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About the SAT

What is the SAT?
The Scholastic Achievement Test, or SAT, is a three-hour exam that was designed by College Board and is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The SAT is given nationally 7 times per year.

Most people mean SAT I when they refer to taking the SAT. SAT I is a standardized test that measures intellectual ability through math problem-solving, verbal reasoning and critical reading. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge learned so far. Its purpose is to provide standardized criteria so admissions officers at colleges can compare students.

SAT II are subject tests to show mastery of specific subjects, such as English, math, social studies, sciences and languages. Colleges use scores from the subject tests to make admission decisions and to determine students' level of preparedness for college programs. Some students are placed in higher levels of courses if they have high scores on the SAT II.

How is the test designed?
Test developers produce questions, which are reviewed by a committee of high school and college teachers. The questions are designed to test math and verbal reasoning ability regardless of the type of instruction a student has received.

The SAT I is a 7-section, 3-hour exam. Each test has the sections appearing in a slightly different order. There are three verbal sections, three math sections, and one experimental, which is either verbal or math. The experimental section is not graded, and students won't know which section it is.

How is the SAT scored?
There are two scores, one for math and one for verbal. Each are scored on a scale of 200 to 800. The national average for each subject is 500, or 1000 combined. Students should also remember that scores can be canceled by sending a Request to Cancel Test Scores form to ETS, who must receive it no later than the Wednesday after the test.

Want to know more? Read Preparing for the SAT!

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