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Last Updated: July 20, 2021

SAT FAQ

The SAT exam is administered by the College Board to assess the merit of students from high school and provide a standard measurement for colleges to take in students for higher education. The nature of the exam brings in various doubts that cannot always be read in detail and requires answers to the point in order to avoid confusion. This page provides a set of frequently asked questions about SAT and then moves on to defining some commonly used terms regarding the test.

Why SAT?

SAT is a competitive exam that measures the readiness of a high school student for entering a space of higher education. The score range provided in the SAT report lets colleges/universities decide whether or not the student will be a right fit on the campus.

Students who are high achievers can use their SAT scores to avail themselves of scholarships that can be a financial aid for them in their studies. This is also an opportunity for students coming from lower financial backgrounds to be able to study through merit without having to drop their studies.

SAT scores can be added to one's resume even after college to avail themselves of great jobs as a fresher. It shows the candidate’s skillsets and provides them with a better job.

When should one attempt SAT?

SAT can be attempted both in the 11th and 12th-grade levels. It is recommended that students take it in the 2nd semester of their 11th grade with some extra preparation covering the 12th-grade syllabus so that they have time to retake the examination in case of lower grades. The report will be valid for another year which means that if the score is good enough the student also has the option of not attempting it in their 12th grade thereby focusing on bettering their GPA and other formalities required for college admissions.

How many times can one attempt SAT?

One can attempt the test as many times as one wants. But the ideal number would be 2-one in the junior year and the other in the senior year. For people who want to go to college after a break from high school, the ideal number is 2 again- one to assess where they stand right now and the next to achieve their target score. Any more than 4 times would not yield better results unless the candidate was facing extreme technical difficulties all 4 times.

A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 would then be the ideal number of times one should attempt SAT.

Is writing PSAT necessary for SAT?

No. Writing PSAT is not mandatory for attempting SAT. PSAT is conducted as a preliminary test to understand how the SAT exam works and to relieve students from the stress that SAT exams can otherwise provide.

Attempting PSAT before SAT gives a perspective on SAT and familiarizes the candidate with the question patterns and time management that SAT requires. PSAT is also attempted by students who want to receive the National Merit Scholarship or to at least be part of the commendable population of students which can aid them in their future endeavors.

Changes in SAT from 2021

From 2021, the College Board has decided to stop conducting the optional essay section of SAT.

They have also decided to cancel all Subject Tests from this year after conducting them 2 more times for international students. The students in the U.S. who have already enrolled for the Subject-Based Tests will have their registrations canceled and their fee refunded with immediate effect as soon as they request for the same.

When will candidates receive the score report?

The score reports will be available online for the candidate and for their school within 2 weeks. But the report will take over 4-6 weeks to be available in hard copy and for it to be dispatched to the respective colleges/universities.

What is meant by Score Choice?

Score choice allows candidates to retake the test as many times as they want since they can choose the grade that is sent to the college. Candidates can choose which SAT score and which Subject-Test score might give them a higher chance of getting admission and send only those specific marks with no additional charges.

What is the maximum SAT score attainable?

The highest score that can be received in SAT is 1600 with 800 in Mathematics and 800 in Evidence-based Reading and Writing.

How long is the SAT test?

SAT is conducted in 3 hours. There used to be an additional 50 minutes provided for the written test but the written test has now been removed from the official test.

Are candidates allowed to use calculators?

Yes and No. SAT exam has a Mathematics section that is divided into two. One permits the use of calculators while the other does NOT.

Is there negative marking for SAT

No, there is no negative marking for the test. The College Board encourages guesswork instead of leaving unattended questions.

Which calculators are allowed for SAT?

Graphing calculators, Scientific calculators, and all four-function calculators are allowed. Four-function calculators are not recommended by the College Board. They also insist on calculators with batteries since no wires are permitted within the exam hall.

How can candidates register for SAT? Can one register offline?

Candidates can register online through the College Board website. But they can also register offline provided all the documents and photograph has been attached with the documents along with the fee receipt.

Does SAT only contain multiple-choice questions?

SAT mostly contains multiple-choice questions with the exception of 10 student-produced answer questions in Mathematics. These questions are called grid-in questions where the student has to write the answer without the steps and without any options provided.

What if the score is bad? Can one cancel their score?

Yes, candidates can cancel their scores. As long as they decide to cancel the scores right after the exam, they will be able to do so. The request to cancel a score cannot be taken back. The scores will not be reinstated at any cost.

Can candidates verify their score?

If the score is extremely different from what was expected, candidates can apply for a multiple-choice hand score verification, an essay score verification, or both.

What is Rush Reporting?

Rush reports are reports that are sent within 4 business days for results that have already been declared. This can be opted for at an additional cost if deadlines must be met in colleges/universities. Candidates can order this online, by mail, and by phone.

Terms used in SAT and their Meaning

Total Score- Sum of the two different sections of the test.

Sectional Score- Marks obtained in the two different sections namely Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and Mathematics.

Sub-score- Marks obtained in a particular type of question which is divided into Reading, Writing, and Mathematics separately.

Percentile- Shows the degree to which the student has excelled when compared to others who have taken the test.


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