What is the SAT Test?

A complete overview of the SAT test. Learn about what the SAT is, its key components, and how that affects your college admission.

Many students who plan to apply to American universities have a hard time deciding between taking the SAT or the ACT. If you're a high school student thinking of taking the SAT and wondering how to prepare for it, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we will explain this important test and help you understand what it means, what it tests, and how to do well.

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What is the SAT Test?

The SAT is a standardized test developed and published by the College Board. It measures your skills in analyzing and solving problems related to reading, writing, language, and math. College admissions officers use your SAT score to help determine how prepared you are for college. The test is accepted by over 4,000 higher learning institutions in countries around the world.

The Structure of the SAT

You'll take the official SAT test online on the Bluebook app. The test is divided into four sections: Reading and Writing Module 1, Reading and Writing Module 2, Math Module 1, and Math Module 2. The number of questions for each section and the time allotted are as follows:

SectionsReading and Writing Module 1Reading and Writing Module 2Math Module 1Math Module 2
Test Time (min)32323535

Starting in 2023, the SAT has shifted from a paper-and-pencil test to a digital test. This will bring important changes to the test format, so it is important for you to understand the changes following the Digital SAT transition.

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What Does the SAT Test You On?

Reading and Writing

The SAT Reading and Writing section evaluates your skills in comprehending, analyzing, and reasoning with texts. You'll need to understand both explicit and implicit information, including accompanying charts and graphs. The section also tests your ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, and integrate information from the given texts. Additionally, you'll demonstrate your vocabulary, analysis, synthesis, and reasoning skills by understanding academic words and phrases in context and making connections between related texts. You'll also apply editing skills to ensure that the text follows the conventions of Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.


In the Math Section, you'll work on interpreting, creating, and solving problems using linear and nonlinear equations. You'll need skills in quantitative reasoning, data analysis, and geometric problem-solving. Topics include linear relationships, absolute value, quadratic, exponential, polynomial, rational, and radical equations. You'll also explore percentages, proportional relationships, ratios, rates, and units. Analyzing data distributions, calculating measures like mean, median, range, and standard deviation, and understanding connections between linear and exponential growth will be important to know. Additionally, you'll solve problems involving length, area, volume, scale factors, congruence, similarity, triangles, and circles.

Your SAT Score

The Reading and Writing section is scored on a scale ranging from 200 to 800 points. Similarly, the Math section is also scored on a scale ranging from 200 to 800 points. Therefore, your overall SAT score will be calculated by combining the scores from these two sections, resulting in a total score ranging from 400 to 1600 points.

According to the College Board, the average SAT score in 2021 was 1060. A score of 1200 will put you in the top 25%, and a score of 1350 would be in the top 10%. Some schools provide guidance on the range of scores they expect from their freshman students, so if you have a few schools in mind, you can look up what score you should target.

While the SAT may seem difficult, it's important to remember that it's just one part of your college application. With proper preparation and a clear understanding of what the test covers, you can feel confident and perform your best on test day.

If you're looking for additional resources to help you prepare for the SAT, whether it’s digital or paper, R.test is here to help you. We hope this article has helped you gain a better understanding of what the SAT is, what it tests, and how to prepare for success. Good luck on your test!

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