SAT FAQs

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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 ten sections, each of which falls into one of three topics: Reading, Math, or Writing. The first section of the test is always the essay, which counts towards the writing score.

    After the writing section there will be 6 long sections, comprised of two Reading sections, two Math sections, one multiple-choice writing section, and an experimental, unscored section which will not be identified as experimental and which may be Reading, Math, or Writing. (Note: The experimental section is not included in Choice Tutoring's practice tests.)

    Finally, there will be a short Reading, a short Math, and a very short multiple-choice Writing.

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    How long is the test?

    The timings for both the standard SAT and the extended-time SAT are shown in the table below.

    Section(s) Standard Extended Time
    Long Sections (1-7) 25 minutes apiece 38 minutes apiece
    Short Sections (8-9) 20 minutes apiece 30 minutes apiece
    Very Short Section (10) 10 minutes 15 minutes
    Total Time 3 hours, 45 minutes 5 hours, 31 minutes
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Registration Questions


Score Questions

    How is the SAT scored?

    There are three sections on the test: Reading, Math, and Writing. For each section, the student will be given a score from 200 to 800. These section scores will then be combined to give the composite score, which ranges from 600 to 2400. These are known as the scaled scores.

    The scaled scores are based on the raw scores for each section. The raw score for a section is calculated by taking the number of correct answers and subtracting one quarter of the number of incorrect answers. This score will then be compared to those of other test takers to obtain the scaled score.

    There are a couple of things to take note of. First, the score from the essay portion of the test accounts for approximately one third of the total writing section score. Also, there are Math section questions called "Student-Produced Response Questions" which do not count against the student if answered incorrectly.

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    How is the SAT essay scored?

    The essay is graded by two separate essay graders using this Scoring Guide on a scale of 0 to 6. The two scores are then added together to produce the final score. If, however, there is more than a point difference between the two scores, an additional grader will be brought in to ensure fairness.

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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 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:

    • Your admission ticket
    • Acceptable photo identification (more information here)
    • Two No. 2 pencils and a soft eraser (pens and mechanical pencils are not permitted)
    • An acceptable calculator (information about acceptable calculators is available here)

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

    • A watch without an audible alarm (or one that is set to silent)
    • A snack and a bottle of water (for breaks ONLY)
    • Extra batteries for your calculator and, if possible, a backup calculator
    • A bag or backpack to carry all of these things in
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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:

    • Cell phones, pagers, and other personal electronic devices (except for watches)
    • Scratch paper (there is plenty of room on the test for your scratch work)
    • Any notes or books
    • A compass, protractor, ruler, or other measuring or drafting device
    • Highlighters, pens, mechanical pencils, and colored pencils
    • Portable listening or recording devices
    • Cameras or video cameras
    • Stop watches, clocks, or watches with audible alarms
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