The basic SAT is divided into four sections covering two subjects, English and mathematics:
Should I take the ACT test or the SAT test?
What is the SAT test?
How is the SAT test scored?
How many questions are there on the SAT test?
How long is the SAT test?
When should I start SAT test prep?
Should I take the SAT test or the ACT test?
Most universities and colleges, as part of their admissions process, accept scores from both the SAT and the ACT. But there are pros and cons to each, especially if you’re interested in language arts. We have both ACT and SAT prep available, and if you’re not sure which test to take, we advise you on your options based on your academic goals.
What is the SAT test?
Colleges and universities use the SAT test as one criterion for admissions. Originally named the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the test has had many name changes. Now it’s known simply as the SAT. The College Board, a nonprofit organization, administers the SAT test for tens of thousands of students every year.
Because high schools and homeschooling programs differ from city to city and state to state, and schools with the same curriculum can still graduate students who are vastly different in their readiness for higher education, grade point averages (GPAs) don’t reliably predict success in college. Keep that GPA high, but know that most U.S. universities and colleges still require ACT scores or SAT scores as part of their admissions process.
College officials use SAT scores to screen applicants. And your SAT may be the tiebreaker between admitting you or another student with similar grades and background.
Your performance on the SAT may determine whether you get into college. Think about it. If you were an administrator in charge of college admissions, would you rather go over 500 transcripts from different high schools across the U.S. — or would you rather just consider SAT scores?
Our SAT test prep helps make you competitive with more than San Diego students, or even California students.
You’re facing college applicants who may have attended schools with more resources, more accelerated or specialized classes, and more opportunities in general. Our private SAT tutors are experienced with many different schools and learning programs, and you’ll learn the skills you need to score your absolute best.
How is the SAT test scored?
Each subject section (English and math) is scored between 200 and 800 in increments of 10. Students receive a total score between 400 and 1600 for the exam as a whole. If you’re a little weaker in one subject, SAT test prep can help you balance your score.
How many questions are on the SAT test?
Reading — 52
Writing and Language — 44
Math Test with Calculator — 38
Math Test without Calculator — 20
You’ve studied hard in high school for four years. (You’re about to graduate!) Now you’re looking at only 154 questions that can decide your future — half in Reading and Writing, half in Math. Our SAT prep courses review your strengths and weak spots, and our SAT test prep tutors narrow down the topics the test covers so you know what to expect.
How long is the SAT test?
Reading — 65 min.
Writing and Language — 35 min.
Math Test with Calculator — 55 min.
Math Test without Calculator — 25 min.
You have 154 questions over 180 minutes — an average of only about a minute to answer each one. Our private SAT tutors teach you how to take a standardized test so you earn your best score in the shortest time. Plus we’ll show you techniques to reduce your test anxiety and keep your mind cool and confident on exam day.
When should I start SAT test prep?
Right now! If your SAT prep tutors have more time to work with you, you have more time to review subjects in depth and take practice tests so you’ll be ready for the real thing.
In our experience, our students see the most gains from SAT tutoring with a few hours each week for a few months before test day. That gives you time to review your subjects, develop test-taking strategies, and take several practice tests so that you know the material and you’re less nervous about the actual exam.
SAT Frequently Asked Questions
S, A, and T are the three most feared letters by most high school students across the country. However, a lot of that apprehension stems from the fact that most people are not fully aware of all of the details of the test.
Below, the SAT experts at Hawk Educational Solutions answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the SAT. To get answers to other questions you have about the SAT or SAT preparation, contact Hawk Educational Solutions in San Diego by calling (619) 300-7231.
- How to Study for the SAT?The best way to study for the SAT is to enroll in an SAT Test Preparation course. These courses will provide you with practice tests, tips, and other skills you need to ace the SAT. Hawk Educational Solutions offers SAT help in San Diego, so if you are in the San Diego area and want to get an awesome score on the SAT, contact us today by calling (619) 300-7231.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Is preparation for the SAT really necessary?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 Many Questions Are on the SAT?The test has a total of 154 questions, not including the essay prompt. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section has 52 questions, Writing and Language has 44 questions, Math without a calculator is 20 questions, and Math with a calculator is 38 questions.
- What Calculators Are Allowed on the SAT?Certain parts of the SAT Math section allows for the use of a calculator. Most graphing calculators, scientific calculators, and all four-function calculators are allowed during the test. If you are unsure if your calculator is allowed on the SAT, ask an expert at Hawk Educational Solutions.
- When Do SAT Scores Come Out?Students can usually find their SAT scores online 13 days after taking the test. If you choose to write an essay, an additional two days will be needed for grading.
- How Long is the SAT?The SAT is a three-hour test if you choose not to complete the optional essay portion, and three hours and 50 minutes if you do write an essay.
- How is the SAT Scored?As stated above, the SAT has two sections, English and Math, both of which are scored separately. The maximum score for each section is 800. This number is calculated based on the number of questions the test taker gets correct, and then that score is “equated” to take into account the difficulty of the test. That way, students who took a more difficult version of the test will not be unfairly penalized.
- What is a Perfect SAT Score?A perfect score on the SAT is 1600. The test has two sections, English and Math, and each is worth 800 points. If you get an 800 in both, you will get a perfect 1600 SAT score.
- What is an Average SAT Score?According to the College Board’s 2019 report, the 2019 national average for the SAT was 1059. Therefore, anyone who scored a 1060 or higher in 2019 should consider their score a good score. However, for many universities, higher scores are required. While achieving a score above the national average is a good start, there may be more preparation needed to meet the requirements of top tier universities.
- What is a Good SAT Score?A “good” SAT score is dependent on a student’s individual goals and where they want to further their education. A good SAT score depends on each university’s average freshman SAT scores for the prior academic year. For instance, if the typical University of California at San Diego (UCSD) freshman who was accepted in the fall of 2018 scored between a 1320 and 1510, then a 1320 or higher for 2019 applicants may be considered a good or qualifying score at UCSD. A competitive score will likely be 1430 or higher. On a national level, if a student scores above the national average, a student’s score can be considered a good score when the score is compared to those of other high school students around the country.
- What Does SAT Stand for?SAT stands for “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” as it is a test of a student’s suitability and natural ability (aptitude) in schooling and education (scholastic).
- What is the SAT?The SAT is an exam that is used by universities and colleges to help determine if an applicant will be granted entrance into the school. The test attempts to determine if high school students are ready to thrive in a college environment, giving those tasked with college admission decisions a common test to compare students’ aptitude and academic skills. The test is a multiple-choice exam, asking students to answer questions related to Math, Reading, and Writing.