First of all, the SATs is a standardised test. The SAT is a globally recognised 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.
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.
There are many reasons to take the SAT, but here are a few of the biggies:
It tests what you already know
The SAT tests the reading, writing and math skills that you learn in school and that are critical for success in college and beyond. It gives both you and colleges a sense of how you’ll be able to apply the thinking, writing and study skills required for college course work.
It’s fair to everyone
The questions are rigorously researched and tested to make sure students from all backgrounds have an equal chance to do well. And the test is straightforward. There are no tricks designed to trip you up. Students who do well in the classroom are often the same ones who will do well on the SAT.
It’s more than just a test
The SAT also provides the opportunity for you to connect to scholarship opportunities, place out of certain college courses and learn more about your academic strengths.
It helps you select
the right fit for college
SAT scores are among the factors considered in college admission. Many schools’ websites share the range of SAT scores reported by their admitted students. This valuable information allows you to research which colleges might be the best fit for you. The SAT is just one factor among many that colleges use to get to know you better. It’s part of a comprehensive admission process that also takes into account your high school academics, extracurricular activities, recommendations, personal essay and other factors.
How is the SAT scored?
Each section of your SAT (critical reading, mathematics and writing) will be scored on a 200- to 800-point scale, for a possible total of 2400. You’ll also get two ‘subscores’ on the writing section: a multiple-choice score from 20 to 80, and an essay score from 2 to 12.
But how do you get these scores? Two steps happen before you see a final score.
First, your raw score is figured out by:
• Adding points for correct answers.
• Subtracting a fraction of a point for wrong answers.
Questions that you skipped don’t count either for or against your score, and points aren’t taken away for wrong answers on the math questions where you needed to enter the answer into a grid. Then your raw score is taken and turned into a scaled score. This is where the score of 200–800 points comes from, and it is done through a statistical process called ‘equating.’ This process makes it possible to compare your score with the scores of other students who took alternative versions of the test, and to your own scores on previous tests.
The SAT is made up of 10 sections:
• A 25-minute essay
• Six 25-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)
• Two 20-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)
• A 10-minute multiple-choice writing section
• Total test time: 3 hours and 45 minutes
• You’ll also get three short breaks during the testing.