Important Information About SAT

SAT is the most widely used admission test for colleges across the United States. It is a general ability test that essentially measures your readiness for college. It is conducted and scored by College Board. It is also the pathway to various opportunities, scholarships and financial support schemes offered by various colleges. It is conducted globally in various centers in three areas- reading, math and writing.

SAT is only one of the parameters that colleges consider during their admission process. A combination of high school grades and test scores is the overall parameter based on which the colleges decide. This may vary for different colleges so it is advisable that you visit the websites of colleges you are interested in to get more details about the admission criteria.

What Does It Test?

SAT doesn’t test your reasoning or knowledge, it only tests your basic skills in reading, writing and math. These are the things that you have learned throughout your high school. All the questions go through a rigorous review process before they actually appear on the test. Details of the three sections are as follows-

  • Reading:

    It consists of reading comprehension and sentence correction questions. This section doesn’t require any particular domain knowledge, only basic grammar and vocabulary are sufficient.

  • Writing:

    This section consists of essay writing and multiple choice questions. These multiple choice questions are based on error correction based on grammar usage.

  • Math:

    This section includes multiple choice questions and a few student produced responses on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability. These questions are based on average high school level mathematics.


Each section in this test is marked on a scale of 200-800, which makes a total score of 600-2400. The scoring process is explained here-

  • First a raw score is calculated on the scale of 20-80. During this calculation, +1 is granted for a correct answer, -1/4 is granted for a wrong answer and no deductions are made for not answering. Also note that no points are deducted for wrong student produced responses (math section).
  • The essays are scored on a scale of 1-6 by two readers independently and the score is added to give a 2-12 score. If the markings of the two readers differ by more than one point then a third reader marks the essay independently.
  • The final score is obtained by a statistical analysis which is done to ensure that this score reflects your true capabilities irrespective of venue, competition and variations in level of questions. This score is scaled to the 600-2400 range.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare for the test is to take a coaching course/program. This gives you a timed schedule for your preparation and also access to lots of materials and tools. There are many institutes like Princeton Review and Manhattan Review that offer this option. However, a good performance at high school level will enable you automatically for the test.

Apart from this, you can also register at the official website This will give you all the preparation materials that you need and also the latest updated information in the college world. There is a specially timed preparation software for the exam available on this site called PSAT/NMSQT®. Making use of this will increase your chances greatly because it covers all subjects in a timed environment. The official study guides are also available on the site which are indispensable resources for preparation.

What are Subject Tests?

The SAT subject test or SAT ii, is a complimentary test for SAT. This test is available in various subjects like Math, Physics, Chemistry, History etc. This test is required to gauge your domain knowledge and proficiency in particular fields. Although this is not mandatory, you can apply to the major subject of your interest by attaching your subject test score (in that major subject) along with your test score in your application.

These tests are scored in almost the same way as the SAT i, but there are slight differences in multiple choice questions. Another difference is that in language tests you will also have a listening section where the marking scheme differs. For more details on the subjects and scoring, visit

Best timing:

Most students take SAT i during their junior/senior year in high school. It is advisable to take it twice for a better result. This can be taken during the spring of junior year and the fall of senior year. SAT ii can be taken as soon as you finish your course, however studies show that students score well in languages after 1-2 years of study.

The College Board site is an all-inclusive site you need to guide you for all aspects of SAT, so register with them before you start your preparation. All the best!!