SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test): Everything you need to know

Hello friends, I'm back with another informative article. Actually, you can easily find SAT articles on the web but most of them does not contain all the information you need. So, here I'm providing almost all the information you need to know about the SAT which otherwise will be available in bits scattered through a number of articles.


The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. Actually by the previous statement, I mean that students from around the globe take this test but only US universities along with some other international universities accept this test. It was first introduced in 1926 and its name and scoring have changed several times.

SAT is generally offered 6-7 times in a year, generally in January, March, May, June, October, November, and December. Registration ends almost a month before the exam.

Official Website: and

As far as I know, it was initially scored on a scale of 1600 till 2006 and then its scoring scale was changed to 2400. Now, again it's back to its original 1600 scale.

NOTE: The new SAT will be administered from March 2016.

Cost & Logistics

The SAT costs $54.50 (plus additional fees if testing outside the US). This additional fees varies by region in which you are testing. Additional fees apply for late registration, standby testing, registration changes, scores by telephone, and extra reports beyond the four provided for free. The College Board makes fee waivers available for low income students.

NOTE: No fee waivers are available for international students.

The SAT testing day is always a Saturday but sometimes, it may change due to some specific reasons. Candidates whose religious beliefs prevent them from taking the test on a Saturday may request to take the test on the following day, except for the October test date in which the Sunday test date is eight days after the main test offering. Such requests must be made at the time of the registration and are subject to denial.

Students with verifiable disabilities, including physical and learning disabilities, are eligible to take the SAT with accommodations. The standard time increase for students requiring additional time due to learning disabilities is time + 50%; time + 100% is also offered.

NOTE: Only the SAT 1 (Critical Reading) has changed, but the SAT 2 (Subject Tests) is still the same.


  • Scoring Scale: 600 - 2400
  • +1 for each correct answer, -1/4 for each wrong answer, 0 for not answering.
  • Difficult Vocabulary
  • Essay Mandatory
  • Available in print

Writing (Score Scale 200-800): 60 Minutes
Mathematics (Score Scale 200-800): 70 Minutes
Critical Reading (Score Scale 200-800): 70 Minutes


  • Scoring Scale: 400 - 1600
  • +1 for each correct answer
  • No negative marking
  • Comparatively Easy Vocabulary
  • Essay Optional
  • Available in print or on Computer (at only some centers)
  • Reading + Writing Score Scale: 200-800
  • Mathematics Score Scale: 200-800
  • More aligned with high school and college studies
  • Focus on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
  • More graphs and facts & figures

Reading: 52 Questions; 65 Minutes
Writing: 44 Questions; 35 Minutes
Math (No Calculator): 20 Questions; 25 Minutes
Math (Calculator): 38 Questions; 55 Minutes
Essay: 50 Minutes

SAT 2 (Subject Tests)

SAT 2 (Subject Tests) are the tests through which you can show you expertise in a subject to the colleges. SAT offers subject tests in 16 different subjects.
  1. Literature
  2. United States History
  3. World History
  4. Mathematics (Level 1/Level 2)
  5. Biology (E/M)
  6. Chemistry
  7. Physics
  8. Chinese with Listening
  9. French/French with Listening
  10. German/German with Listening
  11. Italian
  12. Japanese with Listening
  13. Korean with Listening
  14. Latin
  15. Modern Hebrew
  16. Spanish/Spanish with Listening
All the subject tests are one hour in duration but the number of questions varies with subject.

NOTE: 1. There is negative marking for the SAT Subject Tests (-1/4 for each incorrect answer).
              2. All the Subject Tests may not be offered on a single day. So, please check it on the official College Board website before registration.
              3. You cannot appear for the SAT 1 and SAT 2 on the same day.
              4. You cannot appear for more than three subject tests on a single day.


First of all, the Raw Score is calculated on the basis of the number of correct and incorrect answers, then that raw score is converted into the scaled score using a conversion table. Then all the individual scaled scores are combined to give the actual score. The Conversion Scale is different for each test on each day. For more information on the scoring pattern, please visit the college board website.

Calculator Policy

All Four-Operation calculators and all the Scientific calculators are allowed on the SAT along with most of the Graphing calculators. If using Graphing Calculator, please confirm whether your model of calculator is allowed or not.

Research was conducted by the College Board to study the effect of calculator use on SAT 1: Reasoning Test math scores. The study found that performance on the math section was associated with the extent of calculator use: those using calculators on about one third to one half of the items averaged higher scores than those using calculators more or less frequently. There is some evidence to suggest that the frequent use of a calculator in school outside of the testing situation has a positive effect on test performance compared to those who do not use calculators in the school.

Finally, you should bring a calculator you are most comfortable with.

I hope this article helped you. Please Subscribe and Stay Tuned for more informative articles. Moreover, feel free to contact me and write in the comment box for any specific piece of information or any other help. Any suggestions or even complaints are most welcome.


  1. Could you also specify what universities expect what sat scores and which ones outside us take it into consideration?

    1. Hi Smiti, Thanks for asking such a good question. Talking about the universities outside US which accept SAT scores, I need to cross-check on the internet. So, I'll be telling you about that a bit later.

      But talking about the first part of your question, honestly, no score is a safe score. I've seen people with perfect score getting rejected and people with a bit low score getting accepted for the same college. No one component can get you in the college, it's your whole application which gets you accepted or rejected.
      Moreover, I could give you a more accurate answer if I could know the college you're aiming for. But generally on the new SAT, a score of 1400 or more out of 1600 is a good score and you can apply to Ivy League Colleges or even MIT with that score.

      But if you have a low score and you cannot appear for the SAT again, I'll say apply to your dream college. Just submit your best possible application and you can get in.
      For Example, I've seen students with a 1750 out of 2400 on SAT getting accepted to Stanford.

      So finally, just remember one thing that it's your whole application which can get you in.

    2. There are a lot of universities outside US like in Canada and UK which accept SAT score. University of Sheffield is an example of such a university. But, some of these universities do have a minimum score requirement.
      But I would be able to help you if you could please tell me the university you are planning to apply to.
      And if you need any other help regarding the universities or the application process or even the application itself, then you can Email me your Skype ID to the following email address.

      We can decide a time and work on your queries so that you can submit your best possible application to the desired universities.
      Best Wishes


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