Scholastic Aptitude Test

What is the SAT?

The SAT is one of the most common college admission tests. It lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math. People take the test as one step in getting ready to enroll in post-secondary training, if the school or program they want to attend requires that they take it.

Why Take the SAT?

As the nation’s most widely used college admission test, the SAT is the first step toward higher education for students of all backgrounds. It’s taken by more than two million students every year and is accepted by virtually all colleges and universities.

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. You can also find this information in College Search pop out link icon. This valuable information allows you to research which colleges might be the best fit for you.

FAQ's About SAT

What does the SAT test? pop out link icon

The SAT tests your skills in reading, writing and math. Your strength in these subjects is important for success in college and throughout your life.

  • The 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 math section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.

See a detailed breakdown of what’s on the test pop out link icon.

How can I do my best on the SAT? pop out link icon

It helps to become familiar and comfortable with the test format and question types. You should take advantage of the College Board’s free online practice tools pop out link icon, such as an online or printable practice test, sample questions, The Official SAT Question of the Day™ and more.

If you want to improve your scores, consider brushing up or learning more in subject areas. Check out the online courses.

For high school students, the PSAT/NMSQT® is one of the best ways to begin preparing for the SAT, because it covers the same subjects under timed conditions.

How important is the SAT in college admission? pop out link icon

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.

Every college and university uses a different combination of criteria for admission. Research the schools and programs you’re interested in. If those schools and programs require the SAT, then get prepared to take it.

How is the SAT scored? pop out link icon

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.

Visit How the SAT Is Scored pop out link icon to see exactly how your score gets calculated.

How much time will I have to take the SAT? pop out link icon

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, so don’t forget to bring a snack!

Testing accommodations are available for students with a documented need. Learn more about accommodations pop out link icon, like extra time.

Links
  • Registration pop out link icon: Dates, fees, and information about the registration process.
  • Test Dates pop out link icon: Calendar of administrations
  • Practice & Review pop out link icon: A breakdown of the test sections, along with sample questions.
  • Full Practice Test pop out link icon: A full, released SAT test. Students can choose to take the practice test online or print out a PDF.