SAT Overview

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is a standardized test with a pre-defined syllabus that is designed to test critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to analyze and solve problems in math, critical reading, and writing. The SAT is one way to demonstrate a student’s competitiveness and their likelihood to succeed in a course, and is one of the several factors that many universities and colleges consider when making their admission decisions alongside high school grades.
SAT is classified into two categories. The first is the SAT that tests knowledge of the subjects taught every day in high school classrooms which are reading, writing and math. The second is the SAT Subject Test that examines a student’s proficiency in a particular subject matter. This test is usually taken by students who are applying for a specialized field of study such as English Literature, World History, Mathematics, Biology or Chemistry.Preparation is key to getting a good score in the SAT. Investing time and effort in preparing for the exam is a critical element in the test taking strategy.

Test Format
The SAT structure is as follows:

Sections Component Time Allotted (min.) Number of Questions/Tasks
1 Reading 65 52
2 Writing and Language 35 44
3 Math (No Calculator) 25 20(5 Grid-in)
4 Math (Calculator) 55 38(8 Grid-in)
5 Essay (optional) 50 1
6 Total 180(230 with Eassy) 154 (155 with Essay)

SAT Scoring Methodology

Talking about relevant SAT information, two sections of SAT (Mathematics and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) will be scored on a scale that ranges from 200-800 points giving a possible total of 1600. Sub scores and insight scores will also be reported along with an optional essay (scored separately).
Questions that a student does not answer do not count either for or against their score. Neither are points taken away for wrong answers on the math questions where the answers has to be entered into a grid. The raw score for each section is then converted into a scaled score. This is where the score of 200–800 points comes from, which is done through a statistical process called ‘equating’.

Key points to bear in mind when taking the New SAT:
As against to the old SAT guidelines, there is no negative marking or wrong-answer penalty.
Too much time is often taken up answering specific questions, especially, in the Critical Reading section, which results in loss of valuable time to attempt other questions. Also, the critical reading section now does not asks for sentence completions.There are only 4 answer choices per question in the New SAT test format. Only a portion of questions focus on in-depth analysis of content and evidence SAT is available in print and digitally.

The Pathshala 10 key insights into the SAT:
In India, the SAT is offered in the months of January, May, June, October, November and December.

The test is generally conducted on the first Saturday of the month (except in the month of January, when it is usually held on the last Saturday).

Students have 3 hours (3 hours 50 minutes with optional essay) to take the SAT, not including breaks and check-in time.

After taking the SAT, students may cancel their score up until the Wednesday after they have taken the exam.

The best time to take the SAT is in class 11, or at the beginning of class 12, with at least six to eight months before the board exams commence.

SAT scores are valid for five years.

Students can take the test more than once to see if they can score better but they should only do so if they are confident that they can improve. Two to three times is the maximum recommended number of attempts.

The essay question asks students to analyze a 650-700 word document and explain how the author builds an argument. Students need not have previous knowledge of any particular subject to successfully answer the essay question as the test focuses on the reading, writing, and analysis skills of the test-takers.

There is no definition of a ‘good’ SAT score. Generally speaking, scoring close to the mean (average) – about 500 on critical reading and writing and 500 on mathematics – shows that a student has scored as well as about half of the other students who have taken the test.

Each college has its own way of using test scores and evaluating applicants. The SAT score reports sent to colleges include score ranges and percentiles that provide some context for how well a student has performed in the test.

Fees and Costs
The cost to take the SAT for Indian students is US$ 94.
The cost to take the SAT with Essay for Indian students is US$ 106.
In addition to the cost of taking the SAT, other charges may apply in certain circumstances. Further details of costs can be found on