Everything you need to know about the SAT

SAT scores

Are you preparing your child for one of the top colleges in the USA? If your answer to this question is yes then you must be aware of SAT. If not then don’t worry, we will provide you with a complete guide for preparation for the SAT and why you should prepare for it. 

SAT is a standardized college admission test in the United States that is widely used for college admissions. The SAT is entirely conducted by the “College Board” a private non-profit organization in the USA. According to the statement of the college board, the SAT is intended to measure various skills including literacy, numeracy, and writing that are needed for a successful academic journey. Let us deep dive into the topic to get more information about the SAT and your child’s college preparation.

Colleges that Accept SAT Scores as Their Selection Criteria

Almost every four-year university in the US accepts SAT scores as a part of their admission procedure. The SAT score is an Impactful deciding factor for admission to many colleges in the US of the top colleges that accept SAT scores as their deciding factor of admission are Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and the list goes on. 

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What is SAT?

In the USA there are mainly two standardized college admission tests. One of which is the SAT and the other is the ACT. ( we can use the ACT hyperlink here) 

SAT was developed by the College Board and later it was administered by the Educational Testing Service on behalf of the College Board. Previously it was known as the scholastic aptitude test and had two sections: Verbal and Mathematical. Later on, with time it attained different names at different times and finally gained popularity as simply the SAT. 

SAT is structured in a way that tests the preparation level of students for college by measuring skills like verbal ability, comprehension, and computational ability. Every year SAT is conducted seven times in the US in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. It is conducted four times a year for international students in October, December, March, and May.

The ACT: mode of examination and time

In 2016, the SAT was completely revised and re-formed. Before 2016, the SAT total score used to vary from 600-2400 while after 2016 it has been changed to 400-1600. Previously the total time for the examination was 3 hours and 45 minutes but after 2016 the essay section became optional and candidates got 3 hours (without the essay section) and 3 hours 50 minutes (with the essay section). 

Recently the SAT examination has adapted completely to digital mode and the first fully digital SAT was conducted in February 2024. The total time to complete the online SAT is 2 hours and 14 minutes.

How to prepare for the SAT?

According to data, the national average SAT score in the US in 2023 was approximately 1028, so one needs to score above 1028 to get preferences from colleges. If you have decided to prepare for the SAT, the first step is to be aware of the syllabus. 

The SAT syllabus covers mathematics, reading, and writing. Subjects covered in reading and writing vary from history, social studies, psychology, etc. Algebra, data analysis, and advanced mathematics are covered in the mathematics part. 






  Literature, History, Social Studies, and General Sciences.


65 min

Writing and Language

MCQ on grammar based on passages.


35 min

Math (No Calculator)

Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry etc


25 min

Math (Calculator)

Same as the above topics but calculators are allowed.


55 min




180 min

 Key points to keep in mind while preparing for the SAT: 

  • Equal importance to all subjects
  • Practice mock SAT as much as possible
  • Study regularly
  • Manage stress and stay positive

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What is the total score on the SAT?

Ans: The total score on the SAT is 1600, 800 for maths, and 800 for reading and writing.

Q2: When should I start preparing for the SAT?

Ans: One can prepare for the SAT as early as they prefer, usually, it is advisable to start preparing by the end of 10th grade to manage time.

Q3: What is PSAT?

Ans: PSAT is a practice test for SAT aspirants to assess their level of preparation. 

Q4: Is a calculator allowed in the SAT?

Ans: Some section of the exam allows using a calculator while in some other sections, a calculator is not allowed.

Q5: What is the cost of the SAT?

Ans: The average cost of the SAT is 68$, which keeps changing.

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