What is the SAT?

What is the SAT?

May 7, 2022

The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test that is required for college admission by many colleges and universities in the United States. More colloquially, the test is usually just called “the SAT,” and the letters are actually a pseudo-acronym, meaning that they don't stand for anything. As an alternative to this test, some colleges allow students to take the ACT, another standardized test, and some schools have an “SAT optional” policy, meaning that students may submit scores, but they are not required. 

Even if a school is SAT optional, taking the SAT can be a good option for some. That way, students will have their SAT score on hand for a number of scenarios, including transferring from one college to another. Visit Learner.com today to sign up for tutoring to help prepare for any standardized college admission exam, including the SAT test.

Why is the SAT Important?

The SAT exam is one of the most popular college entrance exams in the U.S. Many students take the SAT as one of the stepping stones, alongside high school GPA and involvement in clubs, in the college admissions process. Because all students take the same test each year, a student’s SAT score helps colleges compare test scores to evaluate applicants. Scoring well on the SAT is only one way to stand out, and having a tutor can help students score well.

Having a tutor can help college bound students achieve their academic dreams by allowing students to perform well on entrance exams, like the SAT, that are a necessary part of the college application process. Standardized test scores play a role in an admission committee's decision on who they'll admit to their campus. A Learner tutor is a great way to prepare for college admission exams. Learner tutors offer one-on-one support and direct feedback after each session. This can increase a student's SAT scores and a college entrance examination board will surely take notice. Visit Learner.com today to sign up for tutoring to help prepare your child for any standardized college admission exam, including the SAT test.

SAT Reasoning Test


The History of the SAT

The first form of the SAT test was administered in 1901, when the College Board tested just under 1,000 students. The College Board continues to manage the test today, along with an assortment of other standardized tests used in university admissions; the test itself is designed and published by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Since 1901, it has undergone a number of changes that were designed to streamline the testing process and to compensate for shifts in the education system. As of 2012, the last major overhaul was in 2005, when the ETS retooled the SAT in response to harsh criticism from the University of California system, which considered dropping the test from their admission requirements.

How is the SAT Scored?

The current SAT test includes three sections, each of which can earn a maximum score of 800 and a minimum score of 200. For the test-taker's final score, the College Board adds the three scores together; typically, a percentile is included with the score, calculated on the basis of scores from students who took comparable tests. Traditionally, top-flight universities such as the Ivy Leagues have demanded very high SAT test scores from their applicants.

How Learner Tutors Can Help

Learner tutors are skilled in many subjects, including math, reading, writing, and college admission test prep. Students are matched with a tutor that can help them with their specific needs, including preparation for the SATs. The SAT test can be intimidating for many students, and a tutor could help cut down on test anxiety by making sure students are well prepared. 

High school students have plenty to worry about between deciding whether college is for them or not, and where to apply if they decide to attend college. The SAT exam can certainly create a lot of stress for students, but having a tutor quiz and help them prepare can help ease some of that stress. Students can simplify the college application process by doing their best on college entrance exams with the help of a tutor. It’s best for students to pick an early SAT test date so they can discuss and review topics with their tutor before their exam.

What Is on the SAT

When students take the SAT, they should know that several sections make up the SAT test. The first section of the SAT test is mathematics, which is divided into three sections. Most of the questions on the SAT math test have multiple choice answers, although several questions require test-takers to fill in their numerical answers on an optical answer sheet. The next section is critical reading, which requires test-takers to read short passages and fill out the correct responses to multiple choice questions. Students must also be able to fill in the blanks in sentences using a list of word choices, demonstrating vocabulary skills. Finally, the writing section requires students to write a brief essay, and to respond to questions which test the writing and editing skills of the test-taker.

What to Expect When Taking the SAT

The College Board announced that it will no longer offer an optional essay to most states and there will no longer be an option to take an SAT subject test. There are also a few things for students to keep in mind about their test taking day. Sitting for the SAT test takes around four hours, including scheduled breaks. Students should plan to bring small snacks and water for these breaks, as well as an acceptable calculator for the math section in which calculators are allowed. Students will need to put away their calculator for other sections of the test. 

Students should also plan to bring along a photo ID and their admission ticket. Students can find their admission ticket on their college board account. The SAT test will have five sections in all. These include reading, writing, math with a calculator, and math without a calculator. Students are allotted three hours to complete the test.

The SAT sections will encourage students to use problem solving skills, mathematical skills, writing skills, and evidence-based reading. The SAT, while only one indicator of academic success, can be daunting. This is especially true for students who consider the SAT-IIs.

Students may also opt to take up to three subject tests known as SAT-IIs when they sit for the regular exam. These subject tests can be used to demonstrate particular skills to a college, or to bypass entry level courses in these subjects, depending on college policies. In the United States, the SAT test is offered seven times a year; it can also be taken at test centers overseas, for students who wish to apply to American colleges. 

What To Do After the SAT

Once students have completed the SAT examination, they can expect to receive total scores by the dates specified on the College Board website. On the College Board website is where students will find score release dates along with other information. Students taking the test can receive test scores about two weeks after they’ve taken the test. Then, students can use the college name of the universities to which they’re applying to send scores out. Usually, a total SAT score is required for applicants of many undergraduate programs. Colleges will not usually require students to send all SAT results if they have taken multiple tests, only the highest scores.

How to Register for the SAT

College bound students should be prepared to register online for the SAT on a date that allows them plenty of time to complete their college applications. The registration process should not take long. They will need to use their college board account to register and pay for the test, and this is where they will also find their admission ticket for test day. Low income students may also be able to apply for a fee waiver. The college board website also gives students access to full-length practice SAT tests, information regarding the PSAT, and resources for K-12 educators. The SAT registration is a fairly simple process that only requires a few steps to complete. 

If students want to take the SAT several times in a school year, they will need to be aware of test dates and registration deadlines. Once students are registered they can then focus their energy into preparing for the exam. Overall, it’s important that students are prepared for the SAT, and one of the best ways to be prepared is with the help of a tutor.


Looking for a private one-on-one SAT test prep? Speak with our academic advisor to get custom matched with your online tutor today!

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