SAT – The Undergraduate College Admissions Test by the College Board


The SAT is nearly a century old standardized test. The score on the test is one of the important admission criteria for colleges in the United States. A private, not-for-profit corporation, the College Board owns the SAT. Another organization, the ETS does the test’s development and administration.

Initially the test was called the Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is now called the SAT and has no acronym. Since, its start in 1926, the SAT has gone through a series of changes – its scoring, name and structure. The College Board claims, SAT to be a right assessment of a student’s readiness for college. It also states that the latest version of SAT (2016) tests students on Mathematics, Reading & Writing, one would have learnt in the high school.

The latest version of SAT (revised 2016):

The New/Redesigned SAT (as is often referred to nowadays) is a 3 hour test if taken without an essay (optional) and a 3 hour 50 minutes test if taken with the essay. The test taking fee as of the year 2017 is US $45 (without the essay) and US $57 (with the essay). This does not include the late fees, additional processing fees if taken outside the United States.

The total scores on the test range from 400 to 1600. The scores on the Mathematics sections range from 200 to 800 and those in the English (Reading & Writing together) range from 200 to 800. Most of the colleges in the United States have either the SAT or the ACT (competitor) score as one of their several admission criteria.

The test structure is best summarized in the below table:

SECTION

No. of Questions

No. of Minutes

Test Score

Section Score

Reading

52

65

10 – 40

200 – 800

Writing

44

35

10 – 40

Mathematics- Calculator

38

55

10 – 40

200 – 800

Mathematics- Non Calculator

20

25

(Optional) Essay

1

50

2 – 8


The cost of taking the SAT – Test Fee?

The high school juniors and seniors in the United States form the majority of the SAT test takers. There is no restriction on who can take the test. People from various test-prep companies take the test on a regular basis to understand the test.

Several studies in the past have shown that the correlation between high school grades and college freshmen grades is significant with SAT test scores factored in. Most of the colleges in the United States accept the SAT score as admission criteria.

There are number of colleges that do not need any test score at all too. There are many expenditures involved in going for these examinations, which you can find mentioned here, however the basic fee for taking the SAT is best summarized in the table below:

 Item

 In U.S

Fee Structure
SAT (without essay) $45
SAT (with essay) $57
Registration by phone $15 (additional fee)
Change fee (test center or test date change) $28 (additional fee)
Waitlist fee $46 (charged if admitted to the test center on test day)
Additional Score reports (> free 4) $12 (per report)

Performance of test-takers:

The test-takers’ scores generally follow the normal distribution (though not perfectly). The below table summarizes the scores and their “SAT User percentile – National” equivalents.

Total Score SAT User Percentile- National
1600 99+
1590 99+
1580 99+
1570 99+
1560 99+
1550 99+
1540 99+
1530 99+
1520 99+
1510 99
1500 99
1490 99
1480 99
1470 99
1460 99
1450 99
1440 98
1430 98
1420 98
1410 97
1400 97
1390 97
1380 96
1370 96
1360 95
1350 94
1340 94
1330 93
1320 93
1310 92
1300 91
1290 90
1280 89
1270 88
1260 87
1250 86
1240 85
1230 84
1220 83
1210 82
1200 81
1190 80
1180 78
1170 77
1160 76
1150 74
1140 73
1130 71
1120 70
1110 69
1100 67
1090 65
1080 63
1070 61
1060 60
1050 58
1040 56
1030 54
1020 52
1010 50
1000 48
990 46
980 44
970 42
960 40
950 38
940 36
930 35
920 33
910 31
900 29

A score of 1010 is a 50 percentile (in the table). This means that 50% of the people who take the SAT score no less than 1010. Also notice that the SAT gets scored in multiples of 10 only. More information about the sectional scores and their percentile equivalents can be got by visiting here.

The average score expected by the top 10 colleges generally stand above 1400 out of 1600. Students prepare for about 2-3 months on an average to improve their scores. Many students take the test multiple times to improve their scores. Students planning well in advance to get into top colleges start their preparation in their 9th/10th grade itself when they take the PSAT (by the CollegBoard).

You may know more about PSAT reading the article on PSAT. While a lot of test-prep companies charge fees in a wide range to coach students, there are a few FREE learning resources that one can benefit from, such as the ones that are available here.

While a lot of test-prep companies charge fees in a wide range to coach students, there are a few FREE
learning resources that one can benefit from, such as the ones that are available at
https://www.fabmarks.com/sat

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