What You Need to know about the SAT Test

What is the SAT?

The SAT is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper assessment administered by the College Board that is used by many colleges/universities to make admission decisions. The purpose of the entrance exam is to measure a student’s readiness for college and also provide colleges with a common data point to compare applicants.

When do you usually take the SAT?

The SAT exam is given seven times throughout the year. (March, May, June, August, October, November, and December). Most students take the SAT during the spring of their junior year or the fall of senior year. It is often recommended to take the SAT exam one to three times to get the best final score.

How long is the SAT?

The SAT exam is 3 hours without the essay component and 3 hours 50 minutes with the essay.

How much does the SAT examination cost?

SAT admissions for the 2018-2019 school year are:
$47.50 (without essay)
$64.50 (with essay)

What are the test sections/format of the SAT?

The SAT has three major components with an optional essay section. The sections are as follows:

  • Writing and Language Arts
  • Evidence-Based Reading
  • Math
  • Optional essay

Evidence-Based Reading

52 multiple-choice questions
65 minutes
Passages are based on literature, historical documents, social sciences, and natural sciences
Vocabulary in context and understanding charts/graphs
Identifying evidence from the passage to support answer

Writing and Language Arts

44 multiple-choice questions
35 minutes
Grammar, vocabulary in context, and editing skills
4 passages total with at least 1 containing a graphic like chart


58 multiple-choice questions
80 minutes
-20 questions with No-Calculator (25 minutes)
-38 questions with Calculator (55 minutes)
Algebra I and II, geometry, and some trigonometry
Linear equations, system, graphs, problem-solving and data analysis, manipulation of equations

Essay (optional)

1 essay
50 minutes
Read a passage and explain how the author builds a persuasive argument

How is the SAT scored?

The SAT is scored based on a system that ranges from 400-1600 points which breaks down to 200-800 per content area (one score for Reading/Language Arts and one score for Math).

  • 1600 is the top score for the SAT
  • 1070 is the average score
  • 300-400 is the minimum score for the exam

Tips and strategies for the SAT

Here are a few things you can do at home/school to better prepare for the SAT exam:
Take sat practice tests to help gauge your performance and understanding of the topics
Pay attention in class to optimize learning
Take the right types of classes to prepare for the exam
Use and better understand specific test-taking strategies to make educated guesses

How can MINDSPIRE help with the SAT?

There are numerous tips and strategies available online to better prepare for the SAT. From test prep books to online practice exams, the options are endless; however, these options are sometimes overwhelming!
At MINDSPIRE, we provide a tutoring and test prep program that is tailored to your specific learning style and individual needs. We have tutored thousands of students on the SAT exam and our system works because of our amazing and experienced tutors. In 2018, 97.5% of our Mindspire students reached or exceeded their guaranteed score for the SAT. If you are interested in getting a tutor that is matched with your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your needs, give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737) or click here to learn more.


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