SAT FORMAT AND TEST DATES

WHAT IS THE SAT?

The SAT is a standardized test used by many colleges and universities for admission. The test is intended to measure a high school student’s preparedness for college. The SAT test was redesigned for the first time in eleven years in March 2016. The test was redesigned to more accurately assess student preparedness for the demands of collegiate academics.

SAT FORMAT

The SAT is a 3 hour 50 minute exam (including an optional essay which takes 50 minutes), consisting of five sections: Reading, Writing, Math (with calculator), and Math (no calculator).

SAT Test Section # of Questions and Types Content Timing
EVIDENCE-BASED
READING & WRITING
Reading
52 standard multiple-choice
Writing
44 standard multiple-choice
Relevant words in context
(Reading, Writing)
Command of evidence
(Reading, Writing)
Expression of ideas
(Writing)
Standard English conventions
(Writing)
100 minutes
Reading
One 65-minute section
Writing
One 35-minute section
MATHEMATICS 45 standard multiple-choice
13 student-produced response
The heart of algebra
Passport to advanced math
Problem solving & data analysis
80 minutes
One 25-minute section (no calculator)
One 55-minute section (calculator allowed)
ESSAY* 1 evidence-based essay Analyzing a source 50 minutes
One 50-minute essay

The SAT is a paper-based test administered at schools and sites around the country on select dates throughout the year. Students are allowed to take the test as many times as they want; most universities will only look at the highest score or the super-score (a combination of the highest sections). However, since the scoring format changed in 2016, schools may tweak their policies accordingly. For more accurate information, please contact individual universities to confirm their score acceptance policy.

*The SAT Essay is only available in states where it’s required for accountability purposes.

SAT SCORING/GUESSING PENALTY

College Board does not deduct any points for an incorrect question. This means that you should not leave any questions blank on the test. With the sections being quite long, pacing and timing are crucial. Your tutor will help you master these skills.

The SAT scoring model has become more complex, providing a more detailed analysis and breakdown of students’ scores. Area scores, each scored out of 800, are combined to create a composite score for a maximum possible score of 1600. For a more detailed breakdown of what each score means, please see the table below.

Score Type Score Range Details
COMPOSITE SCORE 400-1600 This score is the sum of the two area scores
AREA SCORES
Evidence-based reading & writing
Math
200-800 The Evidence-based reading and writing score is the sum of the Reading test score and Writing & Language test score
TEST SCORES
Reading
Writing & Language
Math
10-40 These scores tell you how you performed on individual test sections
ESSAY
(scored separately)
6-24 The essay is scored in three categories:
Reading, Analysis, and Writing
Each category is scored from 2-8
CROSS-TEST SCORES
History/Social Studies
Science
10-40 These scores reflect your performance, categorized by the context of each question
Questions may span different test sections.
SUBSCORES
Relevant words in context (R, W&L)
Command of evidence (R, W&L)
Expression of ideas (W&L)
Standard English convention (W&L)
Heart of algebra (M)
Passport to advanced mathematics (M)
Problem solving & data analysis (M)
1-15 These 7 subscores will tell you how you did on specific question types or content.
Some subscores pull questions from multiple tests.
R – Reading test
W&L – Writing & Language test
M – Math test

ORDER OF DIFFICULTY

Only the math sections are loosely based on order of difficulty for both the multiple choice and student-produced response questions. Depending on your performance, your tutor can use order of difficulty to choose the pacing and test-taking strategies that will help you achieve your highest possible score.

SAT TEST DATES

Below are anticipated test dates for the SAT’s 2022-2023 season. Check out our 2022-2023 downloadable flyer of dates here: Official SAT Test Dates. Please be advised these dates are subject to change due to COVID-19 related postponements.  To view College Board’s official release of test dates, please reference this link.

2022-2023 Test Dates Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Online Score Release *
August 27, 2022 July 29, 2022 By web/phone: August 16, 2022 September 9, 2022
October 1, 2022 September 2, 2022 By web/phone: September 20, 2022 October 14, 2022
November 5, 2022 October 7, 2022 By web/phone: October 25, 2022 November 18, 2022
December 3, 2022 November 3, 2022 By web/phone: November 22, 2022 December 16, 2022
March 11, 2023 February 10, 2023 By web/phone: February 28, 2023 March 24, 2023
May 6, 2023 April 7, 2023 By web/phone: April 25, 2023 May 19, 2023
June 3, 2023 May 4, 2023 By web/phone: May 23, 2023 July 16, 2022

* These dates are when multiple-choice scores will be first posted online. Complete scores are typically released within a week of these dates.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Don’t stop here! Check out our blog for new posts about preparing for the SAT. Below are a few posts you may find useful.

HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR TARGET SCORE
Though it’s tempting to simply say you want to score “as high as possible” on your college admissions exam, a target score will help you determine how much of your limited time and energy you devote to test preparations. So how should you determine you target score? There are several factors to consider… READ MORE

WHEN TO START STUDYING FOR THE SAT
You’ve probably heard the solid advice that you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to prepare for college admissions tests. But when is the right time to prep for the SAT or ACT? Here are some thoughts to consider… READ MORE

FIVE TEST-TAKING SECRETS FOR THE SAT
So you’ve taken a class, or even had a private tutor help you prepare for your test. Is there anything else you can do? While private tutoring remains the most efficient way to improve your score… READ MORE