Last Updated: February 03, 2021
What is SAT?
SAT is a test administered by the College Board to measure the readiness of a high school student for college/university. It is a pencil-and-paper test whose workability is solely based on the factor that the test provides a common assessment ground for colleges/universities when it comes to narrowing down the applicants. A SAT test score is then reviewed alongside your GPA and college application which acts as a bonus and also shows the amount of preparation that has gone into sending the application.
The exam is generally taken by students in the spring of their junior year or in the fall of their senior year. The advantages of taking SAT in junior year is that the test can then be retaken in case the average score turns up leaning toward the lower end . The exam is offered a total of 7 times nationally in an year which generally comes up in March, May, June, August, October, November and December.
Students are mostly found to be confused about the prospect of taking SAT. It is a fact that many colleges and universities do not require SAT and you might prefer to choose such places for obvious reasons. It is to remove this confusion that we have curated a list stating reasons as to when and why you must take the SAT.
First of all, while SAT plays a critical role in college admissions it also clears the path for various scholarships
. When colleges might not consider SAT scores for the admission process, a higher SAT score will aid in entering the list of SAT scholarship requirements. In specific cases when the college of your choice does not provide SAT scholarships, you can always find other organizations that offer a decent sum according to the score you have received. Generally speaking, a score above 1200 makes you eligible for scholarships. But the higher the score, the better the scholarship that can be procured which can add up even to thousands of dollars in your college years.
Secondly, a decent SAT score compensates for a low GPA
. Whatever the reason for a low GPA in high school, a above average SAT score along with an excellent college application and a few letters of recommendation will guarantee you the seat of your choice. In such cases, SAT scores show your credibility despite your high school performance and raises the bar that a GPA must have set for you.
Thirdly, SAT scores are universally accepted
and can be used after college
. By this we mean that a above average SAT score can be added to your resume and that it will definitely boost your chances of getting hired at the first job. Competitive exams that are taken at any point in life will never be a wasted effort since its value is recognised universally and will compensate any year gap or other drawbacks your profile may seem to hold.
The exam then is not for gaining admission at a college/ university of choice but it is not limited to that alone. An above average score can bring you both money in terms of educational scholarships from inside and outside the academic space along with that first dream job you have always worked for.
Registering for SAT
You can register for SAT in two modes- either online or through mail. The details for both these modes of registration will be given in detail below.
- Create a free account in the College Board site. Ensure that the examinee does this themselves since parents/counsellors will not be able to register for you.
- Type in your identification details including your full, legal name as it appears in your photo id.
- Fill in the details asks even if not mandatory. This plays an important role in availing scholarships later.
- Choose whether you are taking the exam with the Essay. This will depend on which college you plan to apply to but is safer to write the Essay since this decision cannot be changed post registration.
- Find a test center that suits your location and is a reasonable distance to commute on the test day.
- Find a test date that is convenient for you.
- Upload a photo after ensuring that it meets the requirements specified.
- Confirm details one last time. Print Admission Ticket.
This online registration can be done over a period of time and needn't be done in one sitting. But having all the materials on hand will make the whole process easy. It might take a maximum of 30 minutes to complete the registration.
Paper Registration/Registration by Mail
A Student Registration Booklet for SAT
can be collected from your school counselor and can be sent by mail. This should include an acceptable photo and information regarding a form of payment. Ensure that U.S registration materials must meet the U.S deadlines. It should also be understood that late registration deadlines are different for both online registration and paper registration.
- Include a College Board code for your high school or a home-school code alone with your test center.
- Include School Codes of colleges /universities that you intend to apply to.
- Photo should be at least 2 x inches and at most 2.5 x 3 inches
- Write your name, date of birth, and high school code behind the attached photograph.
- Photo should be taped over barcode. Use clear Tape.
- Do NOT use paper clips, staples or glue to attach photograph.
- Photo must be focused and should match your appearance on test day. No old photo allowed.
To avoid delays in processing applications sent through mail, one must ensure that every field marked in red/ marked required is filled. The applications sent can be rejected and returned to you in case of the following reasons-
- Incomplete information.
- Lack of payment/ payment details.
- Insufficient payment.
SAT Test Format
The SAT exam consists of two major sections which are Mathematics and Evidence based Reading and Writing. It also includes an optional Essay section which can be written according to the policy of the college/ university you are applying to.
The duration of the exam is 3 hours with an additional 50 minutes given to the students who opt for the optional Essay section. This can be further broken down with the Reading Test taking up 65 minutes for 52 questions and a Writing and Language Test which is of 35 minutes comprising of 44 questions.
The Math Test has two sections with one that permits the use of a calculator and another that doesn't permit the use of a calculator. The test without a calculator is held for 25 minutes and has 20 questions whereas the test with the calculator permitted is for 55 minutes and comprises of 38 questions.
The optional Essay section is held after the Reading, Writing and Math sections and is held for 50 minutes after the completion of the other sections.(This section will be removed from the official Sat test from June 2021)
Changes in SAT-2021
- SAT Subject Tests have been cancelled by the College Board from the year 2021. The administration has decided that International Students will be able to write the Subject Tests for two more sessions , namely the ones in May and June of 2021. But students in the U.S will not be able to write these exams anymore.
This includes information for students who have already registered for the current session that has been cancelled. They will get their registration fees refunded after automatic cancellation of the registration both in the online and offline mode.
- The College Board has also decided to discontinue the optional SAT Essay after the June 2021 session. After the June 2021 session, this section of the test will be provided only in states where it is required as per SAT School Day norms. Students who are taking exams in their schools may verify with the school about the availability of the optional Essay section in the test.
Skills tested by SAT
The reading section in SAT consists of four individual passages along with a passage pair. Passages may contain tables, graphs or charts included. The passages may be mostly from topics like world literature, texts inspired from U.S documents, Social Science related articles or Science related ones.
The main skills that are tested accounts back to critical aspects of reading and understanding passages which include a certain command over evidence through which a student is expected to find evidenced from passages in order to support their claims regarding answers and also to interpret diagrams. It also included a certain ability to analyse immediate information provided regarding Social Science and Science.
The Writing and Language section will be completely removed from fictitious writing and will demand for argumentative or explanatory thinking. The questions will generally be to identify errors in grammatical structure which may be in punctuation, word choice or word organization and to rectify them from the options.
The Mathematics section has two sub divisions depending upon the accessibility of a calculator. The section without a calculator contains just 15 multiple choice questions and 5 grid-in questions that can be solved in 25 minutes. The next section has a total of 55 minutes allotted with 30 multiple choice questions and 8 grid-ins. Grid-in question implies questions that will not have answers provided but will have to be solved by oneself and answered in the space provided. There will also be an extended thinking problem which looks like a grid-in but will have multiple questions regarding the word problem/graph/figure that is provided.
SAT exam is scored out of a total of 1600 and the candidate will receive scores on each sub sections in the SAT report which includes math, reading and writing and language. The test offers no negative marking and encourages guessing over leaving answers unattended.
The total score will be a combination of both reading/writing and math sections where both are graded within 800 and then added to obtain the overall score. The average score an examinee can obtain is around 1000 which will increase to 1200 as a minimum for decent scholarships.
- Learn the logistics of the test after looking through the key concepts covered.
- Understand the patterns of questions and learn smart.
- Do Practice Tests incessantly
- Keep in mind that it is not an IQ Test and do NOT fret over the score
- Confidence is key