SAT: Overview



Inside the SAT:
Getting to Know the SAT Exam



What Is The SAT?

The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is administered by the College Board. in the United States and is developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

After SAT's introduction in 1901, the name and scoring changed several times. In March 2005, the test was renamed as "SAT Reasoning Test" with changes to the test structure and the range of possible scores. This is then the “New SAT”. (By the way, do take note that some materials on the Internet may still refer to the old SAT).

One explicitly stated purpose of the SAT is to predict how students will perform academically as college freshmen. But, the more practical purpose of the SAT is to help college admissions officers make acceptance decisions, because it provides a single, standardized means of comparison. Other factors considered by the college are your academic record, your involvement in school activities, your application essay, and your letters of recommendation.



What Is New About The New SAT?

The College Board administered the new SAT for the first time in March 2005. The changes are:

Mathematics Section:

  • The content is expanded to reflect the mathematics that college-bound students typically learn during their first three years of high school.
  • Elimination of quantitative comparison questions.

Critical Reading Section:

  • Formerly called the verbal section
  • Elimination of analogies
  • Addition of paragraph and paired-paragraph reading items

Writing Section:

  • A new section consisting of multiple-choice questions and a student-produced essay.
  • Multiple-choice questions to assess understanding of how to use language in a clear, consistent manner and how to improve a piece of writing through revision and editing.
  • The student-produced essay assesses a student’s ability to develop and express ideas effectively.



What Does The New SAT Look Like?

The New SAT has 10 test sections; with 3 math sections, 3 critical reading sections, 3 writing sections and a "variable" section of either math, crtical reading or writing. Even though the variable section doesn't count toward your score, you have no way to know which is the variable section, so you must do your best on all the ten sections.

Each test section is timed to take either 10, 20 or 25 minutes. The whole test will take you 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The following table gives you an idea of what to expect.

Type of Questions Number of Questions Time allotted

Multiple choice.
Student-produced response(grid-ins).


Two 25-minute test sections and one 20-minute test section.

Critical reading
Sentence completions.
Passage-based reading.


Two 25-minute test sections and one 20-minute test section.

Identifying sentence errors.
Improving sentences.
Improving paragaraphs.
Essay writing.

1 essay

Two 25-minute test sections and one 10-minute test sections. (The essay would be one of the 25-minute section)

Except for the passage-based reading, improving paragraphs and essay, the questions are designed to get tougher as you work through a test section.




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