Important Things You Should Know About SAT


What is SAT? Why is the SAT Exam Required?

Most of the colleges and universities in the US and a few other countries require the students to take a standardized test like SAT or ACT whose scores are used for admission decisions. SAT is administered across the world by the College Board. Also, good SAT scores can help the students avail scholarships.


SAT Eligibility Criteria

The College Board has not set any SAT eligibility criteria for the students to take the SAT. Any high school student who wants to pursue his undergraduate degree can take up the test. But by the time of enrolment into the college, the student should have completed the high school. There is no SAT exam age limit either, but most of the students who take up this exam are from high school in the age group of 17-19. The student must carry a valid Passport or Aadhar card as the photo identification proof to the test center.


When Does the SAT Happen?

Outside the US, the SAT is administered five times a year during March, May, August, October, and December. The SAT registration dates end almost a month before the exam date.


When Should the Student Take the Test?

The student should take the exam to meet the college deadlines. Also while taking the test, the student should be thoroughly prepared.


How do Colleges Accept the SAT?

During the pandemic, the way colleges accept SAT scores has changed. Some of the colleges have become flexible with the way they accept the SAT scores.

Test-Optional: Some of the colleges like The University of Chicago, let the students decide whether they want to send the SAT scores. If the student thinks that his score showcases his actual potential, then he can send the scores.

Test Flexible: Some of the colleges like NYU, may waiver the SAT scores if your GPA requirements are met. Others can consider your AP scores or IB scores in lieu of the SAT scores.

Test Blind: Some of the colleges like the University of California system of schools, do not want you to send any test scores.

Nevertheless, the IVY leagues and some of the top-tier colleges like Harvard and Stanford still require the students to submit the SAT scores. Also, this scenario may change as the pandemic is coming to an end. Remember the admission process differs from school to school. Hence go through the admission policies thoroughly before you apply for any school. Also, take the SAT or the ACT to keep your options open.


SAT Structure and Syllabus

The SAT has two sections and is 2 hours 14 minutes  long. It is a computer based test. The SAT exam syllabus and structure is,

Section Number of Questions Time
Reading and Writing 54 questions,  64 minutes
Maths 44 questions, 70 minutes


The overall score on the test ranges from 400 to 1600. This comes from the two section scores – Verbal and Math each ranging from 200-800.


How Should You Register for the SAT Exam?

For SAT exam registration, the student has to visit the College Board website and create an account. The student should then select the test date and center and make the payment. The student should upload the recent photograph which will become a part of the Admission Ticket.


How Should You Prepare for the SAT?

For the Beginners

  1. Familiarize yourself with the SAT exam. To begin with, visit the College Board website to collect more information about the test administration, and sending of scores.
  2. Set your target score. Visit the university websites to know more about their admission requirements which include not just the SAT score but also other criteria such as the GPA and personal profile. The target score varies based on the colleges and the courses you are looking for.
  3. To begin with, take an SAT mock test. This can either be the SAT previous year papers or the one offered by the test prep companies. The score from this test will help you set priorities. If need be, go for SAT coaching. Professional guidance will go a long way in helping you improve your scores and reach the target. Before choosing the SAT classes, make sure that the course includes SAT-like prep material for practice and tests. Also, the techniques and the strategies taught should be time-tested.
  4. You can amp up your preparation by adding some of the best SAT books for preparation to your arsenal. But don’t spend too much time collecting the materials.
  5. Prepare a study plan and follow it meticulously.


For Seasoned Test-Takers Who Have Prior Exposure to the PSAT or the SAT:

  1. Figure out how the scoring works on the SAT. Find out how many more questions you should get correct in each section to reach your target. The questions on the SAT have a set pattern. This can be identified by practice.
  2. Choose an SAT Test series and take these tests at regular intervals along with the practice. Go for timed tests and make sure you spend enough time reviewing your mistakes. Find out the cause for the mistakes – was it a conceptual error or did it happen due to time constraints. Learn and practice the concepts in which you are weak.
  3. Create a study plan and stick to it. Avoid distractions in the form of social media or games.


Few Tips for Preparing for the Test

SAT Reading and Writing – Prior knowledge about the topic could be detrimental and also personal opinions are not entertained. Stick true to what the text has to say while answering the questions. Learn the grammar and punctuation rules. The questions that test the writing styles can get tricky. Know how to tackle the different question types.

SAT Math – This section can be quite tricky & time consuming hence, time management is the key. Start by taking a practice test, try & remember some formulas & basic math facts. Most importantly, practice your speed.


What Should You do on the Day Before the Test?

  1. Relax a little bit. Watch your favorite movie or show, hang out with friends, or play with your pets.
  2. Pack your bag. Make sure you carry your photo ID, Admission Ticket, #2 pencils, calculator, and erasers. You can also add a watch, jacket, and some snacks to your repertoire.
  3. Hit the bed early as you have a long day.


What Should You do on the Morning of the Test?

  1. Wake up early and stretch a little.
  2. Grab some light breakfast and reach the test center as early as possible.
  3. While taking the test don’t panic. Don’t visit the previous or the next section. Guess on questions if you do not have time to solve them.


Frequently Asked Questions

Ques.1 What are the accommodations made for students with disabilities?

  • The College Board approves the use of Braille and Large Print Text for visually impaired students.
  • Extra time is also offered to disabled students which is not offered in the case of general candidates.
  • Extra breaks can be availed by these candidates during the exam duration.

Ques.2 Do I have to send all my SAT scores to the colleges?

While some of the colleges like Yale University require you to send all the scores of the tests you have taken, for the others, you can use the Score Choice option to send the best of your scores.

Ques.3 Should I send the SAT scores to the colleges through the College Board?

Yes. When you register for the SAT exam, you will have the option of sending your scores free of cost to four colleges. This list can be altered up to 9 days after the test. Post that you have to pay a fee for reporting the scores.

Ques.4 How much should I pay for sending the SAT scores?

For each additional report, you have to pay $14.

Ques.5 Will the universities and colleges accept PSAT scores?

The PSAT scores are for scholarship purposes. They cannot replace the SAT scores.

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