SAT is abbreviation for Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Assessment Test. This test is conducted by College Board (a non-profit organization) in reasoning and 20 other subjects. SAT reasoning test is taken by high school semaphores, juniors and seniors for admission in post secondary education. The secondary level education in United States is provided by divergent institutions such as public schools, private schools and home schools, so lacks a national level standardization. The score of SAT (and/or other similar exam ACT) serves as the criterion for admission to various undergraduate programs in colleges, universities, community colleges and vocational schools. In several foreign countries, colleges and universities admit American high school students on the basis of SAT score. It absolutely depends on the educational institution that how much consideration it pays to SAT score in its admission criteria.
SAT is normally taken by high school juniors in the end of their 11th grade or by high school seniors. SAT score validates that they possess ability and essential skills required to pursue a post secondary educational course.
SAT reasoning test consists of three sections- Critical reading, mathematics and writing. Each section is divided into three sub-sections and an additional sub-section which is optional and can appear in any of the three sections. The reading section tests vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, organization and reading comprehension. The mathematical section is based on high school mathematics covering algebra, geometry, functions, probability and statistics. The writing section consists of essay writing and questions pertaining to identification of errors in sentences and improvement in sentences and paragraphs.
The reading section is divided into three parts of which two are to be completed in 25 minutes and one in 20 minutes. It consists of few sentence completion questions and questions based on passages. The longer passages are followed by greater number of questions which are organized irrespective of their difficulty level. The mathematical section is again divided in three parts which consist of 20 multiple choice questions, 8 multiple choice and 10 grid-in questions, 16 multiple choice questions respectively. The time allotted for first two sections is 25 minutes while for third one is 20 minutes. The first subsection of writing section is essay writing which is to be completed in 25 minutes. The rest of two subsections have multiple choice questions that are allotted 25 minutes and 10 minutes respectively. The experimental section is allotted 25 minutes and is not scored.
Each question in SAT has marks in multiple of 10. All sections are awarded marks in range from 200 to 800 summing up to 2400 as scaled grading. There is negative marking except for grid in questions. In addition to gross total, grading of essay subsection, multiple choice questions, score without negative marking and deduced score are also mentioned in the score card.
SAT reasoning test is conducted seven times a year in United States and six times in overseas. This test is held in the months – October, November, December, January, March/April, May and June. In overseas, March/April dates of test are not available.
SAT reasoning test has a registration fee of $49. There are additional charges for registration by phone, change of center, test type or date, late fee, standby fee, international processing and fee for testing in India and Pakistan.
Other similar exams-
American College Testing (ACT) is another standardized test in United States taken by high school graduates for admission in post secondary courses. The students take ACT, SAT or both depending upon requirements of colleges and universities they are going to apply for admission.