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All About SAT Exam

Are you considering studying at one of the world’s top universities? If so, you’re likely interested in understanding the SAT Exam thoroughly. The SAT Exam is a standardized entrance test widely utilized by most colleges and universities in the United States to inform their admission choices.

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What is the SAT exam?

The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is a standardized examination designed to evaluate the knowledge and skills of high school students in areas such as reading, analytical abilities, and mathematical proficiency. For international students seeking admission to undergraduate programs abroad, taking the SAT exam and submitting their scores to their chosen institutions is often required.

The SAT exam USA is administered digitally, and pen & paper is available seven times a year in approximately 30 cities across India, hosted by over 50 partner institutions. The duration of the SAT exam is approximately 2 hours and 14 minutes, and students have the option to take the digital SAT exam on their personal laptops.

SAT test information

There are 2 types of SAT exams: Digital and Pen & Paper.

SAT pen and paper

The SAT pen and paper exam is structured into two mandatory sections, with no alterations in the pattern this year. In the 2023 edition, candidates face 154 questions, split between Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (to be completed in 100 minutes) and Mathematics (to be completed in 80 minutes). Occasionally, research-related questions may extend the testing time by 20 minutes, but it’s essential to note that these questions do not contribute to the final scores.

Number of sections2
Duration4 hours and 5 minutes (including essay)
Number of questions
  • Evidence-based reading and writing: 96 questions
  • Maths: 58 questions
FormatMultiple Choice Questions
Language of paperEnglish
Score scale200-800
Mode of examinationPen and paper

Digital SAT

The digital SAT entrance exam is an hour shorter than the previous paper-based version, and students can bring their laptops or iPads to the test center for this purpose.

  • International students outside the United States took the first Digital SAT Exam in March 2024, while U.S.-based students will be eligible to take the SAT Digital Exam starting in 2024.
  • The SAT exam comprises two sections: reading + writing and mathematics; each section scored on a scale of 400 to 800. The overall SAT score is the sum of these two section scores. Universities may have varying SAT score requirements for admission, with some institutions publishing specific course cutoffs while others do not provide such information.
  • It’s important to note that no fixed average cutoff guarantees success in college admissions abroad, as each university may have different criteria.
  • SAT results are typically released within 10-14 days of the exam. Those interested in appearing for the SAT can register on the College Board website, choose their preferred test date and center, and complete their applications.

What is the SAT exam used for?

The primary purpose of administering the College SAT exam in India is to assess high school-level proficiency in mathematics, reading, and writing, enabling students to pursue undergraduate education abroad. Here are several advantages:

  • Several graduate schools offer SAT scholarships to Indian students based on their SAT scores.
  • Certain job applications may request College Board SAT scores from applicants.
  • The SAT does not encompass complex science topics, making it more accessible for students with no science background.
  • SAT candidates have more time for the math, writing, and English sections.
  • SAT preparation focuses exclusively on high school mathematics topics.
  • SAT provides a reference sheet with math formulas on the test day.
  • There is no penalty for wrong answers on the SAT (no negative marking).
  • The SAT essay resembles an analysis of a specific topic.
  • Most leading colleges in the USA require SAT scores for undergraduate admission.
  • The SAT exam fee is relatively lower when compared to the ACT.

SAT Highlights

SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test 
Fees$104(INR 8536.53)
Score Validity5 Years
 Number of questionsTimeScore
Evidence-Based Reading & WritingReading 52 Questions65 Minutes200-800
Writing 44 Questions35 Minutes
Quantitative ReasoningPart 1 – 20 Questions25 minutes200-800
Part 2 – 38 Questions55 minutes
Analytical Writing TaskEssay – 1 question50 minutes2-8
Total 3 hours 50 minutes400 – 1600

What is a good SAT score?

A good SAT score can vary depending on the specific university or college you are applying to, your individual goals and the program’s competitiveness. However, generally speaking:

  • The SAT is scored on a scale of 400 to 1600, combining test results from two 200-800 point subject areas: Mathematics and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW).
  • The College Board administers the SAT and considers the national average score to be around 1050.
  • A score above 1200 is often considered decent and may make you a competitive applicant for many colleges.
  • Scores above 1400 are typically strong and can open doors to more selective institutions.
  • Scores above 1500 are often the target range for the most competitive colleges and universities.

Ultimately, a “good” SAT score depends on your personal goals, the schools you’re applying to, and the overall competitiveness of the applicant pool. It’s advisable to research the average SAT scores for the institutions you are interested in and strive to achieve a score that aligns with their expectations and your academic aspirations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

SAT exam is for what purpose?

The SAT exam serves the purpose of evaluating a student’s readiness for college and is used by many colleges and universities in the admissions process. It assesses a student’s knowledge and skills in mathematics, reading, and writing to help institutions make informed decisions about admissions.

How many passages in SAT reading?

The SAT reading section typically contains five passages. These passages may include various text types, such as literature, historical documents, social science articles, or natural science passages.

How many times can I take the SAT?

You can take the SAT as many times as you like. Most students take the test at least twice to improve their scores. However, you should be aware that you need to register and pay for each attempt.

How is the SAT different from the ACT?

The SAT and ACT are both standardized college admissions tests, but they have some differences in terms of content and structure. Some students may perform better on one test than the other, so it’s a good idea to take practice tests for both and decide which suits you better.

How long does it take to receive SAT scores?

Typically, SAT scores are released about 10 to 14 days after the test date. You can access your scores online via your College Board account

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