See FAQ About our SAT Program
What is the SAT I Reasoning Test?
This test is what it is commonly known as the SATs. It is a reasoning test
which tests abilities in math, reading comprehension and writing. It is scored
out of 2400 and is required for entry to most US colleges. See
more information about SAT.
What are the SAT II Subject Tests?
The Subject Tests are often required by some
of the more selective US colleges like the Ivy League schools. Each subject
test is one hour in length and tests common high school subjects like Chemistry,
French and Math. Schools that require or recommend Subject Tests to be written
usually require 2 of them.
What's the difference between the SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject
The SAT Reasoning Test (SAT I) takes about 4 hours to write and measures your
general math, reading, and writing abilities. The SAT Subject Tests (SAT II)
are multiple choice tests on common subjects you would study in high school,
such as Biology, Math, Literature, or World History. There are 20 different
Subject Tests, each takes only one hour to write and is scored on a scale
from 200-800. Many highly selective US colleges require applicants write two
Subject Tests for admission, though they can often choose to take
any ones they like.
Where can I register for the SAT?
You can register for the SAT at the College
Board website. Before registering, you will need to create a login with
the College Board.
When can I write the SAT test?
The test is administered 7 times a year in January, March, May, June, October,
November and December. See SAT Dates.
How many times should I take the SAT?
The College Board (which runs the SAT) has no limits on how many times a
student can take the SAT. Most students take the exam two or three times to
ensure their scores represent the best they can do. Typically, a student will
make their first attempt at the SAT in the spring of grade 11 and then rewrite
it in the fall of grade 12.
When do I have to write the SAT by?
Virtually all schools will accept scores from December of your grade 12 year.
After December, it really depends on the school you are applying.
What is the highest possible SAT score?
The highest possible SAT I Reasoning Test score is 2400. For each of the
SAT II Subject Tests, the highest possible score is 800.
Can I just send colleges only my highest SAT scores?
In March 2009, the College Board adopted a new policy: students are now able
to choose which test results they would like to report to prospective schools.
However, a number of schools including Columbia, Yale, UPenn, and Cornell
have responded to this new policy by requesting that applicants send the results
of every SAT test they have taken.
Note that even with this new policy, it is not possible to "divide up"
the scores from a single SAT I test. All three sections scores of the SAT
I (Math, Reading, and Writing) from a single test date must be sent together.
However, most schools have a policy of only considering your highest scores.
Some schools will take your best overall score from a single administration
while others will mix and match your best scores for your entire test history.
Even though schools look at only highest scores, it does not send a positive
signal to admission officers when you take the exam too many times.
Should I guess answers on the SAT?
The SAT is designed so that random guessing will negatively affect your score.
There is a quarter point deduction for wrong answer on multiple choice questions.
However, it is often to your advantage to guess. If you can eliminate even
one wrong answer, you can tip the odds in your favor and on average gain more
points from strategized guessing than leaving a question blank.
When should I start to prepare for the SAT?
It’s never too early to start preparing. Students sometimes start
preparing as early as grade 8. Younger students can prepare by enhancing
fundamental academic skills like reading comprehension and writing. In
particular, one of the best ways to prepare is to read a large number
of books at an early age. We also encourage self-study by purchasing a
few SAT preparation books.
What scores do I need to be a competitive applicant for top US colleges?
||Estimated SAT Score Needed
||Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT
||UPenn, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Duke
|| Emory, Chicago, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Rice
||NYU, Boston University, USC, Michigan
How important is the SAT?
The SAT is an integral part of the admissions criteria. US colleges utilize
the SAT score in combination with the student's GPA and school rank to determine
the student's "academic index," an indicator of the student's academic
success and potential.
In assessing students from less prominent high schools, admissions officers
give the SAT extra weight.
Students who are concerned that their school average and rank might fail
to accurately depict their academic potential should viwe the SAT as an opportunity
to demonstrate their skills.
Is it possible to combine different SAT I section scores from different
No. Although the College Board now (as of March 2009) allows students to
choose which scores will be sent to their prospective colleges, all three
SAT I sections from one test date must be sent together.
However, the majority of schools explicitly assert that in assessing the
student's performance on the SAT I, they focus on the student's best score
for each section.
How many hours should a student expect to study in preparation for
Study time for the SAT varies significantly from student to student. The
first step should always be to complete a diagnostic exam in realistic
test conditions. Based on the results from this test, the student should
determine a reasonable study schedule to improve on his/her weaknsses.
Typically, the majority of students will need to dedicate at leaast 60
hours to maximize performance on the SAT.
What I should remember on test date?
On Test Day, make sure to do the following things:
- Eat breakfast! The SAT takes many hours to write.
- Bring snacks for the breaks between sections, and keep a bottle of water
with you, as this is the only thing you are allowed to drink during the
- Bring the correct supplies: at least two number two pencils (no pens or
mechanical pencils), a good eraser, and an approved calculator.
- Wear multiple layers, so that you can put on or take off clothing to adjust
to the temperature of the testing room.
- Don"t forget to bring your picture ID and SAT admission ticket.
How does the ACT differ from the SAT?
The following chart outlines some of the most significant differences between
the two tests.
||• 3 hours, 25 minutes (including the 30-minute Writing Test)
||• 3 hours, 45 minutes
||• English (grammar), Math, Reading, Science, and Writing (essay)
||• Reading, Math, and Writing (grammar and essay)
||• Multiple choice (except for the essay)
||• Multiple choice (except for the essay and 10 math grid-in questions)
||• English Test: 45 minutes
• Math Test: 60 minutes
• Reading Test: 35 minutes
• Science Test: 35 minutes
• Writing Test (optional): 30 minutes
|• Seven 25-minute sections (two each of Reading, Math, and Writing,
with one experimental section)
• Two 20-minute sections (one
Reading, one Math)
• One 10-minute Writing section
||• 4 passages with 10 questions per passage
||• Sentence completion
• Short and long passages
• More emphasis on vocabulary
||• Data representation
• Research summaries
• Conflicting viewpoints
|ACT English Test vs. SAT Writing (Multiple Choice)
||• Multiple choice questions based on improving essays
||• Multiple choice questions based on improving sentences, identifying
sentence errors, and improving paragraphs
|ACT Writing Test vs. SAT Writing (Essay)
|| • 30 minutes
• Score scale: 0-12
• Does not
affect the composite score
• Topic related to high school students
• Always last section of the exam
|• 25 minutes
• Score scale: 0-12
into the Writing score
• More abstract topic
first section of the exam
||• Composite score of 1-36, based on the average of the 4 test
• Each of the 4 tests (English, Math, Reading, Science)
is given a score from 1-36
• Score of 0-12 for the optional
|• Total score of 600-2400, based on the sum of the 3 subject scores
• Each subject (Reading, Writing, Math) score range is 200-800
• Score of 0-12 for the Essay
|Wrong Answer Penalty
||• ¼ point deducted for each incorrect response
||• You decide whether or not to send your test score.
||• You decide whether or not to send your test score.
If you’re unsure about which test is a better fit for you, give both
tests a try.