College preparation: SAT

What is the SAT?

The SAT is an aptitude test that tests reasoning and verbal abilities.  Many colleges require this test as part of the requirements and application process. The SAT has three components: Critical Reasoning, Math and a Writing Test.  There is a strong emphasis on vocabulary and though there is a math section, there is not a science section.

How is it scored?

When the test is graded and scored, they take off points for wrong answers. The higher your score on the SAT, the better. A perfect score is a 2400 while 1800 is above average.  The national average is about a 1500.

When are the test offered?

The SAT is offered a few times throughout the year.  However, the sooner you take the test, the sooner you can retake it if necessary.  It also depends on when you need to send in your results.

The test is offered October through January and then again March through June.

*Note: those are the months in which the test is offered!  However, you must apply before the test, usually a month or so before the test date!

How do you know if you have to take it?

By looking at a college's requirements for application, you are able to tell if you need to take the SAT or not.  It is a good idea to take it for two reasons.  The first is that if you take it, you are already prepared for other schools that may require it, even if one specific school does not.  Secondly, you may score better on the SAT than the ACT.  Even though a school may not require the SAT, if you send in your scores, they will still send it in and it may benefit you if your ACT score is lower.

How do you prepare for the SAT?

There are  many ways in which you can begin preparing for the SAT.  Since it is a generalized test, there is not one specific subject that you must study, but you need to have a general knowledge.

  • Private tutor
  • Discussion group
  • Summer programs
  • Classroom courses and programs
  • Online courses
  • SAT books



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