The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It was first introduced in 1926, and its name and scoring have changed several times, being originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, and now simply the SAT.

The SAT is typically taken by high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. The College Board states that the SAT measures literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in college. They state that the SAT assesses how well the test takers analyze and solve problems—skills they learned in school that they will need in college.

The current SAT, introduced in 2005, takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to finish[update]. Possible scores on the SAT range from 600 to 2400. SAT consists of three major sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Each section receives a score on the scale of 200–800. All scores are multiples of 10.

The exam will revert to the 1600-point scale, the essay will be optional, and students will have 3 hours to take the exam plus 50 additional minutes to complete the essay. Total scores are calculated by adding up scores of the three sections. Each major section is divided into three parts. There are 10 sub-sections, including an additional 25-minute. However, the test is administered under a tight time limit (speeded) to help produce a range of scores.

 

SectionAverage ScoreTime (Minutes)Content
Writing48760Grammar, usage, and diction.
Mathematics51370Number and operations; algebra and functions; geometry; statistics, probability, and data analysis
Critical Reading49770Vocabulary, Critical reading, and sentence-level reading

The SAT is offered seven times a year in the United States; in October, November, December, January, March (or April, alternating), May, and June. The test is typically offered on the first Saturday of the month for the November, December, May, and June administrations.

In other countries, the SAT is offered on the same dates as in the United States except for the first spring test date (i.e., March or April), which is not offered. The test was taken by 1,672,395 high school graduates in the class of 2014. Candidates wishing to take the test may register online at the College Board’s website, by mail, or by telephone, at least three weeks before the test date.