The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized test created by the College Board that most colleges and universities use to evaluate incoming students. Schools use the test to evaluate college readiness in applicants, alongside their high school GPA, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities.
The test is offered October through January, and in March, May, June, and August each year. It is comprised of a combined reading/writing section and a math section, each scored out of 800 points. The revised essay section is graded separately. The new test format emphasizes context of vocabulary, scientific reasoning, and your ability to form logical arguments in the reading section. The test evaluates the logic of your ideas and punctuation skills on the writing section, while data analysis and real world problem solving are crucial in the math section.
When is the SAT?
Late Registration Deadline (online or by phone)
May 5, 2018
April 6, 2018
April 25, 2018
June 2, 2018
May 3, 2018
May 23, 2018
August 25, 2018
July 27, 2018
August 15, 2018
October 6, 2018
September 7, 2018
September 26, 2018
November 3, 2018
October 5, 2018
October 24, 2018
December 1, 2018
November 2, 2018
November 20, 2018
NOTE: SAT subject tests are not available in March. Students preparing for the SAT should make note of the dates and deadlines. Deadlines also vary depending on registration method.
Where is the SAT taken?
The SAT is given at approved testing sites across the country and internationally.
The cost of the SAT exam is $46; if taken with the optional essay segment, it’s $60.
Are fee waivers available?
Fee waivers are available for low-income 11th and 12th grade students who meet established criteria. The waiver covers up to two SAT test fees and two SAT subject test fees.
Are there accommodations for students with disabilities?
Certain accommodations are made to help students with disabilities, including extended testing time, extended breaks, and visual and reading aid. The College Board must approve all accommodations.
Can I retake the test?
The test can be taken as many times as you want! You should try to take the test 2-3 times, repeating only if you still feel that you need to improve your first score.
What does the SAT cover?
The new SAT covers basic core skills in reading, writing, and math, emphasizing logical reasoning and practical problem solving and analytical skills. It tests skills students should develop in high school.
What are the SAT subject tests?
SAT subject tests focus on specific disciplines. Subject tests are offered in history, math, science, languages, and English.
Who takes the subject tests and why?
Some schools require SAT subject tests for applicants interested in specific programs. These tests also demonstrate proficiency in language for foreign students, and in some cases, your scores can be used for credit or to test out of introductory courses.
The new SAT test format marks a return to the traditional two-part format, with an optional essay. The change comes from the College Board’s desire to make the test more fair and transparent, moving away from singular test-taking skills and instead giving students a chance to demonstrate higher-level logical reasoning and analytical skills. The test is more focused on students’ understanding of concepts in context (evidence-based questions) and follows a simplified format, with fewer questions relying on testing “tricks”.
SAT PRIOR TO JANUARY 2016
NEW SAT AFTER MARCH 2016
Total test time: 3 hrs 45 min, Scored from 600 to 2400, No sub score reporting
3 hrs plus 50 min for essay, Scored from 400 to 1600, Includes sub score reporting
Sections: critical reading, writing, math, and essay
Evidence-based reading and writing section combined, math, and optional essay
Essay required: given at the start of the test and required 25 minutes to complete
Essay optional: Colleges to determine if students require the essay portion. 50 minutes allotted to writing
Students required to take a stance on a given topic
Students must provide analysis of a source text
The new evidence-based reading and writing section focuses less on defining difficult “SAT words” and instead tests your vocabulary in context. The reading section also includes more contextual material, introducing questions that build on previous questions for the first time. This focus on higher-level reasoning is a hallmark of the new test format. The logic behind this change is that it makes the test a greater evaluator of reasoning skill, and evens the playing field by eliminating questions based on rote knowledge.
The new reading section will also includes data analysis questions for the first time, relating reading context to visual representations. The new math section emphasizes practical problems, along with graph and data analysis, focusing less on geometrical and abstract questions. Algebraic question formats have been simplified, though some math problems will be multi-part questions requiring a nuanced understanding of math concepts. Overall, there will be four choices on the multiple choice sections instead of five. This simplifies the test by eliminating obvious wrong answers.
Additional Changes to the SAT Sections
New Math Section
Small percentage of Trigonometry problems
Real world scenarios
Less geometry and shapes
80 minutes total
58 questions total
45 multiple choice problems
13 student-provided answer problems
Two math sections
Calculator not allowed on one math section
One “extended thinking” problem worth 4 points
New Evidence-based Reading & Writing Section
65 min for reading, 35 min for writing and language
52 questions for reading
10 to 11 questions per passage
Some tables and graphs included for reading questions
Vocabulary tested in context in both reading and writing sections
One writing sections with 44 questions
More punctuation questions
Data interpretation on the writing section
Computer testing is available to students with disabilities. College Board approval is required and students should note that approval can take up to seven weeks; if you know you need additional assistance, register early. While you can use word processing for the essay, you may not use a computer for multiple choice questions. Other types of computer assisted programs must be individually approved by the college board when a request is submitted (i.e. for screen readers, or other assistive apps). If a computer assisted test is approved, the computer must be school-owned and all spell-check, cut and paste, and other predictive writing assistance features must be disabled.
Students eligible to use a computer include those with physical disabilities that impair their ability to write, students with dysgraphia, and those with severe language-based learning disorders. Computer assistance is not provided for bad spellers or students with poor handwriting.
The SAT Going Online
In the near future, will high school seniors taking the SAT replace their no. 2 pencils with a mouse? Most likely, yes.
The SAT is now available online. Currently, the rollout of the digital version numbers in the thousands: Approximately 5,000 students took the SAT online during the 2016-17 school year (about 1.8 million seniors took the test at least once in 2017). Two decades of K-12 digital literacy, the prevalence of online assessment, and the College Board’s partnership with AIR Assessment suggest computer-based testing for the SAT will become the norm.
How Does the Online SAT Work?
Aside from how students take the test, the online and paper-based SAT are the same. The three test sections — reading (52 questions), writing and language (35 questions), and math (58 questions) — as well as the time allotted for each remain identical. Also, like the paper version, the online version allows pencil use and scratch paper. Three slight differences between the two: The digital SAT allows students to highlight passages, a virtual countdown clock keeps students aware of time, and test-takers can bookmark items to return to later.
Students take the digital SAT in designated controlled settings and on school-owned computers. They receive two breaks during the test, after the reading and part of the math sections. Students who opt to take the essay portion have an additional two minutes to stretch at their desks after completing the entire math portion.
To account for and counter technical glitches, the digital SAT testing platform uses redundancies and diagnostics to inform schools of network health. Once complete, tests transfer directly to the College Board processing center for grading and analysis. The registration fee for the SAT is the same, regardless of format: $47.50 without the essay and $64.50 with the essay.
Sometime in the future, the online SAT may move toward adaptive testing, which would mark a major difference between it and its paper counterpart. With adaptive testing, each student essentially takes a different test. For each answer a student provides, the test changes: If the answer is correct, then the test moves on to a more challenging set of questions; if the answer is wrong, the test holds off on advancing the student. This type of testing can help better gauge a student’s abilities. A test-taker’s final score measures not only the correct answers, but also the particular items the student answered right or wrong.
Given that adaptive testing bases the next question on the previous answer, a student cannot skip or bookmark the item to return to later. Thus, it’s important that when test-takers are stumped on a question, they should take time to figure out the answer. While a quick guess could end up being correct, it could also lead to more difficult questions the student wasn’t yet ready for.
Breaking Down the SAT
The new SAT has two major sections: the evidence-based reading and writing section and the math section. The reading and writing portion of the test contains a 65-minute reading section that tests evidence-based logic and a 35-minute writing and language section that covers contextual word knowledge. The math section includes a 25-minute no-calculator section focusing on problem solving and data analysis and a 55-minute section where you will need a calculator for the problems.
With this general test structure in mind, students should note the specific changes in each section.
Writing and Language
The new writing section is comprised of 44 multiple choice questions that should be completed in 35 minutes. The writing section tests grammatical knowledge and allows students to think like editors by fixing mistakes in sentences and identifying grammatical errors.
Strategy and Sample Questions
Eliminating obviously incorrect answers should be your first step; if you can identify a definite wrong answer, your chance of picking the correct one increases.
A Life in Traffic
Transportation planners perform critical work within the broader field of urban and regional planning. As of 2010, there were approximately 40,300 urban and regional planners employed in the United States. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts steady job growth in this field, projecting that 16 percent of new jobs in all occupations will be related to urban and regional planning. Population growth and concerns about environmental sustainability are expected to spur the need for transportation planning professionals.
Which choice completes the underlined sentence with accurate data based on the graph?
A. NO CHANGE
B. warning, however, that job growth in urban and regional planning will slow to 14 percent by 2020.
C. predicting that employment of urban and regional planners will increase 16 percent between 2010 and 2020.
D. indicating that 14 to 18 percent of urban and regional planning positions will remain unfilled.
Dong Kingman: Painter of Cities
A 1954 documentary about renowned watercolor painter Dong Kingman shows the artist sitting on a stool on Mott Street in New York City’s Chinatown. A crowd of admiring spectators 12 watched as Kingman squeezes dollops of paint from several tubes into a tin watercolor 13 box, from just a few primary colors, Kingman creates dozens of beautiful hues as he layers the translucent paint onto the paper on his easel.
A. NO CHANGE
B. had watched
C. would watch
Read carefully and identify easily eliminable answers.
Remember that colloquial language and written language are often dissimilar. They way people speak is not necessarily grammatically correct. The test sometimes takes advantage of this and tries to trick you.
Don’t blindly guess. Try to eliminate at least one answer.
Don’t spend too much time on one question. Read it and move on. Return later if you can’t answer quickly.
Don’t go for the obvious answer, especially later in the section, where questions are designed to trip students in a rush.
The reading section requires students to complete 52 passage-based questions in 65 minutes. The section may ask test-takers to determine the meaning of words in context, to identify the main idea of a passage, or to compare two passages. New reading questions include evidence support questions, which ask student to cite evidence from a passage, and data reasoning questions, where students analyze a reading passage.
Strategy and Sample Questions
It is important for students to learn how to analyze arguments. Read plenty of traditional publications, such as a newspaper, to identify the structure behind arguments. Understanding how to read graphs will also be important in this section.
Mattie Silver had lived under Ethan’s roof for a year, and from early morning till they met at supper he had frequent chances of seeing her; but no moments in her company were comparable to those when, her arm in his, and her light step flying to keep time with his long stride, they walked back through the night to the farm.
In the context of the passage, the author’s use of the underlined phrase is primarily meant to convey the idea that:
A. Ethan and Mattie share a powerful enthusiasm.
B. Mattie strives to match the speed at which Ethan works.
C. Mattie and Ethan playfully compete with each other.
D. Ethan walks at a pace that frustrates Mattie.
Which claim about traffic congestion is supported by the graph?
A. New York City commuters spend less time annually delayed by traffic congestion than the average for very large cities.
B. Los Angeles commuters are delayed more hours annually by traffic congestion than are commuters in Washington, D.C.
C. Commuters in Washington, D.C., face greater delays annually due to traffic congestion than do commuters in New York City.
D. Commuters in Detroit spend more time delayed annually by traffic congestion than do commuters in Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago.
The nature of impeachment: a narrowly channeled exception to the separation of powers maxim. The Federal Convention of 1787 said that. It limited impeachment to high crimes and misdemeanors, and discounted and opposed the term “maladministration.” “It is to be used only for great misdemeanors,” so it was said in the North Carolina ratification convention. And in the Virginia ratification convention: “We do not trust our liberty to a particular branch. We need one branch to check the other.”
As used in line 26, “channeled” most nearly means:
Read carefully and use the process of elimination to increase your chances of choosing the correct multiple choice answer.
Be careful with multiple-part questions, as a wrong answer to one question might lead you astray on subsequent parts. Be sure there actually is evidence for your conclusion, and not just an “easy” or obvious answer. This may sometimes manifest itself as a personal bias.
Do not let personal bias cloud your judgment. Answers do not take extreme stances on topics. If an answer seems too extreme, or seems to support a stance that the College Board would not approve, chances are it is not the correct answer.
Beware of extremes and controversial statements. These are usually tricks to prey on personal biases.
The new SAT essay section is optional and students should check with their target schools to determine if it is required for admission. The essay section is 50 minutes long and presents a passage in which the author takes a stance on a certain topic. The student must analyze and explain how the author builds their argument. There will no longer be a theoretical prompt as on the old SAT. You must keep your personal opinions out of the answer. Instead, focus on the analysis.
Strategy and Sample Questions
Cite evidence. This new essay prompt asks the student to identify textual evidence in support of their analysis of the author’s argument. Building an argument requires higher-level reasoning. The student must identify how the author uses data to build a larger argument. Students must be aware of the stylistic devices the author uses to persuade the reader.
As you read the sample passage that is linked below, consider how Paul Bogard uses:
evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
Be aware of personal bias and avoid building arguments from a personal point of view that is not related to evidence in the passage.
Write as neatly as possible; legibility can impact your score.
Structure the essay in a five paragraph format (including an intro, evidence, and a conclusion).
Create or fabricate examples.
Let personal bias impinge on your analysis of the argument.
No-Calculator Math Section
The no-calculator math section is comprised of 20 questions (15 multiple choice and five grid-in) to be completed in 25 minutes. Math topics on this section include algebra, arithmetic, probability, and data analysis, along with some geometry and trigonometry.
Strategy and Sample Questions
Students will be provided with some basic formulas at the start of the section. It is worth memorizing these so that you don’t waste time flipping back and forth to reference them.
Line straight l is graphed in the xy-plane below.
If line straight l is translated up 5 units and right 7 units, then what is the slope of the new line?
Identify your strengths and weaknesses and focus on building a strong overall skill set. Focus on weak points.
Read these questions carefully. The new math format emphasizes long-format questions that require careful scrutiny, especially for multi-part questions.
On equation-based questions, plug in answers to the formula, and test them. This can help you save precious time.
Don’t rely on your calculator excessively; sometimes the calculator can actually slow you down.
Don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you don’t get it initially, return to it later.
Calculator Permitted Math Section
Many of the calculator permitted math questions are real-world style examples that use graphs and word problem formats. Calculators may or may not be required to complete these questions.
Strategy and Sample Questions
As always, read carefully. These questions are often asked in a complex word-problem format. Eliminate obviously wrong answer choices.
The recommended daily calcium intake for a 20-year-old is 1,000 milligrams (mg). One cup of milk contains 299 mg of calcium and one cup of juice contains 261 mg of calcium. Which of the following inequalities represents the possible number of cups of milk m and cups of juice j a 20-year-old could drink in a day to meet or exceed the recommended daily calcium intake from these drinks alone?
A. 229m + 261j is greater than or equal to 1,000
B. 229m + 261j is greater than 1,000
C. 299/m + 261/j is greater than or equal to 1,000
D. 299/m + 261/j is greater than 1,000
The scatterplot above shows counts of Florida manatees, a type of sea mammal, from 1991 to 2011. Based on the line of best fit to the data shown, which of the following values is closest to the average yearly increase in the number of manatees?
The figure above shows a metal hex nut with two regular hexagonal faces and a thickness of 1 cm. The length of each side of a hexagonal face is 2 cm. A hole with a diameter of 2 cm is drilled through the nut. The density of the metal is 7.9 grams per cubic cm. What is the mass of this nut, to the nearest gram? (Density is mass divided by volume.)
Don’t bring a non-approved calculator to the test site!
The SAT scoring system is simple. Each of the test’s two halves are scored out of 800 points, for a total of 1600. The optional essay is scored from 2-8, with cross test scores rated from 10-40 and subscores rated from 1-15.
You earn points for correct answers and there is no advantage to leaving questions blank, as there was in previous years. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so it is to your advantage to answer every question, even if you are guessing. Raw test scores are converted into an overall scaled score using a sliding chart method that accounts for variations on different tests and test dates. This scoring method is designed so that there is no advantage to taking a particular test, or taking a test on a particular day.
Scores are available a few weeks after the test date. They are relayed by a paper report, by phone, or online. Students who want to double-check their answers after receiving their scores have access to College Board’s Score Verification services.
Students who take multiple tests may use Score Choice to send their best scores to colleges. This allows them to conveniently choose their best test date scores and subject test scores to report to colleges. It’s important to note, however, that some schools may require students to send in all of their test scores. Students are not allowed to pick and choose high-scoring sections from across multiple tests; scores from an entire SAT are sent.
In certain cases, a student may feel they did poorly on the test and want to officially cancel their scores. Scores can be canceled at the test center or by 11:59 p.m. on the Wednesday following the test date. Once the cancellation form is submitted and a score is cancelled, it cannot be reinstated.
Scores can be reported to colleges directly online and through Score Choice. Rush reporting is currently unavailable through the College Board website. Scores must be reported directly from the College Board. The fastest way to send scores to colleges is to register to send free score reports when you sign up for a test date (you can send up to four reports for free). This free service extends for nine days after the test date.
Preparing for the SAT
It’s useful to know as much about the test format as possible. The reading section contains set topic sections including one US/world literature passage, two history/social science passages, and two science passages. All vocabulary will be tested in context. Because of this, studying just vocabulary is less important than doing advanced reading, and with the new graphical dimension to reading problems, familiarizing yourself with diverse real world publications is a great starting place to start studying.
Old SAT test prep books can still be useful too. Just be sure to skip over problems that are no longer included, like sentence completion problems and isolated vocabulary questions. ACT science question are helpful as well, as the new SAT is very similar to the ACT, and LSAT books can also be a source of useful information for data reasoning questions. The best overall advice is simply to read. Read widely, and read difficult, challenging articles from well-respected sources. You should also familiarize yourself with graphs and data charts, as these will be more prevalent on the new test, not only in the math section, but also in the reading sections.
Below we have compiled a list of test preparation resources:
Online Practice Tests
Online SAT prep practice tests are usually free and they allow you to view your score and a chart of answers immediately upon completion, or as you go. This is a great way to practice the test and to identify your weak spots, as the score may be broken down into subtopics. Online tests are often free, though more lengthy exams may be offered as part of a subscription or as an addendum to a published study guide book. Students who benefit from repetition and practice should consider taking free online practice tests frequently.
PrepScholar: Free online SAT practice tests with answer keys.
Many SAT prep apps are available for mobile devices that help students prepare with quick study formats, virtual flashcards, and games.
CollegeBoard App: Featuring a Question a Day format, this app comes from the creators of the SAT. It features instant practice test scoring and answers, free of charge.
SAT Up: Current SAT prep questions and practice. Uses adaptive learning technology and offers on-demand tutoring and coaching options. Free or $4.99 to $24.99 with subscription service.
Prep4 SAT: Thousands of SAT questions and an intuitive study guide that enables you to track your progress and identify weaknesses in detail. Free for a limited time.
Adapster: SAT math preparation with adaptive learning technology.
SAT Prep Course
SAT prep courses are another great way to start studying. These are usually offered in a classroom format or through one-on-one tutorials in person or online. These courses are often several weeks long with multiple classes per week. Expensive services will sometimes offer a score improvement clause, refunding your money if your performance doesn’t improve over your established baseline. Students who want to learn more in-depth SAT test prep strategies may find theses courses useful.
The Princeton Review: An established test prep guide publisher and tutoring agency. Comes with a 100 point guarantee with the Ultimate Program, starting at $999.
Kaplan: Long established test prep provider that offers, among other services, in-person classes. In-person training starts at $799.
For self-paced study, there is often no better resource than a good arsenal of SAT prep study guides with real practice tests and a detailed answer key. These publications are often used to supplement class work, and many include online components. Students will usually find thorough explanations of each test section and subsection, along with a detailed analysis of test question types and strategies. A good SAT book is a must-have for any test-taker.
The College Board: This test prep book is published by the creators of the SAT. The new 2016 edition covers all the details of the new test.
Kaplan: Excellent all-encompassing multi-media format test book with extras. Covers the new 2017 SAT.
Flashcards are most often used for vocabulary study. Though the new SAT does not test vocabulary in isolation any more, having a strong vocabulary is still important. Students looking to bolster their vocabulary quickly, and those who do well with rote memory and game-oriented learning, will benefit from using flashcards. Flashcards can be made at home, purchased, or found online and through mobile apps. Some of the best sources include:
Magoosh: Free SAT vocabulary flashcards for mobile devices.
Barron’s: Online, print, and mobile flash card sets.
Private tutoring can help struggling students efficiently work through their biggest deficiencies. Tutoring may be appropriate for struggling students who need extra guidance for the SAT, or for students who score highly and want an extra push to get the best score possible. Often, premium tutoring agencies will offer test-takers a minimum score point increase guarantee over their established baseline.
Tutors can often be found on community boards, college campus listings, and online. Be sure to investigate the effectiveness of any company, and research their history and customer satisfaction. Test books and websites like the College Board may also have resources for finding reputable tutors. Be sure to check any tutor’s credentials and that they have the education and SAT scores to prove they are worth your time and money.
Varsity Tutors: Connects tutors and students who live in the same area. Tutors are available online or in person.
Inspirica: Elite, boutique test preparation tutoring agency located on the East Coast.
Prep Scholar Tutors: Pre-screened, reputable tutors for all subjects, with an SAT/ACT point guarantee.
4 Cheap Ways to Prep for the SAT
You got through high school. You’ve picked a college. And now you’re ready to take on the world. But first, you just need to take this one little test that determines whether or not you’ll even get into college.
No pressure, right?
Prepping for a college admissions test is stressful enough, but when you factor in the cost of study materials and actually taking the test, it can feel overwhelming. Rest assured, there are ways to prep for a college admissions test without breaking the bank.
1. Determine which test is best for you
Should you take the SAT or the ACT? While one test isn’t necessarily easier or harder than the other, each test could benefit a particular type of student. Figuring out which test you’re best suited for will maximize your scores! Plus, prepping for only one test will help you save money on study materials.
So what’s the difference between the two tests? The ACT measures overall educational development, while the SAT tests more logic and problem-solving skills. The ACT also gives you less time to complete more work, so if you feel like you don’t perform well under strict time constraints, that is something to keep in mind.
If you’re not sure which test is right for you, the Princeton Review offers a free quiz that could help you figure it out!
Pro Tip: if you use a tutor, find one that specializes in one test over the other.
2. Use free study apps
Test prep these days has gotten a little less expensive and a little more convenient, thanks to the magic of free apps.
Some of the best study apps for college admissions tests include:
ACT Prep: Offers full-length practice exams and flashcards made by professional tutors.
ACT Up: Offers a vast collection of practice questions, vocabulary words, and daily “workouts” to keep you engaged.
Prep4 SAT: Packed with “bite-sized” lessons and thousands of SAT questions, complete with a detailed score analysis.
SAT Up: Provides on-demand tutoring, vocab games, and full-length practice tests.
3. Find free study materials and practice exams online
Study sites like Course Hero and PowerScore offer free materials to keep you engaged and motivated before your college admissions test.
Course Hero: Offers 24/7 tutors, flashcards, prep schedules, and free test materials for each section.
PowerScore: Offers free SAT and ACT practice exams, as well as tips on how to optimize your time for each section.
Khan Academy: Offers full-length SAT tests and other admissions practice test.
4. Find cheap books and online courses
ePrep offers reasonably priced courses for both the ACT and SAT, ranging from $129 to $299. Their courses offer video lessons and answers by subject, in addition to full-length practice tests.
You can also find cheap test prep books on Amazon. As of writing this article, you can buy a used copy of The Official SAT Study Guide for less than $6!
Now go out there and conquer your college admissions test! (And don’t forget to use the extra cash you’re saving on a well-deserved pizza break!)
Course Hero | Master Your Classes
Course Hero is an online learning platform that empowers millions of students and educators to succeed. Fueled by a passionate community of students and educators who share their course specific knowledge and educational resources, Course Hero offers the biggest and best library of study documents, expert tutors, customizable flashcards, and course advice.
What to Expect on Test Day
THINGS TO BRING WITH YOU
THINGS TO LEAVE AT HOME
Printed admission ticket and personal ID
Cell phones and unapproved electronics
Rulers, protractors, other math tools
2 No. 2 pencils
Highlighters and colored pens
Water, snack foods
Books, pamphlets, dictionaries
Preparing for the SAT exam day requires a little planning and discipline. Having a plan for your test day and the night before can alleviate stress, and help you to stay comfortable, confident, and rested. Below, we’ve created a model schedule that test-takers can follow. You don’t have to stick to it exactly, of course; make adjustments depending on your preferences and routine.
The Night Before
Getting a good night’s rest before the exam is crucial. You need to maintain focus, energy, and stamina, and your cognitive abilities will be greatly reduced if you sleep poorly. You don’t need to cram the night before, and you shouldn’t have to after studying. Be confident in your SAT prep and plan to take the evening before the exam off.
Go to bed at a reasonable time
Over-study, cramming is a bad idea
Set an alarm, two if you have to
Take sleeping aids
Relax, take a shower or meditate to calm nerves
Stay up too late
Get everything organized the night before
Abandon your usual daily routine or schedule
Morning of The Test
With much of the preparation for test day taken care of the night before, you should have a relaxed morning on the day of the test. It is important to set your schedule for the day in advance: when you should arrive at the test center, how long it will take you, and where you need to be. Try to relax, and double check all of your test-day equipment (calculators, batteries pencils, etc). Eat a good meal that won’t give you a stomach ache and go easy on caffeine, which can increase anxiety and stress. Show up to the test early so you can relax and prepare your mind.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Bring a cell phone
Double check that you have everything
Cram: it’s a bad idea at this point
Leave early in consideration of possible traffic
Stay up too late or get up too early
Maintain focus, tune out distractions
Eat or drink anything you don’t normally consume
Arrive at the test site early. Once you are there, have your admission ticket ready. You will be shown where to store your bags, and will be assigned a seat. Wait to be seated by a test supervisor. The test begins between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. The test supervisor will give all instructions verbally.
After the Test
Once the test is over, don’t overthink it! Follow the SAT coordinator’s instructions. Pack up your belongings after turning in the test and take the rest of the day off. You deserve a break after all your hard work. Know approximately how long it will take to receive scores and follow up with the College Board once scores are released if there are any discrepancies.
SAT Subject Tests
The SAT subject tests are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your talent and interest in specific disciplines. Despite the changes to the SAT, the SAT subject tests remain in their old format. Currently, there are 20 SAT subject tests to choose from in five overarching categories, including English, history, languages, math, and science. These tests are scored on a 200-800 point scale, and take an hour to complete. The tests are offered six times per year, and students can take up to three subjects tests in a single day. The regular SAT and SAT subject tests cannot be taken on the same day.
Some colleges may require the SAT subject tests for specific programs, and students should consult with their college admissions office to determine if they are necessary. In some cases, an SAT subject test may count for credit (depending on your score) and often, international students can use the English subject test to prove language proficiency. The test dates remaining in 2016 are October 1, November 5, and December 3. You can browse the test schedule here.
You can study for SAT subject tests with free online exams, workbooks, and study guides, or through online tutoring. These tests are designed to test high school-level knowledge, and just about all that you’ll need to know will be covered in class. Practice tests will help you familiarize yourself with the question types and test format.
Prep Scholar: Offers insight into overcoming test anxiety and stress.
Veritas Prep: Offers test prep services and resources for overcoming test anxiety
Kahn Academy: College Board partner and fantastic site with a variety of tutoring and test prep services, including practice quizzes and interactive learning tools.