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 PSAT, commonly confused with the SAT, is a separate test commonly taken by high school juniors, sophomores, and freshmen in order to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship and gauge pre-college readiness. The SAT test was redesigned for the first time in eleven year in March 2016, while the PSAT launched a new version in October 2015. The test was redesigned to more accurately assess student preparedness for the demands of collegiate academics.
WHAT IS THE SAT?
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), Math (no calculator), and Essay (optional).
|SAT Test Section||# of Questions and Types||Content||Timing|
READING & WRITING
52 standard multiple-choice
44 standard multiple-choice
|Relevant words in context
Command of evidence
Expression of ideas
Standard English conventions
One 65-minute section
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
One 25-minute section (no calculator)
One 55-minute section (calculator allowed)
|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.
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|
Evidence-based reading & writing
|200-800||The Evidence-based reading and writing score is the sum of the Reading test score and Writing & Language test score|
Writing & Language
|10-40||These scores tell you how you performed on individual test sections|
|6-24||The essay is scored in three categories:
Reading, Analysis, and Writing
Each category is scored from 2-8
|10-40||These scores reflect your performance, categorized by the context of each question
Questions may span different test sections.
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 official test dates for the SAT’s 2020-2021 season. Check out our downloadable flyer of dates here: Official SAT 2020-2021 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.
|2020-2021 Test Dates||Tests Offered||Registration Deadline||Late Registration Deadline||Online Score Release *|
|August 29, 2020||SAT & Subject Tests||July 31, 2020||By mail: August 11, 2020
By web/phone: August 18, 2020
|September 21, 2020|
|September 26, 2020||SAT & Subject Tests||August 26, 2020||By mail/web/phone: September 15, 2020||October 9, 2020|
|October 3, 2020||SAT & Subject Tests||September 4, 2020||By mail: September 15, 2020
By web/phone: September 22, 2020
|October 16, 2020|
|November 7, 2020||SAT & Subject Tests||October 7, 2020||By mail: October 20, 2020
By web/phone: October 27, 2020
|November 20, 2020|
|December 5, 2020||SAT & Subject Tests||November 5, 2020||By mail: November 17, 2020
By web/phone: November 24, 2020
|December 18, 2020|
|March 13, 2021||SAT & Subject Tests||February 12, 2021||By mail: February 23, 2021
By web/phone: March 2, 2021
|March 26, 2021|
|May 8, 2021||SAT & Subject Tests||April 8, 2021||By mail: April 20, 2021
By web/phone: April 27, 2021
|May 21, 2021|
|June 5, 2021||SAT & Subject Tests||May 6, 2021||By mail: May 18, 2021
By web/phone: May 26, 2021
|July 14, 2021|
* These dates are when multiple-choice scores will be first posted online. Complete scores are typically released within a week of these dates.
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
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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