SAT- All about SAT

SAT, commonly known as Scholastic Assessment Test (earlier known as Scholastic Aptitude Test), is a standardized test for aspiring students to pursue undergraduate studies abroad. Since its inception in 1926, SAT has gone through many changes with its name and scoring. However, now it is widely known as SAT. The purpose of conducting SAT exam is to provide admission to undergraduates in various international universities and college programs. It is a written-based test with a test duration of 3 hours, as SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests have been discontinued by the College Board.
SAT examination tests student's skills based on three topics –Writing, Reading, and Mathematics. SAT scores are evaluated in two sections of 200-800 points each (total score 400-1600). Find more information on key features of SAT exam in the table below:
Key Features of SAT exam:
Name of the Exam
Full Name of the Exam
Scholastic Assessment Test
Pursue Undergraduate Courses in USA & Canada
Conducting Body
College Board
Mode of Exam
Pen and Paper-based
Exam Fees
$55 + $49 (Non-US Regional Fee)
Score Range
400-1600 points
Important Information about SAT exam
College Board announced a few changes in SAT –
  • College Board will no longer offer SAT Optional Essay and SAT Subject Tests.
  • International students applying for colleges in the US will then might have to prepare for the AP (Advanced Placement) Test.
The College Board has announced that the schools and colleges serving as test centres will conduct the exam with reduced capacity due to the pandemic. Due to Public Health Safety concerns and guidelines, there is limited seating capacity in the exam centres. SAT Test Centres will have to undergo a COVID-19 screening process and a short survey before the exam. The College Board is trying to take all measures to ensure the safe conduction of the SAT.
Why choose SAT?
SAT is a standardized examination conducted by the College Board. The exam is important for students who are willing to pursue higher education either from abroad or top-notch universities in India that accept SAT scores. SAT exam evaluates a candidate based on their reading, language, and mathematical skills. From August 2021 administration onwards, the SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests will not be conducted.
Here are a few reasons why you should choose SAT-
  • The exam helps you in improving reading, writing, speaking and numerical knowledge.
  • SAT scores are accepted by top-notch institutions in the US and India.
  • The scores are also valid for scholarships in different colleges in the US.
  • It expands the knowledge of the students by improving their social science and history knowledge.
However, being the standard exam for admissions to undergraduate programmes helps the colleges decide whether the candidate is an excellent fit for their syllabus and whether selecting them will be the right choice or not. Thus, students need to take SAT to improve their subject knowledge and skills.
When is the SAT exam conducted?
In India, the exam is conducted five times a year in August, October, December, March and May. However, in the US, the exam is conducted seven times a year. The candidates can check the notifications on the official website.
The College Board has updated the information on SAT session dates on their web portal.  It should be noted that the following details are for international SAT aspirants and not US natives.
SAT Important Dates
SAT Test Dates
'Registration Changes & Cancelation Deadline'
Aug 26, 2023
August 15, 2023
Oct 7, 2023
Sep 26, 2023
Nov 4, 2023
Oct 24, 2023
Dec 2, 2023
Nov 21, 2023
SAT Exam Pattern
Every candidate needs to have complete knowledge about the SAT exam pattern to ace the exam. Knowing the exam pattern will help candidates get acquainted with the type of questions, exam duration, marking scheme, and difficulty level. It can also help analyse a preparation strategy and exam strategy to complete the exam with ease in the allotted time. The below-mentioned table is an overview of the SAT Exam Pattern-
Number of Questions
Evidence-based Reading and Writing
65 minutes
35 minutes
No Calculator
30 MCQs & 8 GRID-INS
80 minutes
With Calculator
15 MCQs & 5 GRID-INS
3 hours
SAT Syllabus
SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW)
The section is further divided into two sub-sections –Reading and Writing. The purpose of the EBRW section is to test your language skills. The combined score of the section is 200-800.
  • Reading Section – The Reading section of SAT is 65 minutes long in which you have to attempt 52 multiple-choice questions. There are five passages in this section, and all the questions in this section are evidence-based. Evidence-based questions require a candidate to analyze and interpret the information from the passages.
    Passages in this section single or infographic based utilizing charts, tables, and graphs. Passages are based on –History/Social Sciences, the US and World Literature, and Science. There are three types of questions asked in this section –Factual, Rhetorical, and Synthesis. However, candidates need to be careful while attempting the questions.
  • Writing Section – The Writing and Language section contains 44 questions that need to be attempted within 35 minutes. The MCQs are based on four passages that require a candidate to analyze and edit the passages as required. The candidate must identify grammatical and structural errors that correct the misleading tone of the passage. The passages in this section are informational, narrative, explanatory, and augmentative. However, a few might contain infographics like tables and charts.
SAT Mathematics Section
The mathematics section of SAT evaluates a candidate's mathematical reasoning skills based on which they will be graded in a score range of 200-800 points. The section contains 58 questions and is 80 minutes long. Out of 58 questions, 80% of questions are MCQs, and 20% of questions are student-produced response questions, widely known as Grid-ins. Grid-ins is where the candidate will not choose from the four options available but will have to solve the mathematical problem and enter the answer by circling or shading the correct answer. The section is further divided into two parts -The no Calculator section and the Calculator section. The 'No Calculator' section has 15 MCQs and 5 Grid-ins, whereas,in the 'Calculator' section, there are 30 multiple-choice questions and 8 Grid-ins. Candidates will also be given a list of formulas for reference.
Syllabus –
  • Heart of Algebra
  • Problem Solving & Data Analysis
  • Passport to Advanced Maths
  • Additional topics in Mathematics
SAT Essay and Subject Tests: Announcement
After June 5, 2021, SAT test, the College Board has now discontinued SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests. College Board took this decision to adapt to the new realities and changes that have been constantly arising in the admission process. To ensure that their programs adapt to the changing needs, the two exams will longer be offered. Also, the College Board is focusing on making a few changes to reduce demands on the students applying for different programs at the undergraduate level.
To know more about why College Board took this decision, you can read their statement where they have addressed all the questions that every candidate might have.
SAT Eligibility Criteria
There is no specified eligibility requirement for SAT prescribed by the College Board. It is so because the exam has a limited role in helping students connect with the participating colleges. However, SAT is open for all students willing to pursue undergraduate degrees in the US and Canada and India. The SAT exam is mainly taken by high school or intermediate students ready to move to college for higher studies.
With no prescribed eligibility requirements to appear for SAT, the College Board has the policy to be followed by the international aspirants and the US aspirants. Policies and requirements are as followed –
  • There is no specified age limit to appear for SAT. However, candidates between the age group of 17-19 are more in number to appear for the exam.
  • If any candidate of age 12 or younger wants to sit for SAT, they have to register for the exam through mail only.
  • For 13 years and older candidates, they can create a free College Board account for SAT Registration.
  • For candidates of age 21 years and above, they must provide an official government-issued photo identity –Passport, Driver's License, or Aadhar Card (Indian Students), to the test centre.
  • Sunday testing is not available in India.
Candidates will not be allowed to take the test if-
  • The first name or the candidate's last name on the admission ticket doesn't match the information on the official photo ID.
  • The photo doesn't match the photo requirements.
  • Registration changes submitted after deadline.
  • Test cancellation before test day.
SAT Registration
If a candidate is ready to appear for SAT, they must follow the guidelines below-
Online SAT Registration
  • Decide which administration you plan to take. (See SAT Schedule)
  • Create your College Board Account for SAT Registration. Candidates over 13 years of age can create their account, and no parent or counsellor can register on their behalf.
  • Candidate must provide their full legal name and other important information for identification. However, the candidate must make sure that exact information is provided on your photo identification.
  • Candidates must decide if they want to opt for Student Search Service or not. The service will help the candidates to be found by the college and scholarship organisations.
  • Explore the test centres and select your location and date for the SAT exam.
  • Upload your photograph that meets the specific photo requirements.
  • Check out and then print your Admission Ticket.
Note – SAT Registration takes up to 30 minutes. However, the candidate has a choice to save it and complete it later as and when ready.
SAT Registration via Mail
Registration through the mail is available in the following cases –
  • The candidate is 12 years of age or younger
  • Requests the test centre location near their home or Sunday testing
  • Unable to upload a digital photograph
  • Paying the examination fees through money order or check
  • Sunday testing is not available in India
To register in these cases, candidates must –
  • Request a student registration booklet from the school board or counsellor
  • Fill the form available in the booklet as directed
  • Mail the application form and money order/check for the application fee to the provided address on the booklet in a registration envelope.
SAT Scores
SAT General Test
  • SAT has two sections – Evidence-based Reading and Writing and Mathematics, having a score range of 200-800 each.
  • Total it makes a score range of 400-1600.
  • There is no negative marking.
  • Candidates can attempt all the questions.
SAT Result
The candidates can expect the SAT scores within a week or two after their administration. However, candidates who applied SAT with Essay can expect the SAT Essay score in the following days after receiving SAT general test scores. Within a week after the candidates have received all their scores, educators start to download the data and run reports in the Score Reporting Portal.
Thus, a candidate appearing for SAT 2023 must know all of the information mentioned above. For more information regarding the exam, candidates can go through SAT official website.
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