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What is Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

  • SAT is a computer adaptive test used for admission after school to international Universities and Colleges. SAT duration is 3 hours (3 hours 50 minutes with an optional essay) excluding breaks. It is globally accepted and recognised.

  • Educational institutions especially in the US ask students studying in class 11th and 12th for SAT scores as a college entrance exam. Test scores remain valid for 5 years.

  • SAT has four sections: Mathematics, Reading, Writing & Language, and Essay (which is optional but we suggest you write one as many admission committees may ask for essays).

Each individual has his own style of learning and a neural network that processes information differently. We at Career Guru understand that you need a personalised SAT solution suited to your aptitude and learning style. We will provide you with the best training package that fits in tightly with how you learn best, delivered by the very best instructors who have been trained rigorously and themselves undergo strict supervision and testing. Career Guru will assess you for your learning style, so that what you decide works Best for you. Focused individual attention is ensured by keeping our batches small and targeted. We also offer a SAT Pro format of training, which is like a crunch course and especially designed for high achievers who are targeting top colleges and universities, or if you have a basic understanding but want to quickly improve your performance on the SAT. This can also be done on a one-on-one basis for maximum performance. This is the most effective format as it ensures personalised training.

SAT Training will involve an exclusive or combination model of In-Class learning, Online Prep, Online Tutoring, Online Mock Testing, or Peer Shared Learning. Needless to say that you will always have access to your study material – anywhere in the world! The training material is sharply focused, matching the exact structure of the SAT test. It is designed to accurately target specific areas, along with building speed, which you need to ace the SAT. Our expert instructors will take you through all official reading material, aptitude tests based on the course structure handed out by SAT, thousands of questions, online mock tests, practice drills, simulations, and revision lessons. Instructors will share nuggets of wisdom that they have developed over years of training SAT students along with tricks and tips that will give you speed and validity.

Learning is incomplete without in-depth analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, both at an individual and relative level, and extensive feedback that is personalised to your learning style. Goal is to make you achieve your best potential and our instructors along with counsellors work extra hard to ensure that. We understand that our success is directly tied in with your success. You will have extensive resources at your command to aid your learning process – recorded training material, tutoring, detailed analysis with the score report, and feedback correction sessions – as many as you would like.

SAT Structure

Evidence Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) READING 52 65 minutes 200 to 800
WRITING & LANGUAGE 44 35 minutes
(No Calculator)
20 25 minutes 200 to 800
(Yes Calculator)
38 55 minutes
Essay Optional 1 50 minutes 2 to 8
Total 4
(5 with Essay)
( 155 with Essay)
( 230 with essay)
400 to 1600
(excluding Essay)

SAT Sections

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) Section:

  • The EBRW has 109 questions to be answered in 100 minutes. This is divided into a two-part test – Reading, and Writing & Language test.

  • The EBRW section score ranges from 200 – 800, with Reading score and Writing & Language score ranging from 10 to 40.

  • EBRW also reports sub-scores for Evidence, Words in Context, Expression of ideas and Standard English Conventions with test scores ranging from 1 to 15.

  • All questions in this section are multiple-choice questions, based on passage.

Reading Section:

  • You are required to answer 52 questions from 5 passages, selected from published work in the fields of literature, science, social science, humanities etc, each followed by MCQs, in 65 minutes. Passages may include information presented as statistical representation – bar charts, histograms, pie-charts etc. Reading test is the first and the longest test in SAT. This section is targeted at assessing reading and contextualisation skills and the ability to analyse data.

The Writing and Language Section:

  • The WLS consists 4 passages, each followed by 11 MCQs – total of 44 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. Graphs, charts, and pictorial representation of the text (at least 2 passages) are included. WLS is designed to test grammar, usage, rhetoric, and style of students as it applies to English as a Language.

Math Section:

  • Maths has a total of 58 questions (divided into 2 sections – with and without Calculator) to be answered in 80 minutes, with score ranging between 200 – 800.

  • Test Score for Math is reported ranging from 10 to 40 with sub section scores reported for Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis and Passport to Advanced Math, scores ranging between 1 to 15. This section also tests students on Geometry, Trigonometry, and Complex Numbers.

  • Most questions are MCQs. Math also has a handful of student-produced response questions known as Grid In questions.

  • No-Calculator Section has 20 questions to be answered in 25 minutes out of which 15 are MCQs and 5 Grid-In questions.

  • With Calculator section has 38 questions, 30 MCQs and 8 grid-in type, to be answered in 55 minutes.

Essay Section:

  • Now optional, a 50-minute section, requires analytic evaluation of a given text designed to assess language, reasoning, style and rhetoric understanding. Essays are graded by two readers (on a 2 – 8 point scale each) for Reading, Writing, and Analysis skills.

SAT Scores

Scores are released on certain pre-determined score release dates and available online. Educators can also access scores online. Students who register by mail and don’t have an online account with College Board receive paper score reports. Scores are reported in absolute total as well in percentiles to indicate relative performance.

SAT Subject Tests

There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, Languages, History, Mathematics and Science, taken to highlight individual excellence and subject command to gain competitive advantage in the admission process. You can only take upto 3 subjects, though colleges usually do not require more than two. They are one hour long and are scored per subject on a scale of 200-800. It sends a strong message to support your application in addition to SAT scores about your passion for a specific major, degree or college. Top ranked universities may require SAT Subject Tests or place you accordingly. This could also be counted towards a credit or basic retirement fulfilment. Remember Subject Tests are high school level tests, different from Advanced Placement Exams that are college level tests.

SAT Scoring

The test is divided into two sections: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (EBRW), and Maths, scored on a scale of 200-800 with a maximum possible score of 1600. Subscores and insight scores are scored and reported separately. Scores would also be given for the essay if opted. There is no negative marking for wrong or missed questions. Raw scores are converted into a scaled score through ‘equating’.

Sections Component Time Allotted (min.) Number of Questions/Tasks
1 Reading 65 52
2 Writing and Language 35 44
3 Math (No Calculator) 25 20 (15 multiple choice and 5 Grid-in questions)
4 Math (Calculator) 55 38 (30 multiple choice and 8 Grid-in questions)
5 Essay (optional) 50 1
Total 180 (230 with Essay) 154 (155 with Essay)

Make Sense of your SAT Score:

Another test, apart from SAT, which is accepted in the US and other countries for college admissions and scholarships is ACT. They are both standardised computerised tests but have some differences. Here is an analysis.

Particulars SAT ACT
Sections Reading
Writing & Language
Math (with & without calculator)
Optional Essay
Math (Calculator allowed)
Essay (optional)
Duration 3 hours (without Essay)
3 hours 50 minutes (with Essay)
2 hours, 55 minutes(without Essay)
3 hours 40 minutes (with Essay)
Score 400 – 1600
Increment of 10 points
1 – 36
Increment of 1 point
Penalty for guessing No No
Test Format Paper pencil test Paper pencil test ( within US)
Computer based test (outside US)
Test dates 4 times a year  (in India) 12 times a year
Questions Problem solving & Grid-In Problem solving
Reading section 5 passages 4 passages
English or Writing;
Language Section
4 passages 5 passages
Additional concepts tested in Math Geometry, Trigonometry, Complex numbers Advanced Trigonometry, Matrices, Logarithms
Calculator usage Scientific /Graphing calculator allowed for one section Scientific/Graphing calculator allowed for math section
Science section No For testing critical thinking skills, not science per se
Essay Optional Optional

SAT or ACT? Which one should you take?

Overall, ACT enjoys the reputation of being more straight forward than SAT. Many students report SAT to require better vocabulary and dense understanding and ACT to be heavy on Science as it has a dedicated section, though answers are almost always in the passage. SAT is believed to have more History and Social Sciences than ACT, which has a wider Math syllabus, though not necessarily tougher.

The Essay in SAT assesses students on three parameters – Reading, Analysis, and Writing and scores them separately. On the ACT, students are scored on 4 parameters – Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions, though the Essay is optional in both.

The short answer is – depends on you. Remember they are both similar tests. Some students do better on SAT, some in ACT. What matters is what floats your boat. We suggest take both at Career Guru and then decide. Try before you choose with Career Guru. Our success is bringing out the best in you.