SAT also known as the Scholastic Assessment Test, Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test used widely in the U.S. and many other countries for college admissions. SAT was introduced in 1926. Over the years, the name and scoring has changed from the original Scholastic Aptitude Test to Scholastic Assessment Test and then SAT reasoning test and finally; SAT which has stuck to date.
The SAT is owned & published by a private non-profit U.S. organization known as the College Board. The SAT is however developed and administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) on behalf of the College Board. The main aim of the SAT is assessing student readiness for college. The current SAT was introduced in 2005. It takes three hours and forty five minutes to finish the current SAT.
The cost is $51 in the U.S. and $91 internationally excluding late fees.
The SAT score range is 600 to 2400. The score combines results from 3 sections i.e. mathematics, critical reading and writing sections which all have a maximum score of 800 each. It is important to note that SAT doesn’t mirror the high school curriculum. The test also doesn’t measure raw verbal and mathematical abilities. The SAT is simply interested in measuring how well a person takes the test.
It is also important to note that the test is compulsory before you can gain admission in most universities in the U.S.
According to The College Board, SAT measures writing skills and literacy needed to succeed in college. The test is simply meant to assess how well SAT takers analyze as well as solve problems. The test usually has a tight time limit to produce variable scores based on speed. As a result, it is possible for brilliant students to get average scores if they are slow test takers.
The College Board goes further to state that the test alongside a high school GPA (Grade Point Average) offers a better indication of college success as opposed to using high school grades only. Numerous studies done on the SAT indicate that the score offers a better indication of college success than using high school grades only because of differences in grading, curricula, funding and difficulty among many high schools in the U.S.
The differences are due to local control, U.S. federalism as well as the prevalence of distance, private and home schooled students.
As mentioned above, SAT is made up of 3 main sections, namely critical reading, mathematics and writing. Each of these sections receives a 200-800 score. Each of the 3 main sub-sections is divided into 10 sub-sections. There is also an additional experimental or equating section that can be included in any of the 3 major sections.
The experimental or equating section is aimed at normalizing questions for future SAT administrations and doesn’t count when the final score is being calculated. SAT questions vary in difficulty, i.e. from easy, to medium and then hard depending on scores from the test’s experimental sections. Easy questions usually appear at the beginning while hard questions appear towards the end. It is however important to note that this can vary.
Lee Wei is an English teacher from Bangkok, Thailand. For information about SAT in Bangkok, visit www.languageexpress.co.th/en/sat/