Students may take the SAT as frequently as they want and need to. Official SAT test dates vary slightly from year-to-year, but we generally recommend that students take the test up to three times throughout their Junior year of high school:
Testing multiple times allows students to set goals for themselves leading up to each test date, and to then revisit those goals and adjust their study plan accordingly each time they take the test. It also allows students to become more comfortable with the testing environment.
The SATis a 4-part test that lasts approximately 3 hours and includes one 5 to 10-minute break.
The four multiple-choice sections include:
Reading (52 questions, 65 minutes)
Writing & Language (44 questions, 35 minutes)
Math – No Calculator (20 questions, 25 minutes)
Math – With Calculator (38 questions, 55 minutes)
The SAT is designed to test students on concepts that they have learned throughout their high school career. This includes:
Grammar, mechanics, rhetoric, and style for the Writing and Language test
Math through Algebra 2 (along with some Trigonometry) for the Math test
Reading comprehension and analysis skills across a variety of genres for the Reading test
Data analysis in parts of the Reading test
Preparing for the SAT therefore does not require students to learn a significant number of new concepts; instead, students must continually review and reinforce their knowledge and skills based on their individual strengths and weaknesses, while also gaining familiarity and comfort with the test structure (including its format and timing).
For each of the four multiple-choice sections on the SAT, the student’s raw score is converted into a “Scale Score” from 200 to 800. The sum of the student’s scale score from each section results in their overall SAT score, or composite score, from 400 to 1600.
A total score of 1000 to 1100 places students in the 40th-58th percentile national, but many selective colleges look for students who have scored in the the top 5% (1400 or above). It is very important for students to pay attention to the median SAT scores of admitted students for the colleges they are interested in so that they can set their score goals accordingly.