Western Educational Services




The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is the most widely used stan­dard­ized test for admission to college in the U.S. It was taken nearly 3 mil­lion times last year. The SAT mea­sures read­ing, writ­ing and math skills nec­es­sary for aca­d­e­mic suc­cess in col­lege. The most com­mon time for high school stu­dents to take the test for the first time is spring of their ju­nior year of high school. The SAT is a paper-based test and it is of­fered seven times a year in the US and six times a year in­ter­na­tion­ally.

The SAT is owned and de­vel­oped by The Col­lege Board, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing more than 6,000 col­leges, uni­ver­si­ties and schools. It was for­merly de­vel­oped by Ed­u­ca­tional Test­ing Ser­vice, which still ad­min­is­ters the test. The test was first in­tro­duced in 1926, and was pre­vi­ously called the Scholas­tic Ap­ti­tude Test.

The test is in­tended to serve as a stan­dard­ized mea­sure of col­lege readi­ness and to pro­vide a na­tional per­spec­tive to lo­cal high school GPAs and class rank. All US col­leges ac­cept the SAT and most re­quire that in­com­ing stu­dents take ei­ther the SAT or its ri­val the ACT as part of the ap­pli­ca­tion process. Var­i­ous stud­ies have shown that when SAT scores are com­bined with high school GPA there is a cor­re­la­tion with the level of suc­cess in the first year of col­lege.

There are also SAT Subject Tests that high school stu­dents can take to demon­strate their pro­fi­ciency in cer­tain sub­ject ar­eas. These tests are sep­a­rate from the SAT and are gen­er­ally not re­quired for col­lege ad­mis­sion. Stu­dents may elect to take one or many SAT Sub­ject Tests to send col­leges ex­tra ev­i­dence of their mas­tery of cer­tain sub­jects. In some cases, SAT Sub­ject Tests can be used to ful­fill ba­sic sub­ject area re­quire­ments or earn credit for in­tro­duc­tory level courses. There are 20 sub­ject tests of­fered in five sub­ject ar­eas: Eng­lish, his­tory, lan­guages, math and sci­ence.





The SAT runs three hours and 45 min­utes. There are three main subject areas of the SAT: Crit­i­cal Reading, Math and Writing. The test is di­vided into 10 sec­tions – there are three sec­tions for each sub­ject area, and one “ex­per­i­men­tal” sec­tion that could be in any of the three sub­jects.

The test be­gins with a 25-minute Writ­ing sec­tion, which in­volves writ­ing one es­say. The last sec­tion of the test is al­ways a 10-minute Writ­ing sec­tion that con­tains only one type of mul­ti­ple-choice ques­tion called “Im­prov­ing Sen­tences.” The eight sec­tions in be­tween the first and last sec­tion can ap­pear in any or­der. They in­clude: two 25-minute Math sec­tions; two 25-minute Crit­i­cal Read­ing sec­tions; one 25-minute Writ­ing sec­tion; one 25-minute ex­per­i­men­tal sec­tion, which could be Math, Writ­ing or Crit­i­cal Read­ing; one 20-minute Math sec­tion; and one 20-minute Crit­i­cal Read­ing sec­tion.

The SAT is scored on a scale of 600 to 2400. Each sub­ject area (Math, Writ­ing and Crit­i­cal Read­ing) is scored on a scale of 200 to 800. The three sub­ject area scores are added to­gether to get the to­tal score. Es­say is op­tional in New SAT.

The three SAT subject areas are:

The ques­tions in the three Crit­i­cal Read­ing sec­tions in­clude Read­ing Com­pre­hen­sion ques­tions and Sen­tence Com­ple­tion ques­tions. Both of these types of ques­tions are used to test read­ing com­pre­hen­sion skills and vo­cab­u­lary.

The three Math sec­tions test al­ge­bra, geom­e­try, arith­metic, data analy­sis, sta­tis­tics and prob­a­bil­ity.

The writ­ing sec­tion of the SAT is made up of one es­say sec­tion and two sec­tions fo­cus­ing on gram­mar. The 25-minute es­say ques­tion is al­ways the first sec­tion of the test. A 10-minute Im­prov­ing Sen­tences sec­tion is al­ways the last sec­tion of the test. Some­where in be­tween there is a 25-minute sec­tion that in­cludes three types of mul­ti­ple-choice ques­tions: Iden­ti­fy­ing Sen­tence Er­rors, Im­prov­ing Sen­tences and Im­prov­ing Para­graphs.

  • Critical Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Writing