SAT General FAQ

Who can take the SAT?

Anyone, regardless of educational status, may take the SAT.


What does the SAT test?

The SAT measures a student’s aptitude in those disciplines required to excel in college: mathematics, reading comprehension, and writing skills.


How much does the SAT cost?

$45


Are fee waivers available and what do they cover?

Yes. They cover:

  • The fees for taking the SAT or SAT Subject Tests
  • The fees of 4 additional score reports
  • The fees involved for either the Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) or the Student Answer Service (SAS) when ordered at registration
  • Fee waivers at participating colleges
  • Discounts on the Official SAT Online Course™ if ordered during online registration

What accommodations are available for the disabled?

The College Board is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations on its tests.

To take College Board tests with accommodations, you must ensure that your school has an SSD Coordinator's Form on file with the College Board. Your school can find a blank SSD Coordinator's Form in the Resources and Tools section of the Educators SSD site.

There is one common Student Eligibility Form for all College Board tests. It is a scannable form; therefore, neither you nor your school can download and complete the copy of the form that is part of this website—it is being provided here for information purposes only. Only an original Student Eligibility Form, completed and signed in pencil, can be processed by the College Board. Copies of the Instructions for Completing the 2008-2009 Student Eligibility Form (also found in Eligibility) and the Student Eligibility Form have been sent to all schools. If your school did not receive the Instructions and Form, please ask your school to notify the College Board SSD office by telephone at (609) 771-7137 or by email at ssd@info.collegeboard.org.

Step 1

You must complete Section I of the Student Eligibility Form and forward it to your school.

Step 2

School officials complete Sections II and III and send all three sections to the College Board (detailed guidance for all sections is provided in the Instructions).

Step 3

Because the College Board process includes a thorough review of information on the Form, it takes 5 weeks from the point that the Form information is complete (and, when the College Board needs to review the disability documentation, 7 weeks from the point that the disability information is complete). Deadlines are established prior to the first test you wish to take (test dates and eligibility deadlines are on the last page of the Instructions).

Step 4

You and your school officials will receive copies of an Eligibility Letter that either identifies approved accommodations and provides a SSD Identification Number (SSD Eligibility Code), or explains why the accommodations you requested are not approved for College Board tests.

Step 5

When you register/indicate that you wish to take a College Board test with your approved accommodations, you must provide your SSD Eligibility Code. Your testing site (usually your home school for AP Exams, the PSAT/NMSQT, and some administrations of the SAT; or a national test site for most SAT administrations) will make the appropriate testing arrangements (e.g., setting; proctor; materials).

Step 6

You go to the testing site identified for your tests (either your home school or a site identified on your SAT admission ticket) and test with the accommodations.


How long is the SAT?

Total testing time is 3 hours and 45 minutes, not including breaks, check-in and pre-administration. The time spent at the testing center will come to approximately 5 hours. You should be at the center from 7:45AM until between 12:30-1:00PM.


Does the difficulty of the SAT vary across administrations?

Any nominal differential in difficulty that exists across tests is prevented from affecting score equivalences by a statistical process called “equating”.


Is the entire test multiple choice?

No. There is also a 25-minute essay and 10 mathematics “grid-in” questions in which students generate a response and enter it via a grid, usually present in the second math section.


How do the SAT and Subject Tests differ?

Yes. The SAT measures reasoning ability and general knowledge acquired in school. The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour tests that measure knowledge in a specific subject.


Should I take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests first?

Most students take the SAT once at the beginning of their junior year in high school and then again in their senior year. Because the SAT Subject Tests are specialized, it is recommended that students take them upon completing the relevant coursework, which may occur as early as the freshman or sophomore year.


Which tests should I take?

This largely depends on which schools in intend to submit applications as it varies between institutions.


When are test dates and registration deadlines?

The most up to date SAT dates can be found at the College Board's Website.