The basic SAT is divided into four sections covering two subjects, English and mathematics:
Students also have the option of taking a fifth section by writing an essay. The time for the test is three hours if no essay is selected; otherwise, the total time amounts to three hours and 50 minutes. Participants with disabilities may qualify for extra time.
Each subject section (English and math) is scored between 200 and 800 (as a multiple of 10). Therefore, students receive a total score between 400 and 1600 for the exam as a whole, with the breakdown between the two sections given in the test results.
The score is based on the number of questions answered correctly. There are no penalties for answering incorrectly or for guessing. The essay is scored as its own entity, separate from the rest of the test.
Students may take the SAT more than once, which gives them a chance to improve their scores or make up for material learned later in high school. Many scholars elect to take the SAT during their junior year and again as seniors, although those with extremely high scores the first time around may feel no need to repeat the test.
Students need to register in advance for this test. Offered seven times per year in the US, the SAT charges a fee of $47.50 per test ($64.50 with the optional essay). Students from low-income families may apply for a fee waiver. Extra fees may be assessed for:
- Extra score reports (four are included with the price of the test)
- Late registration
- Changes to registration
- Stand-by testing
- Obtaining scores by telephone
There are also optional SAT subject tests covering science, languages, and history, for students who wish to be ultra competitive at the best institutions.
Reading and Writing
The Reading Test is comprised of 52 questions answered over 65 minutes. Students must read five passages, which may include charts and graphs, and answer multiple choice questions on the following topics:
- US or world literature
- A document related to the founding of the United States
- Social science (economics, psychology, or sociology)
The Writing and Language test has a time limit of 35 minutes for 44 questions. Like the Reading Test, this section asks students to read passages and examine visuals like charts, graphs, and tables. To test critical thinking regarding structure, word choice, and the effectiveness of an argument, students are then asked via multiple choice to make improvements or corrections to the reading material.
The No Calculator Math Test lasts 25 minutes for a total of 20 questions. Fifteen questions are multiple choice, while five are grid-in questions, where the student must answer with a specific number that is filled into a grid of integers, decimal points, and fraction bars.
The Math Test with calculator is 55 minutes long for 38 questions. Thirty of these questions are multiple choice, and eight are grid-in. Scientific and most graphing calculators are allowed; mobile phones, smartphones, laptops, and calculators with QWERTY keyboards are not permitted, nor any other device capable of Internet access.
The Math Test includes questions pertaining to algebra, geometry and other topics in advanced math, including:
- Linear functions
- Linear equations
- Systems of linear equations
- Problem-solving skills
- Non-linear expressions
- Word problems
While some collegiate institutions have dropped their SAT requirement, calling themselves “test optional” or “test flexible,” far more schools still require the SAT for admission. In fact, many schools use the SAT or ACT as initial screening tools, rejecting applicants for not meeting a certain threshold without ever looking at the rest of the application. Over two million students graduating high school in 2018 sat for the exam.
Students who wish to be competitive in the admissions process obviously need to take the test and do well on it. If a college has to choose between two otherwise stellar prospects, they often use their test scores to break the tie. Remember, the SAT is not an achievement test but a predictor of how well a student will perform in college. This is why Hawk Educational Solutions offers SAT coaching, in addition to other aspects of college admissions counseling (see Programs, below).
SAT test preparation can help students score higher on the test the first time they take it. It can also improve students’ scores on subsequent tries–a boon because colleges use the highest score submitted when making admission decisions.
Preparing for the SAT not only helps with vocabulary and math problem-solving. By practicing the test with mock sessions and getting comfortable with it, students experience less anxiety when faced with the real thing, allowing them to focus on the task at hand rather than test stress.
Hawk Educational Solutions strives to offer programs to meet every student’s needs. As well as providing test preparation and application help for high school students, we have tutoring packages for students as young as kindergarten, so your child can get off on the right foot towards a bright academic career.
The Test Prep Expert: PSAT/ SAT/ ACT Test Prep
Prior to the exam date, we recommend a program of 2-3 months of individual lessons 1-2 times per week, rigorous self-study, and 4 full-length practice tests.
The Collegiate Captain – College Application, Financial Aid, and College Admissions Essay Guidance
We offer full-service or “à la carte” college consulting:
College Admissions Essay Planning, Revision, and Editing
The Stellar Scholar: K-12 Multiple Subject Tutoring in English, Math, Science, and AP Courses
English, Common Core Integrated Math, and AP classes- You name it, we’ve got it!
Master of Organization: Study Skills, Organizational, and Homework Coaching
We provide academic mentoring in areas that are often overlooked in the classroom. We help learners of all ages ramp up retention and critical thinking with organized note-taking, memory games, flashcards, Quizlets, and more.
The Sensei: Group College Guidance Seminars
Plan a college info event at a school, library, or community center.
Get an overview of college expectations, best test-taking strategies, and college planning tips. Rates vary per student number and location.
Juliet Hawk, owner and founder of Hawk Educational Solutions, brings a blend of educational credentials and practical knowledge to her profession as a college consultant. In addition to being a freelance writer and published author, Juliet holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and Composition from George Mason University and is certified as a public classroom teacher. She has also worked as a tutor and brings vast experience with ESL (English as a second language) students and special needs students, such as those on the autism spectrum, to her current consultancy.
The proof is in the pudding, though, and Hawk Educational Solutions has garnered over 80 five-star reviews and testimonials online, as well as numerous letters of thanks from grateful students and their parents.
Even students starting late in the testing and application process and working on very tight deadlines have achieved phenomenal and life-changing results. Parents applaud Juliet’s methodical but personal approach, and scholars of all academic tiers appreciate her patience and the boost in self-esteem they’ve gotten from teaming up with her.The competitive advantage of working with Hawk Educational Solutions is particularly apparent when it comes to SAT preparation. Not only are students coached in the material covered by the test, but they are also taught other elements that give them an edge, such as:
- Test-taking strategies, like narrowing the answer down to two out of four options
- Maximizing time during the test to finish all questions within the time limit
- Dealing with test anxiety and knowing what to expect on the exam
- Practice tests to gauge performance and make improvements
We believe you’ll find Hawk Educational Solutions’ prices a true value, given the expertise and personal attention that comes with our service. We understand that certain families may not be able to afford one-on-one appointments at our standard rates, so we encourage students to pair up. We’re also happy to provide instruction for small groups of three or four students at a discounted rate of up to 33% off per student!
Additionally, we are pleased to offer the following discounts:
- 5% off on packages of 10 or more hours of instruction
- Additional 5% off Military Discount
- Sliding Scale for Low-Income Families
Is preparation for the SAT really necessary? After all, it’s an aptitude test, right?
While the SAT used to be more of an aptitude test, it is now designed to align with US high school core curriculum in math and English, which means it tests students on actual material, such as knowing how to solve certain types of mathematical equations and what various vocabulary words mean in context.
Since the SAT does not test strictly for aptitude, students can prepare for it by studying the material tested. The College Board, which administers the SAT test, readily acknowledges that preparing for the test can increase students’ scores. Hawk Educational Services also helps scholars prepare for the test by teaching them test-taking strategies and helping them deal with test anxiety, all of which makes students less apprehensive and more likely to perform at their best.
How far in advance does my child need to prepare for the SAT?
We recommend SAT coaching begin at least several months prior to the test. The sooner your child can start preparation, the more relaxed they can be about going over weak spots with the material, taking practice tests, and trying out test-taking tips. Our goal at Hawk Educational Services isn’t just to have students score highly on the exam but to make them feel confident and comfortable about it as well.
What is the PSAT?
The PSAT, also known as the Preliminary SAT and NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), is also administered by the College Board and is given to high school sophomores and juniors. With Math and Verbal sections, it’s similar to the SAT and offers a glimpse into how students are likely to fare later on the SAT. However, the primary purpose of the PSAT is to determine which students are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which provides financial support for top performers.
What is the difference between the SAT and the ACT?
Although most colleges accept the SAT and ACT equally as admission criteria, there are subtle differences between the two:
- The SAT gives more time per question
- The ACT Math Test is complete calculator friendly
- The ACT includes a Science section
- Math concepts slightly different (more geometry and trig on the ACT)
- The SAT gives a reference table of geometry formulas (no need to memorize)
- Greater emphasis on Math with the SAT (ACT weighs it as one-quarter of the score, versus the SAT, which is one-half)
- No grid-in questions with the ACT Math test, only multiple choice
- No evidence-support reading questions on the ACT
- Essay content differs (more personal opinion allowed with ACT)
You can check out our ACT Test Preparation page to learn more about the specifics of the ACT. When you sign up for test prep coaching with Hawk Educational Services, you can discuss which test is better suited to your child’s strengths, and your child can even take practice tests for both the ACT and SAT to see if their percentile scores differ significantly between the two.
Does your child need assistance studying for the SAT? Contact Hawk Educational Solutions today. We can get started on a plan to achieve the best SAT scores possible through SAT coaching that works.