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Get A Better Understanding Of The SAT Test

Jun 26, 2008
The SAT test is one of the most important tests a high school student will ever take. It is a large determinant of what college the student will get in to and a respected scale of one's intelligence and college readiness. Colleges like the SAT because it is a standardized test; individual subject grades are not as weighted due to the fact that different schools have dissimilar grading scales. The SAT will be the same wherever you take it, whether you are in Maryland or California.

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test, and was designed to be a measure of one's readiness for college. The SAT-I, or Reasoning Test, has a reading, writing, and mathematics section. The reading part comprises comprehension, critical reading, and sentence completion. The majority of the writing section is an essay, which must be completed in twenty five minutes. It also includes word choice, word usage, and a variety of grammar questions. Statistics, number operations, geometry, probability, and algebra are all included in the SAT. Fortunately for many test takers, the SAT does not include trigonometry, although that topic is part of another formal test, the ACT.

Each section of the SAT is worth 800 points, meaning the top score for the entire test is 2400 points. Each section is scored on a scale of 200-800, so the minimum score is 600, not zero. Some colleges do not take into account the writing section, and instead focus solely on the reading and math sections. In this case, the traditional 1600 point scale is utilized. It is only a matter of time before all colleges and universities acknowledge the writing section and the 2400 point scale becomes permanently widespread.

The organizational structure of the SAT is designed to prevent any cheating and make the test flow more smoothly. Everybody starts out with the 25-minute essay, and ends with another writing segment, which lasts 10 minutes. All of the sections in between, however, appear in a mixed order for different people. For example, while one person is answering reading questions, another might be on the math section. Most of the individual questions are the same on every test, as developing separate questions for every test taker would be highly inefficient (SAT designers have enough work making new questions every year).

Signing up for the SAT can be done online or through the mail. Most people nowadays do it online, as doing so expedites the process of registering. One can register online and after taking the test they can go back to the website and view their scores. It usually takes about two and a half weeks for score reports to be available on the site. About a month and a half after the test, scores are mailed out as well, so if one does not check online, they will still get their scores.

Currently, the basic fee for taking the SAT is forty five dollars. You can also opt to purchase additional services, such as being sent a list of questions and answers (which you would receive post-test, of course), or a comprehensive SAT study book. There is even an option to purchase just the answers, although why one would do that is questionable, as answers are useless without questions.
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