What’s the SAT?

Victor Pérez
June 14, 2020
Victor Pérez
June 14, 2020

The SAT is one of two standardized college admissions tests in the US. It’s run by the College Board, a non-profit program.

The test is used to assess scholarship applicants because it is an effective measurement of intellectual potential. It became the standard test for all college applicants and was administered to over 300,000 people across the country.

It’s still a multiple choice test used for college admissions decisions. Schools must have approved of these changes because, in 2018, the SAT reclaimed its title and once again became the most popular college admissions test.

Let’s see why people take the SAT

The SAT is a standardized test meant to show schools how prepared you are for college by measuring key skills like reading comprehension, computational ability, and clarity of expression. It also provides schools with data about how you compare to your peers nationwide.

You’ll almost certainly need to take the SAT if you’re applying to colleges or universities in the United States, since most require you to submit test scores with your application. Depending on where you want to apply, your SAT score can account for as much as 50% of the admission decision, so a strong standardized test score is vital.

Schools which accept the SAT

All four-year colleges in the US accept the SAT, and, as I mentioned above, most schools require it.

You’ll also need to take the SAT if you’re a US student looking to apply to schools in the UK or Canada or an international student hoping to attend college in the US.

What SAT covers

The SAT test has 3 sections (Reading, Writing and language, and Math), the ones are presented in 4 parts. Aditionally, there’s a section called Essay. This test lasts 180 minutes without including the Essay section and the breaks. There are more 50 minutes for the Essay section ( with a total of 230 minutes without break time), so:

  • Reading: 65 minutes, 52 questions (75 seconds per question).
  • Writing and Language: 35 minutes, 44 questions (approximately 48 seconds per question).
  • Math – No Calculator: 25 minutes, 20 questions (75 seconds per question).
  • Math – Calculator: 55 minutes, 38 questions (approximately 87 seconds per question).
  • Essay (optional): 50 minutes.

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