What is the SAT and why is it important?
The SAT, like the ACT, is a college entrance exam that students submit with their applications for college admission. Both tests claim to predict college success. Research has shown that a student’s GPA is the single most important predictor, but the SAT states that a combined GPA and SAT score offers the most reliable data for predicting college success.
The SAT is an older and, in some parts of the country, preferred college prep test. Colleges on the East and West coast have favored it in the past. However, the tide has shifted, and both college prep tests are currently accepted by every college in the United States. The ACT remains the preferred test in the Midwest.
How does the SAT differ from the ACT?
The two tests are constructed differently, though both evaluate reading, language, math, and writing. The SAT incorporates more inferential level questions than the ACT. For example, the evidenced based reading test includes questions that require students to cite textual evidence for their answers. Dr. Moss, a baseball fan, refers to the SAT as a curved ball and the ACT as a straight ball. Dr. Chippendale believes the ACT is easier to coach than the SAT because its content is more straightforward and thus more predictable. On the other hand, the SAT is a more varied and interesting test. The ACT is more closely aligned with the classroom curriculum than the SAT. The four required tests on the ACT include English, Math, Reading, and Science. The writing portion of the ACT is also optional.
What is the content of the SAT?
Evidence Based SAT Reading Test
- 52 multiple choice questions
- 65 minutes
Evidence Based SAT Writing & Language Test
- 44 multiple choice questions
- 35 minutes
SAT Math Test
- 48 multiple choice questions (includes both calculator and no calculator sections)
- 70 minutes
SAT Writing Test (optional)
- 1 question
- 50 minutes
How is the SAT scored?
The SAT no longer deducts points for incorrect answers, so it is important to fill every bubble.
SAT scores range from 400 to 1600.
- Evidence based reading and writing: 200-800
- Math: 200-800
The SAT also breaks scores into cross-test scores and sub-scores.
When is the SAT given?
2020-2021 SAT Test Dates
- August 29th, 2020
- September 7th, 2020
- October 3rd, 2020
- November 7th, 2020
- December 5th, 2020
- March 13th, 2021
- May 8th, 2021
- June 5th, 2021