What is the SAT? Here is a Complete FAQ of the SAT Test

We are here to make sure you know exactly what to expect from the SAT test. Learn about the format, questions, and scoring system, and expect to find every free printable SAT test with answers available.

SAT test
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What is a SAT Test?

The SAT is a standardized test, commonly used in the United States for college admissions. The SAT is wholly owned, created, and published by the United States College Board, a private, non-profit organization. This is conducted by the Educational Testing Service on behalf of the College Board which also established the SAT until recently.

The goal of the test is to assess the readiness of the students for college. Students in grades 11 and 12 take the SAT as part of the college application process, so that they can submit their scores for college.

While most of the United States’ four-year colleges and universities require SAT scores for admission, others do not. Colleges which do not request SAT scores are referred to as “test-optional” schools. This means that with your submission you don’t have to submit any SAT scores, but maybe if you want to. In the end, whether you submit the test scores or not, it is your decision.

Here are some of the best universities and colleges that don’t require SAT or ACT scores.

What is on a SAT Test?

There are two SAT sections:

  • Math
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

There’s also an optional Essay segment in the SAT. SAT Essay scores are recorded separately from the test scores in general. Many colleges require you to complete the SAT Essay. On the school web site you can check the admissions policies of every college.

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How long is SAT Test?

The SAT may seem like it lasts forever for certain students but in fact the test only takes three hours. That time involves a 10-minute break and a 5-minute break and an optional essay adds another 50 minutes, extending the SAT to almost four hours.

What is a good score in SAT?

The SAT score range for your overall score is 400-1600, and 200-800 for each of your two section scores. One section score is Math, and the other is a composite score called Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW).

You need to learn exactly how SAT scoring works to decide what makes for successful SAT scores compared to all the others.

A percentile rank corresponds to your total score out of 1600 (as well as your two section scores out of 800). Your SAT percentile shows you the same or better percentage of students you scored.

And if you have a 60th percentile score, for example, you’ve done higher than 60 percent of all test takers.

The SAT composite score is 1059 in mean, or average. Note that the test is structured intentionally so that the mean score on the 1600-point scale hovers around 1000 — about 500 per section. For Math the average score is 528, and for EBRW the average score is 531.

A normal distribution accompanies the SAT scores. It means student performance appears to cluster around the mid-scale (1000 is the half-way point between the 400 minimum score and the 1600 maximum score). Much less test takers perform at the top and bottom ends of the scale.

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How do I prepare for SAT math?

Here are some tips for handling the SAT Math test like a pro.

  1. Take an answer sheet for a practice test. Time yourself. Score the test instead, and study the subjects you need to focus on further. This will help you develop a good study plan.
  2. Study every topic covered in the section on SAT Math, and memorize formulas and data. If you memorize them well, you have a better chance of finding a solution.
  3. Get familiar with the types of questions on SAT Math. The easiest way to achieve so is by practising. If you get a question wrong while improving your score, don’t worry. Study the explanation to see what you have missed; then use what you have learnt to solve it again.
  4. The SAT has a no-calculator section. Learn to perform simple calculations in a confident way, such as multiplying, dividing and sketching a line graph without a calculator.
  5. You have to eliminate clumsy mistakes to do well on the SAT. You ‘re more likely to make errors, because you’re being timed. Be mindful of the timing but try not to get nervous because of it.
  6. You have to get to the end of the test to gain a high score. You’ll want extra time for the latter part of the section where you’ll potentially have more difficult questions. Make sure you practice under timed conditions (about one minute to one minute and a half per question) as you prepare for the SAT Math sections. This will help you become as efficient as possible before test day.

Where can I get a free practice SAT test PDF?

There are currently 10 practice tests available for the redesigned SAT, all published by the SAT creator itself, the College Board. These tests are the absolute best ones to use because they are the most identical to the test for your SAT studies.

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Don’t forget to fill out the SAT answer sheet with your answers.

Can you take a practice SAT test online?

You can take SAT practice tests online with Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. Your answers will be graded automatically at the end of your test and the timer will keep you on track with time limits for the section.

Best of all, you’ll get personalized practice tips after your practice check, so you can focus on what you’ve missed.

Start an online practice test here.

Where can I get sample of SAT test?

Want a preview of some of the question types on the redesigned SAT? Try the SAT sample questions provided by The Princeton Review here. You can challenge yourself with some reading, writing, and language practice.

Need more practice questions? Check out this SAT cracking guide, which includes all the strategies, exercises, and feedback that you need to maximize your performance on the redesigned test.

Final thoughts

No magic techniques exist to ace the SAT. The SAT still requires students to practice the necessary reading, writing, and math skills, so using the correct SAT strategies will help ensure that you’re performing to the best of your ability.

Happy test taking!

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