what is SAT exam

What is SAT exam and how to crack it? | Subjects, tips, & more!

Last Updated on September 22, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

Dreaming of going abroad for your bachelor’s degree? Then you need to know what is SAT exam and how to crack it. Read on to get all the important details you need to know about this test!

What is SAT exam and how are you going to prepare for it? The SATs are an important metric used by institutions to measure a high school student’s readiness for college. If you have just started researching, and know nothing about SAT exam, preparation, or other details, then read ahead.

What is SAT exam all about?

Students who plan to take admission for undergraduate studies and study abroad are required to successfully qualify for the SAT exams

Let’s begin with knowing the SAT exam’s full form, i.e., Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is a standardized assessment test created by the College Board (a non-profit US entity) for students applying to colleges and universities. Higher education institutes all around the world now use it along with high-school grades, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities to assess the aptitude of applicants.


SAT exam details

SAT exams are conducted 7 times a year in different regions at different intervals. Particular centers in nearly every country get to conduct at least 5 tests in a year. As per the revised SAT exam pattern, it is a three-hour-long test that comprises two sections (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing [EBRW] and Mathematics).

SAT Exam Pattern and SAT scores

Student filling an answer sheet with a pencil
Prepare for the exam keeping in mind the scores required for different universities.

What is SAT exam, its pattern, and SAT exam subjects? The SAT exam is scored between the range of 400-1600. The SAT reasoning exam has 3 main sections. We are going to break down the existing SAT exam pattern into parts.

Section 1 & 2: EBRW (Total Question: 96, Time Limit: 100 minutes, Score Range: 200-800)

EBRW is further divided into a Reading Test and a Writing and Language Test.

  • Reading Test: 52 questions to be attempted in 65 minutes
  • Writing and Language Test: 44 questions to be attempted in 35 minutes

Improve your SAT reading score by creating a passage reading strategy that works for you. Take an official SAT test for the reading section. Set a timer and see if you can complete the section in time. Lastly, analyze your section, know your weakness, and work upon them. This will help you with your time management skills along with creating a perfect strategy for the test. 

Section 3: The mathematics portion also has a score range of 200-800:

  • Math with a calculator: 20 questions in 25 minutes
  • Math without a calculator: 38 questions in 55 minutes

Your SAT math test practice is incomplete without memorizing the formulae to ace your SAT math section. Be familiar with strategies such as backsolving, picking numbers, etc., to solve the questions quicker. Be mindful of the silly mistakes that you tend to make while solving this section.

Know all about the SAT exam while you begin preparing and aiming for the best universities. Be updated with the changes happening in the exam pattern. This will help you with all things that you require for your test preparation. 

New Changes in the SAT Exam Pattern

The changes in the SAT exam pattern are actually not that new. They were implemented from March 2016 onwards. In the current SAT exam syllabus, the reading and writing sections have been merged into one more comprehensive EBRW.  Moreover, the max score range in the new pattern drops to 1600 (previously, it was 2400).

The most noteworthy change in the new pattern, however, is the annulment of the guessing penalty. Now, 0.25 marks are not deducted on every incorrect answer. This change has slightly increased the composite score ranges for given percentiles.

The College Board has eliminated the SAT subject tests and the optional essay in SAT exam 2021 and going further. There were 20 SAT exam subjects available in five broader areas. The areas included History, Languages, Mathematics, English, and Science. But, it has been scrapped now.

Please note that the elimination of the optional essay has made the exam duration 50 minutes shorter. So now, your exam will be for three hours.

SAT Syllabus

Are there any particular course books you need to cram? One single SAT study guide to follow? The answer is no. The idea of the SAT exam is to test the intelligence and understanding of students in a broader, universal manner that can’t be realized by confining it to some particular books.

Nonetheless, these are some elements and themes that are part of the SAT exam 2021 syllabus.

  1. The reading section has five passages: one from fiction, one from philosophy and general themes of daily life, one from economy/sociology/psychology, and two from everyday science. Aspirants are required to read the passages and answer the set of questions in the given context with reasoning and arguments.
  2. Writing and Language Test comprises 44 MCQs from 4 passages (science, careers, history, humanities, and social sciences) where students need to articulate and express their ideas by taking care of the language conventions. Some questions also ask aspirants to fix grammatical and syntax errors in the given passages.
  3. The SAT syllabus for mathematics includes questions from Algebra, Problem Solving, and Data Analytics and Advanced Math in both sub-sections.

SAT Exam 2021 eligibility

The word “eligible” written with wooden tiles
Across the globe, students from the age groups of 17-19 years have recorded the highest turnout for the SAT exams

The one thing you need to know about  SAT exam is that the College Board hasn’t set any eligibility criteria for the exam. Any student 12 years or older is eligible to sit in the exam. However, as per the norm, students who completed their high school take the exam to get admission to colleges and universities of their choice.

Understanding SAT Percentile

While the score range of 400-1600 is for absolute marking, SAT percentiles tell how you have excelled in comparison to other aspirants. The figure of 70 percentile indicates that you have done better than 70% of the candidates. Colleges and universities also evaluate a student from their SAT percentiles instead of composite scores.

Percentiles are determined by the cumulative score of students in each test. Therefore, SAT scores for colleges can change every year. For instance, a university with a 75 percentile requirement can have a closing composite score of 1340 in 2018 and 1450 in 2019, depending on how candidates, in general, have performed in that particular year.

Any seasoned consultant can update you regarding the current percentile and composite score requirements of the universities and colleges you want to apply to.

What is a good SAT score?

Every university’s minimum cutoff requirement differs for admissions. But, we could say that a score of 1200 and above will make you eligible to apply for admissions for various universities. Similarly, a composite score of 1350+ can make you eligible for scholarships for universities in India.

SAT exam fees and registration

As of now, the cost of the SAT exam fees is $55. You can register online at the College Board’s website.

Keep in mind that there are additional charges for things like changing your test center, canceling registration, canceling registration after the deadline, late registration, and waitlist fee.

Acing your SAT and choosing the right university can be a scary experience unless you take the right approach and consult the right people. You need to know the tiniest details from the SAT exam full form, SAT exam subjects to the scores, etc.

We hope that this blog post has provided you with all the basic yet necessary information on SAT. For further information or assistance on overseas education, feel free to reach out to us. Plan your study abroad journey the right way.

Good Luck!

Akanksha Vora

Bright, bold, and bubbly, Akanksha Vora is a writer at iSchoolConnect. She writes creative and curious blogs that help students with their life and studies abroad.

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