SAT: Test Logistics

Information is for the format of the new SAT as of March 2016.

About the SAT (originally the “Scholarship Aptitude Test”)

The SAT is a standardized entrance exam, similar to the ACT, that high school students take as part of their application to U.S. colleges and universities.

Duration: 3 hours (+ 50 minutes for optional essay), includes one 10-minute and one 5-minute break

Scoring scale: 400-1600

Test Structure:

  • Math (200-800)
    • No-Calculator section: 25 minutes, 20 questions
    • Calculator section: 55 minutes, 38 questions
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (200-800)
    • Reading: 65 minutes, 52 questions
    • Writing/Language: 35 minutes, 44 questions
  • “Analyze a Source” Optional Essay (50 minutes, one prompt, scored separately from 1600 score)
    • Read a passage and explain how the author uses evidence to support a claim.

The Optional Essay

  • The essay is “optional,” but many colleges and universities recommend it; some even require it!
  • Essay score is separate from 1600 score on other two sections
  • Scored by two readers on three dimensions: reading, analysis, and writing
    • Reading: did you understand the passage?
    • Analysis: did you understand the structure of the author’s argument?
    • Writing: is your essay focused, organized, and precise?
  • You’ll receive sum of readers’ scores for each dimension: 3 scores, from 2-8

Registration, Rescheduling, and Cancellations

  • To register, start by completing a College Board account
  • Registration Fee: $43, $54.50 with essay
  • Additional $15 for phone registration
  • $28 to change test center or test date
  • $28 late registration fee
  • Cancel 5 days or more before test day for a $10 refund

Preparing for Test Day

  • Plan to arrive at 7:45 AM - doors close at 8 AM
  • Test begins between 8:30 and 9 AM
  • Be sure to bring
    • Your admission ticket
    • Acceptable, valid photo ID
    • Two No. 2 pencils with erasers
    • An approved calculator (most graphing and scientific calculators permitted)
  • Consider bringing
    • A watch (alarms must be disabled)
    • Extra batteries
    • Drink or snack for your break
  • Don’t bring
    • Electronic devices, digital watches
    • Protractors, compasses, rulers
    • Highlighters, colored pens/pencils
    • Books

Getting and Sending Scores

  • Scores are available online about one month after test date
  • 4 free score reports included in test registration fee; indicate score recipients at time of registration or within 9 days after test day
  • $11.25 per additional score report
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