The SAT is arguably one of the most important tests that students need to clear in order to apply for college and universities. The SAT is a college entrance exam that institutes use to evaluate the academics and integrity of students who have sent in applications. It’s very fundamental in admission decisions. The SAT itself is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test that was created and is held by the College Board. But what comes in the SAT, where can we take it, and what should we know before we go to give the test?

The SAT is a 3-hour long test that consists of 2 sections. The SAT tests students on their math skills, and reading and language aptitude. The SAT also used to offer an Essay portion to test your writing skills, however this portion is now discontinued by the College Board.

The 2 sections of the SAT are scored on a 200 to 800-point scale. Your total SAT score is the sum of your section scores. The maximum score you can get on your SAT (the perfect score) is 1600. The lowest score is 400. The average SAT score is 1050, so usually scores above that are considered a “good score”.

Now moving on to the content of the SAT’s, as we’ve mentioned before, it consists of 2 sections. The Math Section and the Reading/Writing and Language Section. These sections can be further broken down, so here’s how it goes:


This part of the test tests your ability to apply math in different situations. This section is 80 minutes long and contains 58 questions. There’s two different parts of the Math component: Math with Calculator (with 38 questions in 55 minutes) and Math without Calculator (with 20 questions in 25 minutes). There’s three core areas within this component:

  • “Heart of Algebra” (this consists of linear equations with rational coefficients, system of linear equations (with no solution, finite or infinite solutions), linear inequalities in two variables and their systems, graphical representation of linear function);
  • Problem-solving and Data Analysis” (this includes percentages; ratio and proportion; unit conversion; equation of line or curve using a scatter plot; two-way tables to calculate conditional frequencies and conditional probabilities; association of variables or independence of events; estimation of a population parameter; calculation of mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation in statistics; evaluation of reports to check appropriateness of data collection methods);
  • “Passport to Advanced Math” (this consists of quadratic equations with rational coefficients; determination of the most suitable form of an expression; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of polynomial equations; zeros and factors of polynomials, non-linear relationship between two variables, function notation, isolation of a variable by rearrangement of formula or equation)


This portion is 52 questions and 65 minutes long. There are 5 passages that you need to read and understand. These passages can be drawn from literary, historical, and scientific documents.

You earn points for each correct answer; there is no penalty for incorrect or blank answers.

The SAT is offered multiple times a year: in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December. Usually, you’d get your scores about two weeks after taking the test, however June and August scores may still take up to six weeks to process.

The best way to prepare is to attempt practice tests and study sample questions. The College Board offers testing tips and free practice tests on Other free or inexpensive study resources are available online, as well as books by The Princeton Review or Barron’s.

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