SAT Test Preparation

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SAT

Scholastic Aptitude Test

SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test/ SAT-I) is a prerequisite Reasoning Test conducted for the admissions of undergraduate programs in United States. It is a 3 hour test that determines the proficiency of the students in verbal, mathematical and reasoning skills that are required to evaluate the skills needed to complete the academic successfully. The test is administered several times a year. Many universities also require SAT-II test score along with the SAT-I score for admission. Every year around 2 million students take SAT. Many colleges and universities finds SAT as a more credible test for predicting the student’s competence. The test scores are valid up to 5 years of the test date.

Test Modules in SAT

Typically, SAT reasoning test are categorized into three major sections, Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics, with a total of 10 sub-sections including a dummy section. These sections are discussed below:

Critical Reading

SAT exam begins with Critical reading questions that determine various reading comprehension skills. It includes two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section with 48 reading comprehension questions and 19 sentence completion questions. The scores are scaled on a 200-800 point scale with the total time limit of 70 minutes. This module consists of the following subsections:

Sentence Completion: It measures the vocabulary of the applicants and understanding the sentence structure i.e., how the different parts of a sentence fit logically together. Here each sentence has one or two blank space which has to be filled correctly with the given multiple choices

Passage-based Reading: This section comprises of two types of passage reading, Vocabulary in Context and Literal Comprehension. It measures the reading abilities of the students and thinking carefully about different passages ranging from 100 to 850 words approximately. These passages will be extracted from a variety of fields like, humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and literary fiction.

Writing Section
The writing section of SAT is based on the old SAT-II subject test in writing. The total time limit of writing section is 60 minutes. It includes multiple choice questions and a brief essay. The essay score accounts to be around 30% of the writing score and the multiple choice component accounts to be around 70%. The multiple choice questions include, Error Identification, Sentence Improvement questions that tests for grammar knowledge and Paragraph Improvement questions that test for student’s understanding of logical organization of ideas. The essay section is administered as the first part of the test, which has 25 minutes of time limit. They have to be written in response to the specified prompt, which are typically philosophical and are designed to be accessible to students despite of their educational and social backgrounds.

Mathematics Section

This section is also known as Quantitative Section determines important skills like, estimation and number sense using multiple choice questions and student response questions. Mathematics section includes topics like, exponential growth, absolute value, and functional notation. It consisting of three scored sections:

• A 25 minutes section – It contains 20 multiple choice (problem solving) questions to be completed in 25 minutes

• Another 25-minute section – It contains 8 multiple choice (problem solving) questions and 10 grid-in questions, within the time limit of 25 minutes

• A shorter section of 16 multiple choice (problem solving) questions to be completed in 20 minutes of time

In addition there will be a dummy section formally called as Variable or Equation section with the time limitation of 20 minutes. However this section does not count towards the individual score and they cannot be recognized in the test so as to not skipping those questions. They are only used for the future edition of SAT Structure of SAT Test

Structure of SAT Test

SectionsMathematics SectionCritical Reading SectionWriting Section
Time70 Minutes70 Minutes60 minutes
Sections25-min. sections (2) & 20-min. section (1)25-min. sections (2) & 20-min. section (1)Multiple Choices – 35 min. & Essays section – 25 min
Content– Number & operations;
– Algebra & Functions;
– Geometry;
– Statistics,
– Probability, &
– Data Analysis
– Critical Reading
– Reading comprehension,
– Sentence completions, & paragraph-length
Grammar, usage, and word choice
Marks80080080


The three parts of SAT are scored separately as reading score, a writing score, and a math score that range from 200 to 800 each. The average score of each section will be about 500. This average score is acceptable by almost all the colleges and universities. Yet few top colleges/universities expect for above average SAT scores of above 2100, which would puts in the 90 percentile.

A good SAT score will certainly increase your chances of secure admission in better colleges/universities. Your SAT subject score is measured on a scale of 200 to 800. Usually a SAT score of about 500 in every section (Mathematics, Writing and Critical Reading) is considered as a good score to get admission in good colleges/universities.

Below table gives the requirements of SAT score for some popular colleges

CollegeSAT MathSAT Critical ReadingSAT Writing
Auburn (Main Campus)520 – 630500 – 610510 – 620
Carleton660 – 740670 – 750640 – 740
Duke690 – 790690 – 770680 – 780
Harvard700 – 790690 – 800690 – 780
Middlebury640 – 740630 – 740630 – 740
Pomona680 – 760690 – 760680 – 760
Stanford680 – 780660 – 760670 – 770
UCLA610 – 720570 – 680580 – 690
MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology720 – 800660 – 760660 – 750



With this Information, you will be able to analyze the requirement of SAT score in your preferred colleges. Good SAT score even helps in seeking scholarships and financial aids for the entire study program


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