There are numerous and diverse resources for students to prepare for the SAT. Preparing for this important exam has been shown to be strongly correlated with scoring highly and improving scores between test administrations. Because the SAT largely differs in question type and pacing from most classroom exams, students tend to benefit from familiarizing themselves with the test before taking it.
Colleges that require the SAT or ACT as part of their application procedures accept either test equally. Both the SAT and ACT are meant to measure academic ability and college readiness, but they differ in format, content, and overall structure.
The SAT is a predominantly multiple choice test, with the only exceptions being a written essay and ten student-produced math questions. In total, the SAT asks 67 Critical Reading questions, 54 Mathematics questions, and 49 Writing questions. Altogether, these add up to a total of 170 questions (plus the essay). The questions typically increase in difficulty level throughout their sections, with the exception of passage-based Critical Reading questions, which chronologically follow their accompanying passage(s).
The SAT measures reasoning skills and college readiness on a 2400 point scale, with a maximum score of 800 for each of its three sections, Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. The SAT has used this scale since 2005, following its addition of the Writing section and essay. Before that, it was scored out of 1600, a scale that will return with the redesigned SAT in March of 2016.
The SAT is one of two major tests used for admission to 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. Colleges selecting for academic ability often use the SAT, or its counterpart, the ACT, as a critical factor when deciding whether or not to grant admission to prospective students.
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