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What is the SAT?

More than 80 years ago, the College Board introduced a new kind of testing experience for gauging a candidate’s ability for higher studies in colleges and universities. This was the origin of the SAT, which evaluated the test-taker’s critical reading, mathematics and writing skills. After so many years, the SAT remains a primary exam for the schools and colleges to judge an applicant’s competence and stamina in pursuing and succeeding in the courses offered by them. Students are encouraged to take SAT in order to be successful in the courses offered in colleges and schools. More than two million students take SAT each year to get enrolled in nearly every college in America. The students are asked to take SAT in order to prove their college-readiness for courses in the American colleges.

Before you take SAT you need to

  • understand the SAT structure
  • know how to register for SAT, get the test date and center
  • know how to seek help for SAT preparation
  • know about the test day tips
  • know how to use your SAT scores

What is the structure of SAT?

The admission officers of colleges make an informed decision about your college-readiness only through your performance in SAT. Therefore, in order to take SAT you need to know about the structure of SAT and its features.


The duration of the SAT exam is three hours and forty-five minutes, consisting of ten individual scheduled sections, which evaluate your high school knowledge and problem solving skills in critical reading, mathematics and writing. The multiple choice questions, candidate-generated responses (math section exclusively) and the essay questions are the three types of questions present in SAT. The 10 separate sections of the SAT consist of three sections of critical reading (70 minutes), mathematics (70 minutes), writing (60 minutes) and one variable unscored section either of reading, mathematics or writing (25 minutes).

How can you register for SAT?

The registration for SAT must be done in advance in order to ensure that your SAT test center contains all the relevant materials required on the test date. You can register for SAT online or through mail. If you wish to take SAT again, then you have to register by phone. Once registered, you shall receive an authorized test center, test date, an admission ticket either through web, mail or post and a maximum of four test reports sent to schools and colleges. There are also provisions for registering late or for registration if you are under 13 years of age. You shall also receive certain SAT preparation resources and fee waiver services depending upon your requirements.

Are there some test day tips?

To err is human. The saying is applicable even when you take SAT. Make sure you have all the articles you may need for the test center. Your ID proofs are the most essential documents that are scrutinized by the test officers. Your photo ID, admission ticket and legitimate calculator are the other mandatory articles you must bring on test day. In case you have arrived late or have arrived after the scheduled time, your test will be cancelled. If you wish to take SAT again, you need to follow proper instructions for registering after test day mishaps. This is known as Makeup Testing.

How important is your SAT score?

The SAT scores are formulated in comparison with previous year’s score of college bound seniors who took the SAT and it is this percentile ranking which determines how well you have performed in SAT. The admission officers take placement decisions only after scrutinizing your SAT scores. If you have an online account in the College Board website, you will get detailed SAT scores online. Your score is calculated on the basis of average score, which compares your score with the most recent applicants of a preceding graduating class. If you are not content with your scores, you can opt to take SAT again.

The SAT is no doubt an important exam you must take for better opportunities of higher education. The SAT is administered seven times in a year. The test centers can be selected by you according to your accessibility. The College Board helps in building up your college-readiness by setting a SAT benchmark score. In addition, you will receive downloadable SAT materials, mostly in PDF format to ensure a comprehensive preparation level, before you take SAT.

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