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What is SAT? Test Format - Scoring - Practice

SAT is owned by College Board, a non-profit organization. It was started in 1926. Around 1.7 million students take SAT exam every year. SAT score is used my Universities/Colleges (mostly in US) for admission to Undergraduate programs (Bachelors degree).

SAT Test Format

SAT is a 3 hour 50 minute test (it includes 50 min. optional Essay). The new SAT format is broken down into two major test portions.

A major new development for the SAT has been the move toward technology-friendly test taking. Unlike the old SAT, the 2016 SAT is now offered both on paper and in a digital format. The use of calculators is also permitted, but only for one portion of the math test; the old format allowed for use the entire time in the math section.

The essay portion, which was added to the SAT in 2005, is now optional for students taking the test. The essay was originally part of the writing score total, combined with multiple choice questions, and was based on a provided prompt from which students could respond with opinion and supporting experiences. With the new changes, students are given a passage to read and analyze using persuasive writing to describe an author's motives and techniques. The optional essay also allows for 50 minutes to read and write the piece, while the original time was only 25 minutes.

SAT Scoring

Possibly the largest change to the SAT format in 2016 has been the method for scoring the tests. When the SAT originally was created, it was scored out of a total of 1600 points. As the test changed and the essay portion was added, the score rose to a total of 2400 points. The point breakdown was three possible areas with a total highest score of 800 each: Math, Reading Comprehension and Writing.

The update this year(from 2016) brings the total score of the SAT back down to 1600, with the essay becoming an optional portion. The new test has two overall categories, each with a total possible score of 800: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

On the SAT, each question is typically worth one point total. Before the changes, students would be penalized for wrong answers by losing one-fourth of a point per each incorrect answer. However, the changed test now allows for a "no wrong answer penalty," meaning any incorrect answer does not take points away from the total overall score. This is very similar to the ACT, where omitted answers and incorrect answers do not hurt the final score. This allows for less stress on the students for fear of loss of points for incorrect answers. The questions themselves have changed as well. Before 2016, each question provided five possible answer choices for each multiple-choice question. With the new test, each multiple-choice question now only has four possible answers, giving students a better chance in narrowing down answers when a tough question arises.


SAT Prep

SAT Math

SAT Writing

SAT Reading