One of the most mind-boggling and stressful parts of the US college application process is the SAT.
The SAT is a three-part standardized testing method designed to provide colleges and universities with a comprehensive baseline of academic ability, split into four functional areas: Reading, Writing, and Language, Math with no calculator, and Math with a calculator. You’ll be allocated three hours to complete the predominantly multiple-choice test, however, there are a few questions within the math section that requires a more detailed written answer. Once you’ve completed the SAT, you’ll be given a total score between 400 and 1600 (the higher the number, the better the score) with the average score being around 1050 for prospective students.
Each of the assessment areas is structured slightly differently. Details of each can be found below:
The Reading Test
The reading text presents five passages of text followed by a section of multiple-choice questions about each passage. You’ll have 65 minutes to complete the 52 questions within this section
The Writing and Language Test
The writing and language test is a multiple-choice section in which you will read four passages of text, identify any mistakes or weaknesses, and correct them. You’ll have 35 minutes to complete the 44 questions within this section.
The Math Test
The math test is built around some of the key areas that will likely be the most prominent throughout your college career. These key areas are:
- Heart of Algebra
- Problem Solving and Data Analysis
- Passport to Advanced Math
The heart of algebra section focuses on systems and linear equations and will feature 19 questions. The problem-solving and data analysis section is designed to test your ability to work with complex numbers and patterns and understand their use in a system, with 17 questions to be answered. The passport to advanced math section was created to test your ability in manipulating complex equations, like exponential functions and polynomial expressions, and will require you to answer 16 questions.
There will also be six additional questions that test your understanding and ability with topics like geometry, theorems about circles, and trigonometry.
Once you’ve completed the SAT and received your score, technically it’s valid for the rest of your life, but if you are in the process of applying for a place at an institution in the US, generally the admissions teams will look for a score that’s been administered within the last 5 years to ensure the knowledge and understanding represented is still valid and up-to-date.
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