Overview of SAT

The SAT is a standardized test used for college admissions at most institutions in the United States, and in many other countries as well. SAT originally stood for "Scholastic Aptitude Test," but it is now generally known only by its acronym. The test is owned and administered by the College Board, which is a "mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity." As a general introduction to the SAT, please have a look at the following topics: 

  • SAT Basics
    This page discusses general information about the SAT, including purpose, perception, and comparison with the ACT. Also covered are the SAT's role in college acceptance, correlations between SAT scores and student performance in college, and basic information about SAT scoring. Detailed comparison with the ACT centers on the two tests' content, the advantages of each test, and how they factor into college admissions.
  • The New SAT in 2023 and beyond
    While the underlying content of the SAT will not change much in 2023, there are significant changes associated with aspects of taking the exam that students need to be aware of. Specifically, the exam is going digital, with the new format being available to international students in 2023 and U.S. students in 2024. The exam has also been shortened from roughly three hours down to two hours. There will be an embedded graphing calculator, and a calculator will be permitted for use on the entire math section. Reading passages will be shorter, and overall there will be more time between questions and sections. This page covers the major changes to the test, the reasons for these changes, and how they impact student preparation.
  • SAT Administration and Test
    This page provides a summary of the issues associated with how the test is given. Students can find information on when the test is offered, how taking the SAT multiple times affects performance, major policies in the test's administration, available accommodations and required procedures for disabled students, and College Board policies on academic honesty. In order to ensure a smooth experience when taking the SAT, students should become familiar with all relevant policies to avoid registration problems or cancellation of scores.
  • SAT Administration and Technology
    Information about the use of technology in the administering of the SAT can be found on this page. The SAT is still a test that is taken in paper-and-pencil format, although it will be available in digital form for international students beginning in 2023 and U.S. students beginning in 2024. This page offers students information on gaining registration information about the SAT, learning about College Board policies on using technology while taking the SAT, assessing available SAT technology for disabled students, and getting all relevant information on the use of technology while preparing for the SAT.
  • SAT Scores
    This page includes a brief overview of SAT scoring. It covers the complex scoring system instituted during the 2016 revision of the SAT, which features composite scores, section scores, test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores. Students can also find a comparison between the old scoring system and the new, a summary of the reasons for making the essay optional, a discussion of scoring procedures for the 2016 SAT, and a consideration of continued criticisms of the SAT as an assessment.
  • SAT History
    This page covers the history of the SAT from its inception through the latest version, last revised in 2016 but set to undergo further changes beginning in 2023. Students can learn about how and why the SAT was created, the founding of the College Board, the association of the SAT with the IQ test and early 20th-century U.S. Army experiments, early versions of the test, the SAT's growth in use and popularity, the SAT and bias, and some of the most consequential revisions to the SAT over the years. SAT history shows the test to be responsive to innovations in pedagogical theory, various types of popular criticism, and competition from other standardized tests, especially the ACT.
  • SAT versus PSAT
    A comparison of the PSAT and the SAT can be found on this page, which includes general information about the PSAT, its association with the National Merit Scholarship, the administration and function of the PSAT, and the comparative difficulty levels of the two tests. Also discussed are the history of the PSAT from its establishment in 1959 to the present day, the relevance of the PSAT to SAT preparation, revisions to the PSAT as a result of criticism and competition, published research on PSAT performance and its validity as a predictor of SAT scores, and differing viewpoints on the PSAT's value as an instrument of SAT preparation.
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