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SAT FAQs

Questions about the Test

Registration Questions

Score Questions

Test Day Questions


Questions about the Test

What is the SAT?

The SAT is the nation's most widely used college admissions test and is accepted by virtually all American colleges and universities.

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What is the format of the test?

The test is divided into four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (with calculator). The sections have 52 questions, 44 questions, 20 questions, and 38 questions, respectively.

If a student signs up for the essay portion of the test, it will be given as the final section and will consist of writing an essay about how an author uses rhetorical techniques to form an argument.

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How long is the test?

The timing and number of questions for the sections in the standard SAT are shown in the table below.

Section(s) Questions Standard
Reading 52 questions 65 minutes
Writing and Language 44 questions 35 minutes
Math – No Calculator 20 questions 25 minutes
Math – Calculator 38 questions 55 minutes
Essay (optional) 1 prompt 50 minutes
Total Time 3 hours without the Essay
3 hours, 50 minutes with the Essay

The amount of approved extended time varies from student to student. Extended time options include time and a half (4 hours, 30 minutes without the essay; 5 hours, 45 minutes with the essay), double time (6 hours without the essay; 7 hours, 40 minutes with the essay), and, in rare circumstances, more time (e.g. 150 percent additional time, or 7 hours, 30 minutes without the essay and 9 hours, 35 minutes with the essay).

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Registration Questions

When is the SAT given?

The SAT test dates and registration dates are found at this website. It is usually administered in January, March, May, June, October, November, and December.

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How do I register for the SAT?

There are three ways you can register for the SAT:

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How much does it cost to register for the SAT?

Registration for the SAT costs $46 without the essay portion and $60 with the essay portion. If you miss the registration date for the test, you can still register before the Late Registration deadline, but you will be charged an additional late fee of $29.

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How can I get extended time on the SAT?

Obtaining extended time for the SAT is a multi-step process. If you want extended time, you should begin by talking to your school counselor. Additional information can be found on the College Board SAT Accommodations page.

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Score Questions

How is the SAT scored?

There are four sections on the test: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (with calculator). The Reading and Writing and Language sections will be scored together as one Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section score. The Math (no calculator) and Math (with calculator) sections will be scored together as a Math Section score.

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section score and Math Section score are each given a score from 200 to 800.These section scores will be combined to give the composite score, which ranges from 400 to 1600. These are known as scaled scores.

The scaled scores are based on the raw scores for each section. The raw score for a section is calculated by counting the number of correct answers. Unlike the old format of the SAT, incorrect answers are no longer penalized with a quarter point deduction. Correct answers are counted toward your score, but incorrect answers are not counted against your score. Your raw score will then be compared to those of other test takers to obtain the scaled score.

If you choose to do the essay portion of the test, note that the essay receives a score separate from the rest of the test. The score for the essay ranges from 6 to 24 points.

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How is the SAT essay scored?

The essay is graded by two separate essay graders using this Scoring Guide. Each of the two graders gives the essay 1 to 4 points in three categories: reading, analysis, and writing. The essay receives three scores, one for each dimension, ranging from 2 to 8 points. There is no composite SAT Essay score (the three scores are not added together).

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What is the average SAT score?

Up-to-date information on this year's average SAT scores can be found on here.

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When will I get my scores back?

Generally, scores are available online 2 to 3 weeks after the day of the test. You should receive them in the mail in about 4 to 6 weeks.

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Test Day Questions

What should I bring to the test?

There are several things you MUST bring with you to the test:

In addition to these required items, you should also bring:

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What should I NOT bring to the test?

The following items are not allowed, and should be left in the car or at home:

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