What Is The SAT and What Is It Used For?

The Scholastic Aptitude Test, whose acronym is SAT, is an entrance exam used by most universities and colleges to make admissions decisions. This is a multi-choice test created and administered by the College Board.

SAT’s purpose is to measure how ready a student graduating from high school is ready for college and to give Colleges common data to compare all applicants. Your SAT score will be reviewed alongside the classes you took in high school, your high school GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essays, admission interviews, and recommendation letters from your teachers and mentors.

The higher you score in the SAT or the American College Test (ACT), the more options you will get for attending your college of choice.

When Should I take the SAT?

Many high schoolers take the SAT, the ACT or both during the fall of their senior year or during the spring of their junior year. Therefore, it’s prudent to leave enough time gap for retaking the test should you need to apply for college. With enough preparation, though, you can ace these tests.

The SAT is offered each year during March, May, June, August, October, November, and December.

What’s on the SAT?

The Scholastic Aptitude Test features two sections:

  • Mathematics
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

Update: Back in January 2021, the College Board announced after the June 2021 test period, they wouldn’t be offering the SAT Essay anymore.

How long is the SAT?

The test is 3 hours long. With the essay, the test would be 3 hours and 50 minutes long.

How is the SAT Scored?

Each SAT section is scored on a point scale of 200 to 800. Your total score will be the sum of your section scores. The highest possible score is 1600. Those who do the essay receive a separate score.

Is SAT A Difficult Exam?

Well, yes, it is. I mean gradable exams of this sort cannot be easy, can they? But is the SAT really as difficult as many students make it out to be? Oh, definitely! No doubt about that.

What is the Highest SAT Score?

Because each section of the exam is scored on a scale of 200 to 800, the highest total score you can get is 2400. And if you ask around, you’ll find plenty of people who think that’s enough – and more – to win admission to just about any college they want.

As for colleges themselves, some have a cutoff score in mind; others are willing to consider virtually everyone who applies. Just as students have many different reasons for wanting to do well on this test, colleges have diverse policies and admit applicants from wide-ranging academic backgrounds.

Is 1200 a Good SAT Score?

Maybe…a pass mark. A score that would get you into a good college and nothing more than that. For many colleges anything around 1200 might work fine. But when it is not just about the SAT, but securing your future and thinking of making something better out of your life, then getting a perfect score needs to be in your list of priorities.

Is there an easy way to get through the SAT?

Well, if you mean are there some cheats, hacks, shortcuts or formalities for clearing this exam, I would simply say no. There is no such thing…and yes! It is really difficult!

However, if you can call a little bit of hard work an ‘easy’ way then why not go for it!

What SAT Score is Required for Harvard?

Well, that is a tricky question. As it depends on various factors like your high school grades, class rank (ranking in class) and the college application season’s standards for admission into Harvard.

If you are dreaming of going to Harvard or any other Ivy League university, then becoming an expert at SAT is a must…and having a perfect score is always recommended. Do focus hard on the SAT as it pays big time when you are applying to colleges.

How Can I Get Good SAT Scores?

There is no easy way to get through this exam but if you work really hard at it, you will definitely see some improvement in your scores. Keep in mind…it may not be enough improvement to secure admission into a top-ranked college but still, you can definitely secure admission into a good one.

Who Is Eligible For The SAT Exam?

The SAT is offered six times a year, and most students take the test in their junior or senior years of high school. It’s a prerequisite for many (but not all) colleges, and it also helps identify gifted students who could be candidates for college scholarships.

According to The College Board, which owns the exam:

All 11th and 12th grade students graduating from high schools in the United States are required by federal law to either be taking the SAT Reasoning Test or have already received a high school diploma. If you meet one of these criteria, there is no additional fee for taking the SAT only if the student has already taken the PSAT/NMSQT in October of his/her 8th grade year.

Is the SAT or the ACT Better?

Most universities and colleges accept scores from either the ACT or the SAT. However, they do not favor any of the tests over the other. Hence, college-bound students are increasingly both sitting for the SAT and the ACT.

Since the style and content of the two are similar, factors like how to handle time pressure and challenging questions will determine which test is a better fit.


Why Take It? Used by colleges for merit-based scholarships and admissions Used by colleges for merit-based scholarships and admissions
Test Structure Reading
Writing & Language
Science Reasoning
Essay (Optional)
Length 3 hours 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay)
3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
Reading 5 passages 4 passages
Math Covers:
Algebra I & II
Geometry, Trigonometry and Data Analysis
Algebra I & II
Geometry, Trigonometry, and Probability & Statistics
Science None 1 section that tests critical thinking skills
Essays None Optional.
Calculator Policy Some math questions disallow the use of a calculator. A calculator is allowed on all math questions
How It’s Scored Scored on a scale of 400 to 1600 Scored on a scale of 1 to 36

How Can I Register for the SAT?

Registration deadlines for SAT exams fall approximately five weeks before each test date. You can register for the test on the College Board Website. Under exceptional circumstances, you may also register by mail.

How Can I Prepare for the SAT?

The High School of America helps college-aspiring students worldwide to prepare for SAT and ACT at a favorable cost.

If you are looking to ace the ACT, fill out our online form and get our easy step-by-step study guide, practice tests, and flashcards that will save you weeks and months of endless studying.

Tips for Preparing for the SAT Exam

SAT syllabus, subjects, practice tests and exam preparation guidelines

Start Early

Although you would like to have a lot of time to prepare for the SAT exam, that’s not a luxury that many high school students have. Junior and senior high school years are packed with important events, making it essential for you to plan the best time to fit in your SAT.

Select an SAT date far enough for you to prepare – we recommend 2 to 3 months. By starting early, you will get enough time to gauge how much you need to study weekly and avoid last-minute cramming. You will also have more confidence when doing the test.

Study with the Official SAT Practice Online

The best way to prepare for your SAT is to study. We recommend using official resources created by curriculum and career development professionals at the High School of America. HSOA makes a study guide and plans just for you based on your PSAT/NMSQT® or previous SAT scores, considering your upcoming test date. We recommend that you spend 6 to 20 hours preparing for your first SAT exam. Then, before the actual test date, ensure that you reserve sufficient time to take at least one full-length practice test (approximately 3-4 hours) and leave time to review the concepts that you’re struggling with.

Take a Full-Length Practice Test

Sitting for a full-length SAT practice test is an excellent way to prepare for your exam. The College Board provides several full-length practice tests free. By taking such a practice test that follow similar parameters, you’ll get an indication of the scores you’ll get on your SAT. Practice tests will also give you insights into the areas you need to work on while approaching the actual test.

For optimal results, treat all the full-length practice test you take as though you’re taking the actual SAT. Commence at 8:00 am on a Saturday, follow timing guidelines, and only take the breaks provided in the SAT. As you do so, put your cell phone away.

Pay Attention in Class

The SAT is directly tied to the high school curriculum. This means that it is crucial to pay attention to what your teachers teach you in the classroom. By the spring of your junior year, you’ll be having three and a half years of rigorous course work that can help you succeed on the SAT.

Know What to Expect

Besides taking the full-length practice test, it is essential to know what the test day will be like. Understand the test timing and format and be ready to be on time. It’s also important to be well-rested for the test.

Also, plan on how you’ll get to the testing center. This will reduce anxiety on the day of the test since all you’ll have to do get up, take a good breakfast and show up for the test. Some SAT exams are given at universities, which differ in parking rules. Understand the rules before the day of your test.

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