Everything you need to know about the SAT

Written By: Cudy

22nd March 2021

What are the SATs?

The SATs (or “Standardized Achievement Tests”) are a series of exams. This has developed by the College Board and administered to students in the United States.

The SATs has three sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.

Each section hass scored on a scale of 200-800, for a total composite score out of 2400. This is one of the major factors colleges use to evaluate prospective students.

Are SATs required?

Some universities may not require you to submit SAT scores as part of your application. However, it is better if you do so. The score you receive on these tests can dramatically affect your chances of admission at some schools.

As such, it is critical that you prepare as though they would required for every school on your list.

For more information about how each university handles its own admissions requirements (including SAT scores).

We recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

What do SAT scores mean?

SAT scores range from 400 to 1600. Each section is scored on a scale of 200-800 (Critical Reading: 200-800; Mathematics: 200-800; Writing: 200-800). The average score for 2017 was 1026, and the average score for the class of 2017 was 1464.

How many times do I have to take the SATs?

The answer depends upon the colleges you are applying to. Whether or not your scores are high enough to be competitive.

In general, most colleges will want you to take the test.

At least once during your junior year, with a strong preference for scores earned closer to your high school graduation date.

Some schools might even require you to take the test more than once. Especially if you are applying late into the cycle.

If you find yourself struggling with a specific section of the exam or finding that your score is not indicative of your true ability, it may be in your best interest to retake it before applying.

For more information on how each school handles its admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

You can also view our Test Scores Guide for more information about what your scores mean and how to interpret them.

What should my score goal be?

This is a difficult question to answer, since the answer depends on a number of factors.

While no one can definitively tell you your goal score, our consultants can work with you to set reasonable expectations for improvement based on your current performance and desired schools.

For more information about how each school handles its own admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

You can also view our Test Scores Guide for more information about what your scores mean and how to interpret them.

Do I need to take the SATs if I’m applying Early Action? When are the SATs required?

Yes, all students must submit standardized test scores as part of their application for admission to Stanford under the Regular Decision process.

In general, this means that you will need to take the SAT by December of your junior year and send those scores to Stanford by January 1st of your senior year (i.e., January 1st is the deadline for submitting all standardized test scores with your application).

Applying Early Action gives you a choice—you may either complete this process in one October sitting or split it into two sessions (October and December).

Either is perfectly acceptable, but you must take the October test and send scores for Early Action.

What if my scores aren’t high enough?

If your scores are not competitive with those of other applicants admitted to your desired schools, we can help you retake the exam or choose schools that will be more receptive to your academic portfolio.

For more information about how each school handles its own admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

You can also view our Test Scores Guide for more information about what your scores mean and how to interpret them.

How do I know if my scores are competitive?

There is no magic number that will guarantee admission. However, we can help you set a competitive goal based on your current performance and desired schools.

For more information about how each school handles its own admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

How do I send SAT scores to the colleges?

The SATs are sent directly from the College Board to each college (by name). For more information about how each school handles.

its own admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

You can also view our Test Scores Guide for more information about what your scores mean and how to interpret them.

Do I need to send scores from all three sections of the SAT?

No, you only need to submit scores from one sitting or session. However, most schools will use your best section score across all three sections.

So it is in your best interest to retake the exam if you find yourself struggling with a specific section.

For more information about how each school handles its own admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

You can also view our Test Scores Guide for more information about what your scores mean and how to interpret them.

Is it true that ACTs are easier than SATs? Do I really need both?

There is a common misconception that the ACT is easier than the SAT because of its multiple-choice format.

While this may be true for the Math section, the ACT is still considered a more difficult test overall because it features more rigorous reading passages and science sections.

In reality, both tests have their own strengths and weaknesses. The SAT is better at testing your math skills; the ACT is better at testing your writing skills (especially in the essay portion).

For this reason, you can never truly say that one exam “is easier” than the other.

Ultimately, students who are applying to schools that value standardized testing will find it advantageous to take both exams.

What are SAT Subject Tests?

These are individual tests in specific subject areas (history, literature, mathematics, science, and foreign language) developed by the College Board.

Like SATs themselves, Subject Tests are a series of exams administered to middle school and high school students in the United States each year.

The results of these tests serve as supplemental evidence regarding your academic ability in a given subject area.

Each school may have slightly different requirements for submitting Subject Tests results with your application.

However, most schools will require you to submit at least 3-5 Subject Test scores (typically one or two from each content area).

It is important to note that while many schools will not require you to submit scores from all subject areas. Some will take a Subject Test score into consideration even if you do not submit it.

For more information about how each school handles its own admissions requirements (including test scores). We recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

How many Subject Tests do I need?

Each school has its own requirements regarding the number of Subject Test scores it will accept with your application. Some schools may require a minimum of 3-4 Subject Tests, while others will accept as many as 5-6 (or more).

For more information about how each school handles its own admissions requirements (including test scores), we recommend visiting their respective websites or contacting an admissions counselor directly.

You can also view our Test Scores Guide for more information about what your scores mean and how to interpret them.

Cudy is an online marketplace where you can find the best tutors to assist you in preparing for university entrance exams and improving your grades. The tutor will help you with any topic you’re having trouble with. Cudy also has tutors from the world’s best universities, so you don’t have to worry about their reliability.


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