What does the SAT test?
The SAT tests the skills you’re learning in school: reading, writing and math. Your strength in these subjects is important for success in college and throughout your life.
- The reading section includes reading passages and sentence completions.
- The writing section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage.
- The math section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.
How important is the SAT in college admission?
The SAT is just one factor among many that colleges use to get to know you better. It’s part of a comprehensive admission process that also takes into account your high school academics, extracurricular activities, recommendations, personal essay and other factors.
Every college and university uses a different combination of criteria for admission. Research the schools you’re interested in using www.nimaseducation.com to understand their unique admission policies.
How is the SAT scored?
Each section of your SAT (critical reading, mathematics and writing) will be scored on a 200- to 800-point scale, for a possible total of 2400. You’ll also get two “subscores” on the writing section: a multiple-choice score from 20 to 80, and an essay score from 2 to 12.
But how do you get these scores?
Two steps happen before you see a final score.
First, examiners figure out your raw score by:
- Adding points for correct answers.
- Subtracting a fraction of a point for wrong answers.
Remember: Questions that you skipped don’t count either for or against your score, and points aren’t taken away for wrong answers on the math questions where you needed to enter the answer into a grid.
Then examiners take your raw score and turn it into a scaled score. This is where the score of 200–800 points comes from, and it is done through a statistical process called “equating.” This process makes it possible to compare your score with the scores of other students who took alternative versions of the test, and to your own scores on previous tests.
How much time will I have to take the SAT?
The SAT is made up of 10 sections:
- A 25-minute essay
- Six 25-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)
- Two 20-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)
- A 10-minute multiple-choice writing section
- Total test time: 3 hours and 45 minutes
You’ll also get three short breaks during the testing, so don’t forget to bring a snack!
How many times should I take the SAT?
Most students take the SAT once or twice. We don’t recommend taking it more than twice because there’s no evidence that taking the SAT multiple times significantly changes your score.
What is the “unscored” section?
Each SAT exam includes an extra 25-minute critical reading, mathematics or writing multiple-choice section that doesn’t count toward your score.
This section is where ETS tries out new questions to make sure that future exams are fair for students from different backgrounds. It also helps them make sure that scores from students taking future exams can be compared to scores from students who took earlier versions of the test.