The SAT and the New SAT



About the SAT

If you’re wondering what the letters S-A-T stand for, they do not stand for anything!

This wasn’t always the case: when College Board introduced the SAT in 1926, the exam was called the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Since then, it has been through changes both in name and content. In 1990, it was renamed the Scholastic Assessment Test. Soon, the College Board settled for the SAT as an empty acronym and changed the name of the test to SAT I: Reasoning Test. Finally, the Roman numeral was dropped. Now the test is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, popularly called the ‘SAT’. Earlier, students need to take the SAT subject test for getting admission to a particular course but now SAT Subjects are discontinued by the CollegeBoard from June 2021. Now the SAT aspirants are required to take the SAT 2022 for getting admission to their desired UG course.

The changes make for a fascinating story; one that is rooted in the history of the exam. The exam was originally devised as a sort of an ‘intelligence test’. It was supposed to measure ‘aptitude’, which was considered an innate quality almost akin to a person’s height or hair color. The test makers asserted that students could not ‘prepare’ for the SAT exam. Test takers and The Princeton Review (TPR) did not agree! If the test results were important, they were going to prepare for the SAT test and do as well as they could. It soon became clear that smart work and diligent preparation helped get great SAT scores.


Why SAT Exam?

According to the College Board, ‘more than 2.2 million students in 175 countries and territories take the SAT exam every year’.

Most colleges in the USA require an undergrad applicant to submit either the SAT score or the ACT score. In many other countries, several colleges either accept or require SAT scores for undergraduate admissions. While admissions committees do consider other factors: including grades, transcripts, essays, extra-curricular activities, and contribution to the community, the SAT score is a critical criterion to get into a competitive undergrad school.

SAT is conducted 5 times a year in India. The test is generally administered in the months of March, May, August, October, and December.

Find out more about the SAT Exam Dates 2022

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The New SAT Exam

In 2016 we got big changes in the exam. The content and the test structure of the New SAT exam are very different from those for the SAT administered until January 2016. So at least for a while, we can expect everybody to call the test the ‘New SAT’.

A quick overview of the New SAT exam structure:

Section Test Duration Number of Question
Evidence-based Reading and Writing Reading 65 Minutes 52
Evidence-based Reading and Writing Writing and Language 35 Minutes 44
Math Math Calculator not allowed 25 Minutes 20
Math Math Calculator allowed 55 Minutes 38
Total 230 Minutes 154
Essay Optional 50 Minutes 1 Task


Taking the New SAT Exam 

In India, the New SAT exam will be offered 5 times a year in the following months, March, May, August, October and December.  You can take either the SAT exam or 3 SAT Subject tests in one test administration.


International SAT Exam Registration Fees

Just like the other competitive exams, a registration fee is needed to be paid for the SAT exam in India. Now let’s see the breakdown of examination fee for SAT:

Exam fee for the SAT is $55 [INR 4,081].

Moreover, For Indian nationals it is $104 [INR 7700] as they will have to pay a non-US regional fee of $49 [INR 3600].

For the SAT subject test, an additional fee of $26 [INR 1,900] per subject has to be paid.

SAT Exam Eligibility: No age limit, can be taken any number of times

SAT is a trademark registered and owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with and does not endorse this product or site.

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What is SAT eligibility?

There are no SAT Exam eligibility criteria set by The College Board for taking the SAT exam. However, SAT is for admission to undergraduate programs, candidates need to appear for their SAT while in standard 10th, 11th or 12th.There is no minimum or maximum age limit for candidates wanting to register for the test.

Is the SAT very difficult?

This differs from student to student. The SAT measures the reading skills, Grammar knowledge, and mathematical skills at the high school level only. But the Test is more testing your swiftness in answering questions accurately. So, the test needs preparation.

What type of questions are asked in the SAT exam?

The questions asked are multiple-choice questions.

In the SAT Verbal section, the questions are evidence-based and questions are asked based on passages. The Comprehension skills, interpretational skills, grammar knowledge, and analytical skills are put to test through questions.

SAT Math on the other hand needs the basic formulae in Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic to be thorough. Some questions need the reasoning skills too.

How to Prepare for the SAT?

The best way to prepare for the SAT exam is to start with taking a mock test and find out what’s in the test and where you stand. Thereafter, depending on the University you aspire to, you need to join an SAT course to understand the tricks and traits of the SAT.

How many times am I allowed to take the SAT?

You can take the SAT any number of times. But that doesn’t mean you do. What’s advisable is to take the SAT to a maximum of three times.

What are the major changes to the 2021 SAT?

There is no big change in the test format or way questions are asked. All 4 sections such as the SAT Reading section, SAT Writing section, SAT Math-Calculator section and SAT Math-no calculator sections remain. Only the SAT Essay has been discontinued.

Do colleges see all my SAT scores?

You are allowed to send your SAT scores to 4 colleges after your test. So, if you do avail that, those colleges will be able to see your scores. The good news is that College Board has an option called Score Choice, which allows students to only send scores that best reflect their ability. The bad news is that not all colleges participate in the Score Choice option.

What’s the best way to study for the SAT?

  • It is recommended that you join a course for the SAT.
  • Start with taking a practice test. 
  • Learn the test strategies and techniques during your course.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Keep practicing with the tests.
  • Analyze and review your tests to understand how and where you make mistakes.
  • Work on them. Again take practice tests.
  • Keep achieving small targets and then meet your dream score.

Should I take the SAT or the ACT? What’s the difference?

There is just one major difference between the SAT and ACT. The ACT includes a Science section. That too, the Science is not complicated; it’s more to do with your critical thinking skills via charts and graphs.

Otherwise, both tests need the same strategy and both pressurize with time.

To decide whether to take the SAT or ACT, you should take each of the tests and get to understand which one will be the apt one for you.

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