Many colleges require scores from the SAT or ACT tests as a part of the admissions process. Your SAT score is a key component of your college applications.
|SAT Length||3 hours (plus 50 minutes if taking optional Essay)|
|SAT Sections||Math||Evidence-Based Reading and Writing||Essay (optional)|
|SAT Cost||$46 ($60 if taking SAT with Essay)|
|Highest SAT Score||1600|
|Average SAT Score||1060|
The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by the College Board.
The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student's readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important SAT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school.
Overall, the higher you score on the SAT and/or ACT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you.
Most high school students take the SAT, the ACT, or both during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year. It's important to leave time to re-take the test if you need to raise your score before you apply to college. The SAT exam is offered nationally every year in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. View all upcoming SAT test dates.
There are two SAT sections:
The SAT also includes an optional Essay section. SAT Essay scores are reported separately from overall test scores. Some colleges may require that you complete the SAT Essay. You can confirm each college's admissions policies on the school website or on our school profiles.
The SAT is 3 hours long. If you choose to take the SAT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 50 minutes.
Each section of the SAT is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale. Your total SAT score is the sum of your section scores. The highest possible SAT score is 1600. If you take the Essay, you will receive a separate score.
Most colleges and universities will accept scores from either the SAT or ACT, and do not favor one test over the other. That said, college-bound students are increasingly taking both the SAT and ACT. Changes made to the SAT in 2016 have made it easier than ever to prep for both tests concurrently—and earn competitive scores on both! The best way to decide if taking the SAT, ACT, or both tests is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test of each type. Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit. Try our QUIZ: SAT, ACT, or Both? to learn more.
SAT registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each test date. Register online on the College Board website. The College Board may require SAT registration by mail under special circumstances.