Overview of the SAT

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized exam used by many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to help them make their admissions decisions. The test is developed and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the College Entrance Examination Board. The SAT tests verbal and mathematical reasoning skills — your ability to understand what you read, to use language effectively, to reason clearly, and to apply fundamental mathematical principles to unfamiliar problems.

Format of the SAT

The SAT is about three-hour, mostly multiple-choice examination divided into sections. One of the sections is experimental. Your score on the other nonexperimental sections is the score colleges use to evaluate your application.

The critical reading sections of the SAT use Sentence Completions to measure your knowledge of the meanings of words and your understanding of how parts of sentences go together, and Critical Reading questions (short and long passages) to measure your ability to read and think carefully about the information presented in passages.

The mathematical sections use Standard Multiple-Choice Math, Quantitative Comparisons, and Student-Produced Response Questions to test your knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Many of the formulas that you need will be given in the test instructions. You are not required to memorize them. SAT math questions are designed to test your skill in applying basic math principles you already know to unfamiliar situations.

The experimental section of SAT may test critical reading or mathematical reasoning, and it can occur at any point during the test. This section is used solely by the testmakers to try out questions for use in future tests. You won’t know which section it is. Therefore, you’ll have to do your best on all of the sections.

Surely you need to be familiar with the test format in order to ace the SAT. This can be achieved successfully by preparing yourself before the test.

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