Many high ranking colleges take into consideration the score of the SAT subject based test in the process of admission. Each subject test is of 60 minutes. The types of questions vary from time to time, but basically they are multiple type questions
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