What is the SAT?

The SAT is a multiple-choice standardized test that serves as one component of the US undergraduate college application. It consists of two major sections – Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Mathematics – measuring a test-taker’s problem solving abilities in both of these areas. It is three hours long without the optional essay, which takes an extra 50 minutes.

How is it scored?

You will receive a score from 200 to 800 in each of the two major sections to give a combined score from 400 to 1600. Along with these three scores, you will be given a plethora of sub-section scores that will allow you to identify areas of strength and weakness. If you choose to complete the essay writing task, you will also receive three scores, each from 2 to 8, that assess your reading, analytical, and writing skills.

How can I prepare for it?

As a standardized test, the SAT is unlike most tests you take at school. Its questions focus less so on how much you can remember from a textbook than on how sharp your verbal and numerical reasoning skills are. Preparing for it requires not only loads of practice but also guidance on how to approach different question types using effective, time-saving strategies.

For more information on our course schedules and how we can help you prepare, please contact us on one of the numbers listed at the top of the page. We look forward to hearing from you!

SAT Subject Tests

What are they?

An extension of the SAT, the SAT Subject Test (also called SAT IIs) is a multiple choice test that assesses both a student’s knowledge of the subject matter and his or her problem-solving abilities. Each test is an hour long, and students may take up to three tests in one sitting in the following subjects:

 

Mathematics Level I Spanish
Mathematics Level II Spanish with Listening
Physics French
Chemistry French with Listening
Biology Ecological/Molecular Chinese with Listening
English Literature Italian
US History German
World History German with Listening
Modern Hebrew
Latin
Japanese with Listening
Korean with Listening

 

They are each scored on a scale from 200 to 800 points.

Why are they important?

At some colleges and universities, subject test scores may be required for acceptance into a particular major, while at other institutions they may only be recommended. In either case, it is best to take them, preferably in subjects that you currently study and excel in at school.

How can I prepare for SAT Exam?

1. Give yourself enough time to prepare.

If you’re totally unfamiliar with the SAT, It is advisable to pick a date at least three months in advance if possible. If you have to work on a compressed timeline because of application deadlines, you can do that too! You’ll just need to expect to spend more time preparing every week for a shorter number of weeks.

2. Get Oriented to the Overall Structure and Format of the SAT.

The SAT is out of 1600 points distributed into two chunks: 800 points for the Math section, and 800 points for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (made up of a Reading test and a Writing test). The lowest possible score is 400 points (200 on each section).

Most of the test is comprised of multiple choice questions with four answer choices.  The essay section is optional and is separately scored out of eight points in three domains, making the max essay score 24.

3. Become Familiar With the Content and Feel of the SAT. 

The different sections of the SAT test the different areas of your knowledge and skills. Each section has its own distinct set of question types and formats. How to prepare for SAT math will be different than how to prepare for SAT reading, which will be different than how to prepare for SAT writing!

For more information on each of the SAT’s sections, check out our guides:

https://blog.prepscholar.com/whats-actually-tested-on-sat-math-topics
https://blog.prepscholar.com/whats-actually-tested-on-sat-reading-skills
https://blog.prepscholar.com/whats-actually-tested-on-sat-writing-grammar-and-questions
https://blog.prepscholar.com/how-to-write-an-sat-essay-step-by-step

4. Pinpoint Your Weaknesses

Figure out what areas you’re weak in and set a baseline. The best way to do this is to take a complete, timed practice test. If you are signed up to take the essay, you should write a practice essay as part of your practice test run.

The SAT also provides guidelines on calculating your sub-scores in different areas. You can use this to get an additional idea of what particular areas you are strongest and weakest in within a section.

5. Make a Study Schedule

Spend a consistent amount of time every week studying until you take the test. By setting consistent, scheduled times, it will help make studying into a habit. This will help keep you moving and making progress at a steady pace.

6. Review Important Content

You are the one who can best determine how to learn and review content most effectively. Focus on the areas you know you are weak in and  spend more time on it, but you should still spend a little time preparing for the SAT Reading section even if it’s your best subject. This helps make sure you are sufficiently ready for every section and that you don’t backslide on the subjects you’re already good at.

7. Learn Test Strategies

An important part of preparing for the SAT is learning the best strategies to approach the test. This includes learning how to best eliminate answers, guess when you need to, manage your time, and additional section-specific tips.