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All major colleges take both SAT and ACT scores. Thinking about taking the ACT? With Plus we give you ACT study resources.
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About the SAT
The SAT is a college entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to assess your readiness for college-level work. Your SAT score is a major factor in college admissions, so it’s important to prep to achieve your best score. The SAT exam tests your skills in math, reading, and writing, and includes an optional essay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the SAT?
The SAT is an admissions test administered by the College Board. Most colleges and universities will require you to take the SAT or ACT, and they use it as one element of a college application. In 2016, the current version of the SAT was launched, which is scored on a 1600 scale. The test is broken into two sections, Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. An optional essay receives an independent score.
How long is the SAT test?
With the essay, the SAT lasts 3 hours and 50 minutes. Without the essay, it takes 3 hours. Every SAT test contains the same four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math - No Calculator, and Math - Calculator in that order. Some test administrations also include experimental questions, which would extend your total testing time by 20 minutes.
How many times can you take the SAT?
You can take the SAT as many times as you want, but most students take the test 2 or 3 times. We recommend taking the PSAT or a practice test your sophomore year. Plan ahead to take the official SAT in spring or winter of junior year. If you are unhappy with your score, that leaves you time to prep and take it again before application deadlines. Your scores are good for 5 years.
What is the difference between ACT and SAT?
Both the SAT and the ACT are accepted at all major colleges and universities. Therefore, it’s up to you which test you take; you can also choose to take both if you want. Unlike the ACT, the SAT does not have a separate Science section, but it does give a science cross-test score. To find out which is right for you, try a free SAT vs ACT Practice Test.
What is considered a good SAT score?
A perfect score on the SAT is 1600. The minimum score is 400. A good score will depend on your goal and your dream school. A 1060 is about average, though the official average can vary from year to year. Some colleges superscore. This means they combine your highest Math score and your highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score from multiple test dates to make a “super” score.
How can I prepare for the SAT?
Good news: you don’t have to spend hours memorizing flashcards. Some formulas are provided, and all vocab is tested in context. To prepare for test day, brush up your foundational skills. Make sure you are comfortable with charts and graphs, which are used throughout the test. Not sure where to start? We can provide a plan to prioritize your studying and practice efficient strategies.
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