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All About SAT Exam 2023 You Need to Know

What is the SAT?

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is a standardized test that is designed to evaluate the reading, writing, and mathematical aptitude of the candidates. SAT exam is managed by The College Board and is usually taken by the high school students while applying to colleges. The final score of the SAT exam is under the range of 400 to 800. The written essay section is an optional part of the SAT, which is required by some selective colleges.  

There are no specific eligibility criteria stated by The College Board for taking the SAT. The official schedule of the essential SAT dates is released early in the year, and tests are scheduled on Saturdays. The number of applicants in the Fall session is much higher than the rest of the year because admissions are open in almost all of the international educational institutes. 

How much does it cost to take the SAT? 

  • The fee for SATs varies from country to country.
  • General SAT with written essay cost $106. 
  • General SAT without essay costs $94.
  • SAT with subject tests cost approximately $111.
  • In Indian currency, the fee of the SAT exam is about 6000-7000 INR. 

What is the format of SAT? 

SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject tests are conducted by The College Board. There is a specific pattern set by The College Board, which should be kept in mind by the applicants to make sure they are able to score maximum marks on the tests.  

There are two sets of exams in SAT, which are SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Test. Usually, most universities accept SAT Reasoning Test during the admission process. While SAT Subject Test might be required by a few universities to ensure the applicants have enough knowledge in a particular subject.

Pattern of SAT Reasoning Test 

The essay portion of the SAT exam is optional, as some universities need it as part of the academic records, while the majority do not. You get the admission eligibility criteria from the universities you are applying to determine whether you need to take the essay test.   

Topic Number of Questions Duration (minutes) 
Reading 52 65 
Writing & Language 44 35 
Mathematics 58 80 
Essay (optional) 01 50 
Total 155 230 

SAT Subject Test Exam Pattern

The SAT Subject Test is meant to assess the knowledge of the applicants in a specific subject. 

  • The total marks of an SAT Subject Test are 800.
  • 20 subjects are available for testing from The College Board.
  • The total duration is 1 hour. 
  • Most commonly, subjects like Maths I, Maths II, Chemistry, Biology are taken as Sat Subject Test. However, other subjects, like German, Physics, French, Chinese with Listening, among many others, are also available.

What is a good score on SAT exam for the top 15 colleges?

There is no specific SAT score, which is deemed good for the admission in universities and colleges. No official scores or percentiles are released by the leading universities and colleges, so there is no specific SAT score, which can be called the threshold of the admission. Such criteria keep on changing every year due to various factors like the number of students applying to a specific program, the overall academic records of the applicants, and other factors. However, on average and smart calculations, the following score is considered to be good for the top 15 colleges:

Institutes SAT Scores 
Princeton University 1430-1570 
Harvard University 1480-1560 
Yale University 1420-1590 
Columbia University 1490-1590 
Stanford University 1510-1580 
University of Chicago 1490-1560 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1510-1580 
Duke University 1490-1560 
University of Pennsylvania 1420-1550 
California Institute of Technology 1530-1590 
Johns Hopkins University 1460-1580 
Dartmouth College 1420-1560 
Northwestern University 1420-1560 
Brown University 1405-1570 
Cornell University 1390-1550 

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How many times can you take SAT exams? 

To make it easy for the applicants to get admission to their dream university by securing high marks in SAT, The College Board allows candidates to take the SAT Exam as many times as they want. It means the candidates can keep improving their marks as much as they want.  

What are SAT Subject Tests?

Highly-selective colleges require applicants to take at least two SAT Subject Tests to demonstrate their ability to study in challenging programs. The SAT Subject Tests offered by The College Board are: 

  • SAT Biology E/M to evaluate the applicant’s knowledge of general concepts of Biology. 
  • SAT Chemistry to check your ability to organize and interpreting results of different observations and experiments.
  • SAT Physics to assess the ability to solve problems related to laws of physics, simple algebra, trigonometric problems, and graphical relations.
  • SAT U.S History to test the knowledge of applicants about the history, geography, and major developments in USA history.
  • SAT World History to evaluate the candidate’s understanding of the major events in global history and the basic terminologies.
  • SAT Literature checks reading and interpretation skills. 
  • SAT Math I include algebra, basic statistics, number theory, trigonometry, and geometry.
  • SAT Math II evaluates advanced mathematical concepts.
  • Foreign Languages like French, Germany, Spanish, Hebrew, and others. 
  • Foreign Languages with Listening skills to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency in a specific language.  

How to prepare for SAT Exam 2023? 

The paper pattern and setting of the SAT have been revised, which is considered more difficult for international students. As a result, there is no use of preparing for the old SAT, and your preparation for the old version would not work well in the new pattern. There is a lot of fake material available on the internet, so it is better that you refer to the official SAT practice sets given by The College Board official website. These practices tests are: 

Shall I take SAT or ACT?

Many US colleges and universities accept both SAT or American College Testing (ACT) for the admission of international students in undergraduate degrees.  

The pattern, difficulty level, and preference in the admission process of both SAT and ACT are quite similar to each other, which makes it difficult for the students to decide which tests they should take. A significant difference between SAT and ACT is that there is a Science section included in the ACT, while the SAT includes a Math section in which calculator is not allowed.  

The modifications in SAT in 2016 have made it very similar to the ACT. As a result, many applicants have started to take both SAT and ACT to earn maximum scores on both of them. If you want to take only one of the tests, it is better to get in touch with the universities you are going to apply to determine their eligibility criteria and the standardized testing required. 

Most of the foreign universities accept both SAT and ACT. To make a final decision about which test to take, you should practice the mock SAT and ACT tests available on their official websites. It will give you help you in determining the difficulty levels of both the tests yourself and make a smart choice in terms of taking the test to enhance your chances of getting maximum marks in either of the standard tests and get admission to your dream university.  

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