SAT Test

New-SAT-Logo-300The SAT, owned and published by the College Board, is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is intended to assess a student’s readiness for college. The current redesigned SAT, introduced in 2016, takes 3 hours to finish plus an additional 50 minutes if doing the optional essay. The test is made up of four components – Reading (65 minutes, 52 questions), Writing and Language (35 minutes, 44 questions), Math (80 minutes, 58 questions) and the optional Essay (50 minutes, 1 task).

Possible scores on the SAT range from 400 to 1600, combining test results from two 800-point sections: Mathematics and Critical Reading and Writing. Taking the SAT or its competitor, the ACT, is required for freshman entry to many, but not all, universities in the United States.

The new redesigned SAT was released as of March 2016. Summary information about the redesigned test along with details about the differences with the pre-March 2016 version can be found in the College Board Compare SAT Specifications page. The information presented below relates to the new redesigned test and not the pre-March 2016 versions.

The SAT tests need to be taken within two years before college. Registration should be no later than the November before when university education should start. Enough time should also be allocated to prepare for the tests. Most students take the SAT once or twice. Taking the test more than this is not recommended by the College Board as it does not commonly affect scores significantly.

Many leading universities in the U.S. require or recommend the SAT Subject Tests. These are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to show what you know in specific subjects areas where you excel. There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: Math, History, Science, Literature and Languages. Check with our SAT Subject Tests page for more information on these optional tests.

Be sure to check out the other College Board videos on this site for more information on the SAT, SAT Subject tests, and other College Board programs.

How The Tests Are Scored

All multiple-choice questions are scored the same way: one point for each correct answer and zero points for incorrect answers. No additional points are subtracted for incorrect answers or answers left blank.

Total Score: You will receive one total score, on a scale ranging from 400 to 1600, that is the sum of two section scores:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
  • Math

The three scores for the optional Essay will be reported separately on 2-to-8 scales and will not be factored into the total score.

Section Scores: You will receive two section (domain) scores, reported on a scale ranging from 200 to 800, in 10-point intervals:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, which will combine the Reading Test score and the Writing and Language Test score
  • Math

Test Scores: You will receive three test scores reported on a scale ranging from 10 to 40:

  • Reading
  • Writing and Language
  • Math

Cross-Test Scores: You will receive two cross-test scores that are based on items from across the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Tests. (The cross-test scores are contingent on the results of research.) These will be reported on a scale ranging from 10 to 40:

  • Analysis in Science
  • Analysis in History/Social Studies

Subscores: You will also receive multiple subscores for Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. In total the redesigned SAT will report seven subscores, each on a scale ranging from 1 to 15:

The Reading and Writing and Language Tests will contribute questions to two subscores:

  • 1. Command of Evidence
  • 2. Words in Context

The Writing and Language Test will also report two additional subscores:

  • 3. Expression of Ideas
  • 4. Standard English Conventions

The Math Test will report three subscores:

  • 5. Heart of Algebra
  • 6. Problem Solving and Data Analysis
  • 7. Passport to Advanced Math

Additional information about scoring can be found on the College Board How the SAT Is Scored and Interpreting Your Scores pages.

Testing Locations and Dates

International students can register for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests in three ways: online, by mail using the SAT paper registration form, or through an SAT representative. To register online you’ll first need to create a College Board account if you have not already signed up. Note: The SAT test is not generally available in mainland China. Instead students from the mainland will need to take the test in either Hong Kong, Macau or elsewhere outside of China.

Test centers can be found by using the College Board Find Test Centers page. If you register online you will need to supply the test center codes for at least two locations. If registering by mail please be sure to review the International Paper Registration Tips paper from the College Board. If you want to enlist the assistance of an SAT representative they are listed on the Find an Advising Center page run by the United States Department of State.

Hong Kong Test Locations and Procedures

The SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and the AP tests are run by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), an independent, self-financing statutory body. The SAT (sometimes referenced as the SAT I Reasoning Tests) are given at AsiaWorld-Expo near the Hong Kong airport. SAT Subject tests are given at various locations around Hong Kong. Both set of tests are given six times a year in October, November, December, January, May and June. The SAT and the SAT Subject Tests cannot be taken on the same day.

According to the HKEAA registration for taking SAT in Hong Kong must be done online via the College Board website. The HKEAA provides additional documentation specific to the Hong Kong testing, including Frequently Asked Questions and Guidelines and Instructions for Attending SAT in Hong Kong documents. Both of these documents should be considered required reading for any Hong Kong bound takers of the SAT. The HKEAA also publishes comprehensive documentation for each test session. The May, 2016 Information Booklet can be found here. Be sure to check the HKEAA SAT page for the latest information.

Additional Resources

The Official SAT Study Guide (College Board)

Note: The Study Guide contents here are the same as those for direct download from the College Board site. They are provided here as an alternative download option. Chapter summaries and direct download from the College Board site can be found here.

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Eight Key Changes to the SAT
Chapter 3 – Read This! Keys to Doing Your Best on the SAT
Chapter 4 – PSAT/NMSQT
Chapter 5 – New Scores Mean More Information about Your Learning
Chapter 6 – Command of Evidence
Chapter 7 – Words in Context
Chapter 8 – About the SAT Reading Test
Chapter 9 – Reading: Information and Ideas
Chapter 10 – Reading: Rhetoric
Chapter 11 – Reading: Synthesis
Chapter 12 – Sample Reading Test Questions
Chapter 13 – About the SAT Writing and Language Test
Chapter 14 – Writing and Language: Expression of Ideas
Chapter 15 – Writing and Language: Standard English Conventions
Chapter 16 – Sample Writing and Language Test Questions
Chapter 17 – About the SAT Essay
Chapter 18 – About the SAT Math Test
Chapter 19 – Heart of Algebra
Chapter 20 – Problem Solving and Data Analysis
Chapter 21 – Passport to Advanced Math
Chapter 22 – Additional Topics in Math
Chapter 23 – Sample Math Questions: Multiple-Choice
Chapter 24 – Sample Math Questions: Student-Produced Response

Official Redesigned SAT Practice Tests (College Board)

Note: The practice tests below are the same as on the College Board site and provided here as an alternate download option. For the latest tests or to download directly from the College Board go here.

SAT Practice Test 1
SAT Practice Test 1: Essay
SAT Practice Test 1: Answers
SAT Practice Test 1: Scoring
SAT Practice Test 2
SAT Practice Test 2: Essay
SAT Practice Test 2: Answers
SAT Practice Test 2: Scoring
SAT Practice Test 3
SAT Practice Test 3: Essay
SAT Test 3: Answers
SAT Test 3: Scoring
SAT Practice Test 4
SAT Practice Test 4: Essay
SAT Practice Test 4: Answers
SAT Practice Test 4: Scoring
Mobile Apps for the College Board SAT Practice Tests

College Board SAT and SAT Subject Test Videos

Learn About the SAT and SAT Subject Tests
What Exactly is the SAT?
What’s on the SAT?
How Can I Do My Best on the SAT?
The SAT – An Important Milestone
How Does the SAT Affect Your College Admissions?
How Do SAT Questions Make it on to the Exam?
What are SAT Subject Tests?
SAT Subject Tests – A Math Teacher’s Perspective
SAT Subject Tests – Testing Coordinator Perspective
College Board Useful Information About the SATYouTube Playlist

Other College Board Documents

Student Registration Guide
International Paper Registration Tips
SAT Registration Rights & Responsibilities of the Student
Getting Ready for the Redesigned SAT
Advising and Admission Handbook For the Redesigned SAT and the SAT Subject Tests
SAT Additional Score Report Order Form
The SAT Code List: International Edition
Request To Cancel Test Scores


SAT and ACT Prep GuideOnline College Plan
Official SAT PracticeKahn Academy
The 200 SAT Words You Need to KnowPrepScholar

See Also

College Board

College Board: International Registration
College Board: Find Test Centers
College Board: Additional International Policies and Requirements

Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA)

Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA)
Guidelines and Instructions for Attending SAT in Hong Kong
Frequently Asked Questions
International and Professional Examinations
International & Professional Examinations Handbook 2015/2016