What is the SAT?

The SAT is used by many colleges to determine admission, scholarships and placement. It is not the end-all-be-all of applying to colleges. However, for some students it is the easiest part of their application to improve and a big part of their applications.

The SAT is taken by high school students around the world; although it is predominantly used by students in the United States as part of their college applications.

In addition to the SAT, students can also take SAT subject tests. SAT subject tests test students on one specific subject. Students should take one or more of these if they are really good in a specific subject. Some colleges expect students to take specific SAT subject tests before applying also.

What is on the SAT?

On the test day, test takers can expect a specific format of the test. The SAT is made up of four tests in the following order:

Types of Questions on the Test

The overwhelming majority of the test is made up of multiple choice questions. In fact all of the reading comprehension questions and writing & language questions are multiple choice questions. Only the math sections have some questions that require the student to write in some of the answers. There’s no partial credit for the work on the math section.

How long is the SAT?

The test is 3 hours long, excluding the optional essay. The optional essay adds 50 minutes to the test.

Each section is timed individually. The times of each sections are below.

Test Time
Reading Test 65 minutes
Writing and Language Test 35 minutes
Math Test (No Calculator) 25 minutes
Math Test (Calculator) 55 minutes

How is the SAT Scored?

The SAT is scored out of a total of 1600 points. The lowest score a student can get is 400.

The SAT is broken down into two main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section and the Math Section.

Each section is scored from a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 800, combining to make a range of 400 to 1600.

Scoring the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section

This section is actually made up of two tests: Reading Test and Writing and Language Test. Each of those tests is scored out of a minimum of 100 and 400, which gets added together.

Each of the two tests under the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section uses the number of correct answers to convert to a scaled score.

Scoring the Math Section

This section is made up of two math tests. One test allows the use of a calculator and the other doesn’t. The total number of correct answers on both tests is converted to a scaled score ranging from 200 to 800.

Score Conversion

The conversion table below is provided to score your SAT Practice Test 1. The full table can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/scoring-sat-practice-test-1.pdf

The raw score in the table simply refers to the number of correct answers. Note that each test has a slightly different scoring table, as some tests are more or less difficult than others.

SAT Score Conversion Table

After using the table above, use the equation below to calculate your SAT Score.

SAT Score Conversion Equation

Taking the SAT

SAT Test Dates

In general, the SAT is administered in October, November, December, March, May, June and August.

Test Date Registration Deadline
August 24, 2019 July 26, 2019
October 5, 2019 September 6, 2019
November 2, 2019 October 3, 2019
December 7, 2019 November 8, 2019
March 14, 2020 February 14, 2020
May 2, 2020 April 3, 2020
June 6, 2020 May 8, 2020

How Do You Register for the SAT?

To register for the SAT, you should create an account on collegeboard.org. It is possible to register by mail also, but we recommend registering online. You can register for the SAT here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register

How much is the SAT?

SAT: $49.50

SAT with Essay: $64.50

Some students make qualify for fee waivers. Fee waivers cover two free SATs, 6 free SAT Subject Tests, and 2 free score reports.

When Do Students Take the SAT?

Students typically take the SAT for the first time in spring of junior year and again in fall of senior year.

How Many Times Can a Student Take the SAT?

Students can as many times SAT exams as they like. Taking it more than three times can be stressful, but for some students, taking it a fourth time or more can be very beneficial.

How Do You Prepare for the SAT?

For all standardized tests, we recommend to start test prep by taking a practice test. Taking a practice test will introduce the student to the test and make understanding how test prep strategies and concepts apply easier. Here are the Top 5 Tips for Preparing for the SAT.

On the current SAT, vocabulary isn’t outright tested. However, vocabulary is a part of the test. If a student doesn’t understand words in answer choices or in passages, he will have a hard time getting the right answer. Students no longer have to memorize arcane vocabulary, but studying some vocabulary for the SAT is necessary.

Online SAT Prep Course

Our online SAT prep is an affordable, self-paced, personalized prep course. As of writing this, we have 7 interactive reading lessons, 6 interactive language & writing lessons, and 29 interactive math lessons. For more information about our online test prep click here.

One-on-One SAT Tutoring

We provide 1-on-1 tutoring at our office in Staten Island, NY. If you would like to set up a schedule, find out more information, or come in for a free practice test, call (917) 722-0677.

In-Person SAT Prep Class

At our office we also offer in-person prep classes that are limited to 8 students per class. To view class schedules and get more information, click here.

What is a Good SAT Score?

The average SAT score of students who take the SAT is 1060. However, a good or bad score really depends on the student and what college he’s applying to, plus what the student’s goals are.

For example, a student who wants to get into a top college and/or win a scholarship will have much different expectations needs than a student who is simply trying to get accepted to a college.

Here is a link to a post about scores needed for some of the top schools: What SAT/ACT Scores You Need for Certain Colleges.


Most colleges accept what is know as a super-score. A super-score takes the best scores from each of the two sections and combines them to get your total score.

For example, if these are your scores:

SAT Attempt 1

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section: 580

Math Section: 640

Total: 1220

SAT Attempt 2

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section:630

Math Section: 610

Total: 1240

Your Super-Score

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section: 630

Math Section: 640

Total: 1270

The great thing about a super-score is that in the example above, the student’s score only increased by 20 points from the first attempt, but the super-score increased by 50 points!

Which Colleges Accept SAT Superscores?

Applying to Colleges

Obviously, the goal after taking the SAT is to get into a college, your dream college. We have a number of blog posts to help you in that process.

Off to College: What to Know When Mapping Your Future

Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates

10 Tips on How to Win College Scholarships

6 Essential Tips on How to Get into an Ivy League School

* SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.