Current Date:August 11, 2022

SAT: Your gateway to higher education in USA and Canada

Are you a student aspiring to study in a foreign university? If so, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, commonly known as ‘SAT’, is the key to admission in multiple North American academic institutions.

The SAT is a standardized aptitude test designed to evaluate school students seeking admission in undergraduate courses in many US and Canadian universities and colleges. However, the SAT score is just one among the multiple factors that will decide your admissions. The academic institutions will also consider your school GPA, academic transcript, letters of recommendation (LoR), interviews and personal essays. 

Why SAT?

SAT opens a wide window of opportunities for students planning to study abroad. Almost all American and Canadian universities accept SAT scores as a part of their undergraduate admission process.

SAT scores help admission officers make fair and informed decisions. A student’s SAT grade acts as a reliable predictor of academic success in undergraduate studies.

Reports say that over 2.1 million students attended SAT in 2018, compared with 1.7 million in 2017. The number increases considerably every year.

If you dream of studying in an American or Canadian university, start preparing for SAT early.

A higher secondary certificate from school alone will not qualify you for admission to an undergraduate program abroad. As a non-native English speaker, you will also be required to produce English language proficiency proof. You can do this by taking tests such as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

What does the SAT test evaluate?
The SAT structure can be broadly divided into three sections

  1. Math
  2. Reading, and
  3. Writing and Language

There is a fourth but optional section called the Essay. But some colleges require this. In this section, students read a passage and explain how the reader is building an argument, and support it with evidence from the passage. Students are not scored on this essay.

SubjectDuration (minutes)QuestionsEvaluationScore range
Math80Calculator allowed for 37 questionsCalculator not allowed for 20 questionsMost of the questions are multiple choice questions, except for a few — called grid-ins — which call for students to find the answerProblem-solving and data analysis‘The Heart of Algebra’‘Passport to Advanced Math’200-800
Reading6552 multiple-choice questionsUnderstanding of passages from the US and world literature, History/Social studies, and sciences 200-800 (combined with Writing section)
Writing and Language3544 multiple-choice questions‘Expression of Ideas’ and ‘Standard English Conventions’ through passages on careers, history/social studies, humanities and science 200-800 (combined with Reading section)
Essay (optional)50 One optional essayStudents have to evaluate an argument through analysing evidencenot scored
Total3 hours (with optional 50 minutes)154 questions1600

Reading your SAT score

Combined Reading & Writing, and Mathematics.

The two sections are scored on a 200-800 point scale, with a maximum total score of 1,600. The scores reflect how a student has performed compared with other students who attended the test.

An average SAT score is around 1,000. Anything above 1,200 is considered good. The maximum score any student can grab in SAT is the perfect 1,600. 

How to register for the SAT?

You can register for the SAT test online via the website You can create an account on the website which will help you register for SAT.

The account will also help you to access various other SAT-related services such as checking test centre assignments, receiving and sending SAT scores, applying online to colleges, printing admission tickets, viewing scores, adding schools to college list, searching for college scholarships profile and receiving e-mail reminders.

FEE structure

As much as SAT seems attractive, you should also be aware that it is an equally expensive program. You can access the details of the test fees, in US dollars, from the official website.

How to prepare for SAT

The official SAT Study Guide is published by the US College Board. It provides information on various approaches to test-taking, eight practice tests, sample essays, and prompts.

You can also order other official publications such as Official Study Guide for all Subject Tests, College Handbook, The College Board Book of Majors, and Getting Financial Aid when you register for SAT on the website.

The College Board also provides Whereas, the SAT online course that offers practice tests, interactive instructions, and explanation of answers are also available for access.

The official SAT practice test is available on the website And the SAT Subject Test Preparation Booklet can be downloaded free of cost. 

Nuggets for success

Students should start preparing for SAT well in advance and with considerable seriousness. How can you do that?

  • The maximum number of practice tests to get familiar with the test structure and the mistakes you are prone to make
  • Careful management of time
  • Read through test instructions thoroughly
  • Select questions you are sure of and do not waste time on questions that you find tough

How can you score high point in Reading and Writing sections

  • Good proficiency in the English language
  • Read English newspapers, magazines, and books of quality
  • Listen to news and debates on television
  • Frequently refer dictionary and update your vocabulary
  • Learn grammar


SAT test results are generally released any time after 13 days after the test date and can be viewed online. Those who attempted the SAT Essay can get their Essay score within five days of receiving the SAT score. Students can send their SAT scores to colleges of their choice. They can also cancel the score or choose to withhold the score from being sent to certain colleges. The SAT scores are valid for five years.

Hard work and preparation coupled with careful application of the above-mentioned instructions in every step of preparation can help you crack the SAT and achieve a considerably good score.

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