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SAT: Know all about its eligibility, cost, registration, schedule and question types

Saikat Chakraborty
Saikat Chakraborty
Posted on 22 May 2022
11:32 AM
SAT is a pen-and-paper test organised by the US-based College Board.

SAT is a pen-and-paper test organised by the US-based College Board. Shutterstock

Students who wish to pursue undergraduate courses, especially in countries like the US and Canada, write SAT
The test has been developed to assess a candidate’s verbal, mathematical and writing skills

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is an admission test for undergraduate college programmes at institutions and business schools around the world. Indian students typically write the test as they see admission to bachelor's programmes or undergraduate diploma programmes at US and Canadian colleges.

Who conducts SAT


SAT is a standardised exam conducted by the College Board, a private and not-for-profit association headquartered in New York, US. Founded in 1900, College Board aims to expand access to higher education.

What is SAT

Students who wish to pursue undergraduate courses, especially in countries like the US and Canada, write SAT. The exam has been developed to assess the applicant's verbal, mathematical and writing skills.

Eligibility criteria for SAT

For candidates willing to appear for SAT, the College Board, which is SAT’s governing body, has not set any clear SAT eligibility rules.

  • While there are no age restrictions, studies have shown that candidates aged 17–19 years are among the most likely to write and succeed in doing well in SAT.

  • There is no limit to how many times an individual can appear for SAT, which is administered five times a year in India.

  • To advance to the next stage of their study, students who intend to apply for undergraduate studies overseas need to finish their high school education.

Structure of SAT

SAT consists of three sections:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing and language
  3. Maths

Number of questions:

There are a total of 154 questions. The subject-wise question allocation is given below.

  • Reading - 52 questions
  • Writing and language - 44 questions
  • Maths - 58 questions

Question types

The majority of the questions are multiple choice, although certain maths questions require you to write in the solution rather than choosing it.

Mode of the exam

It is a pen-and-paper test.

Duration of the test

SAT is a three-hour test (180 minutes).

  • Reading - 65 minutes
  • Writing and language - 35 minutes
  • Maths - 80 minutes

SAT scores

Each portion of SAT (reading, mathematical skills and writing) is graded on a scale of 200 to 800 points, with a total score of 2400 achievable.

On the writing part, students receive two subscores: a multiple-choice score of 20 to 80 and an essay score of two to 12.

On a scale of 400 to 1600, the SAT is graded. On a 200-800 scale, you'll receive one score for Maths and another for Verbal, with the latter including both Reading, Writing and Language parts. Adding them up gives you your overall score.

The 200-800 range is the one that universities are most concerned about.

Importance of SAT

It is important to know that SAT is not the most essential element in college admission. The most essential criteria are your grades and coursework.

However your standardised test scores are likely to be the first thing college admission officers see in your application, which means that if your scores are in the middle 50% or higher than that school's admitted students' scores, you have a much better chance of getting into the school.

What are SAT subject tests

SAT subject assessments are one-hour content-based tests that allow students to demonstrate their abilities in certain subject areas.

Students can differentiate themselves in the college admission process or convey a strong statement about their willingness to study specific majors or programmes in the college by writing SAT Subject Tests. Such tests, when combined with other admission credentials, give a college admission officer a more complete view of a student's academic background and interests.

How do you register for SAT

The College Board offers online registration for SAT and SAT Subject Tests. The registration deadline is around four weeks before the test date, although students are urged to register well in advance to assure a seat at their preferred test centre.

Without a valid passport, students in India are unable to write SAT. You need a valid passport on the day of the test before registering.

Passports that have expired or letters from the Passport Office stating that the passport is being processed are not acceptable. Only students who arrive at the test centre with a valid passport are allowed to write the exam.

Schedule of SAT

In India, SAT is held five times a year. March, May, August, October, and December are the most common months for the test.

How many times a student can take the SAT

The College Board has placed no restrictions on students writing the test. You can write the exam as many times as you wish.

How much does it cost

SAT costs US$ 104 (approximately Rs 8,064), which includes the regional charge. The SAT Topic Test fee is US$26 (around Rs 2,018), plus $22 (about Rs 1,708) registration fees for each subject, plus a regional fee of US$49 (approximately Rs 3,804) in India.

Last updated on 22 May 2022
11:32 AM
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