What You Should Know About The SAT Test


The most important thng that you should know about the SAT test is that most US colleges take your SAT scores into consideration when they are deciding to accept or deny your application. The first thing you need to do is decide when you are going to take the SAT test. Your drop-dead date is the earliest "turn in your score" deadline among all of the colleges where you want to apply. Once you have looked at all the college admissions "submit your SAT score" deadlines, you can back up to the test date that will give you these scores in time. Talk to your high school guidance counselor ASAP about when you need to register for this test date. Remember, this is the "drop dead" date if you want a chance to apply to a college on your list who requires the SAT score on a specific (earliest) date. My advice: try not to wait until the dropdead date!

Ideal time to take the SAT:

* As soon as you feel ready (so get prepared early)!

*Consider leaving yourself enough time for a 'round two' (if necessary).

*Absolutely no later than the earliest score submission deadline among all of the colleges that you are trying to get in to.

Here is a short recap on the purpose and design of the test: Visit the My College Options Resource Center "College Entrance Testing" Section for more info..

*The SAT is a reasoning test:it measures your ability to solve problems by choosing the correct answer when presented with multiple choices.

*High school juniors and seniors take the SAT as a part of preparing for college admissions since most American colleges and universities accept the SAT, along with your high school transcript, extra- and co-curricular achievements, letters of recommendation, and essays.

How long does the test take and what does the SAT Reasoning Test cover?

The test takes approximately three hours and 45 minutes to complete. There are three sections on the test: critical reading, math and writing. Each of the three sections uses a 200-800 score range, with a maximum score of 2400.

Critical Reading

This section includes short reading passages (about 100 words) and long reading passages (500-800 words) from a variety of texts as well as sentence completion questions. There are a total of 78 multiple choice items in this section.


This section includes numbers and operations, algebra and functions, geometry and measurement, data analysis, statistics, and probability. The majority of the math questions are multiple choice; however, there are 10 questions at the end of the section that require students to produce their own responses. Calculators are allowed but are not required on this test. We suggest that students check the SAT website to see which calculators are approved for use.


This section requires that students write an essay that takes a position on an issue. Students must use critical reasoning and examples to support their positions. Multiple choice questions follow the essay. These questions test students’ knowledge of grammar and conventions, measuring ability to identify sentence errors and improve sentences and paragraphs.

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

Selective colleges often require two or three SAT Subject Tests. These tests are separate from the SAT Reasoning Test and come in a variety of subjects that you can chose from. If the colleges on your search list suggest or prefer the SAT Subject Tests, you have a much better shot getting in if you take them. Check with your prospective college and university choices (via their official websites or through the admissions departments) to see if they require, prefer or suggest certain SAT Subject Tests. Some colleges and universities let you take the SAT Subject Tests on campus after you have already been accepted to place out of courses.

The following disciplines are covered by the SAT Subject Tests: literature, biology, chemistry, physics, U.S. history, world history, math level 1 and 2 (scientific or graphing calculator required), and foreign languages (some are offered with a listening component).

When Should I Take the SAT?

Since the SAT Reasoning Test measures mathematics taught through the third year of high school, you should take your first SAT Reasoning Test in the spring of your junior year unless you are highly advanced in your academic work. The majority of colleges record their applicants’ SAT scores using the highest score achieved in each of the areas of the test.

If you achieve a high score in one or two areas of the test but want to improve your scores in other areas, feel free to take the exam again, prior to your college application deadlines.

How Do I Register for the SAT Reasoning Test and Subject Tests, and What Fees Apply?

You can register online at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/reg.html . You can also get a paper registration form from your high school counselor.

It is very important to register on time and specify which subject tests you would like to take. You can back out of a particular subject test on test day if you change your mind, but it is more difficult to get an additional subject test added at the last minute. You will take the SAT at a local test center (schools and community organizations are common locations). Look for the nearest location on the College Board website and add the test location code to your registration form.

For 2008 and 2009, the SAT Reasoning Test costs $45. An SAT Subject Test is $20, though the Language Subject Tests, with listening, cost an additional $20. For all other SAT Subject Tests, you must pay an additional $9 per test. For more information including SAT test fee waivers, additional registration and purchase options, test locations and much more, visit: http://www.collegeboard.com/


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