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SAT Overview

Written by  Rachit Agrawal

Reviewed by  Priyanka Bhargava

Published: Mon, September 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  Updated: Mon, September 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  9 mins read

SAT Overview

Written by  Rachit Agrawal

Reviewed by  Priyanka Bhargava

Published: Mon, Sep 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  Updated: Mon, Sep 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  9 mins read

What is SAT Exam?

SAT Exam is a standardized entrance test for students aspiring to take admission in undergraduate courses. The full form of SAT Exam is Scholastic Assessment test administered by the College Board, prior called Scholastic Aptitude Test. The SAT Exam intends to check the readiness of the student for college, assessing their written, verbal, and mathematical abilities. Moreover, it is a written MCQ test, especially for undergraduate admissions in Canada and USA. SAT Scores is an essential dimension that colleges look upon while assessing tons of applications for undergraduate admissions.

Types of SAT

There are two types of SAT exams conducted on behalf of the College Board by Education Testing Service. The most common and popular type of SAT Exam is SAT 1 or SAT Test. It is a general test for the students to assess their reading, writing, verbal and mathematical skills. It includes domains like English, analytical, mathematical, Science and verbal skills. On the other hand, SAT 2 or SAT Subject test is a specific test that revolves around measuring knowledge about a particular subject. SAT 2 Exam measures subjects like English, History, Science, Maths, Languages.

Why Should you take SAT Exam?

Taking SAT Exam is beneficial in getting admissions in UG courses majorly, in Canada, USA and India. Moreover, scoring good marks in the SAT offer SAT scholarships to the applicants aiding in their admission process abroad.

To know more about why to take SAT tests, take a look below:

  • SAT score makes it easy for the applicants to get admission in the UG programs especially, in Canada and USA.
  • Some Universities offer scholarships to Indian students based on the marks of SAT.
  • Moreover, many job opportunities seek SAT scores from the employees to offer them jobs. 
  • SAT does not constitute complex scientific subjects. Thus, anybody from a science/non-science background can take the test. 
  • Furthermore, SAT does not propagate negative marking in the wrong answers. Therefore, the applicant will get a zero in case of a wrong answer. 
  • To top it off, the applicant has to pay fewer fees for SAT as compared to other exams like the ACT. 

What is the use of SAT Exam in India?

The chief use of the SAT Exam in India is to get acceptance in undergraduate courses in well-accredited Universities of India and Abroad. Moreover, SAT Exam also assesses the applicant's maths, verbal and English abilities to secure a position in the University. SAT Exam in India also helps Indian students to get scholarships in various Universities. It recognizes the talents of students irrespective of their financial backgrounds. Furthermore, most of the Universities in India or Abroad accept the SAT scores and aid in the admission procedure of the student.

SAT Exam Eligibility 2021

The College Board does not have any strict SAT Exam eligibility 2021 criteria for students appearing for SAT Exam. Even though the SAT Exam eligibility does not have any laid criteria, the applicant has to complete their senior secondary education (Grade XII) to appear for the Exam. Apart from this, the applicant has to abide by minor SAT Exam Eligibility 2021 criteria:

  • Age Limit : There is no age limit (minimum or maximum) for the applicants applying for SAT Exam. One requirement is that the students must pass Grade XII with good grades. Additionally, people from the 17-19 age groups have the highest frequency to appear for SAT. 
  • Educational Eligibility Criteria : As mentioned above, the College Board does not set any specific educational eligibility criteria for the applicants appearing for SAT exam. The only educational requirement for the Exam is to have passed high school and look forward to taking admission in UG courses in Universities abroad or India. 
  • ID proof : The applicants sitting for an SAT Exam should have a valid ID/Aadhar Card. Moreover, the ID proof must-have essential details like age, name, signature, and photograph. Additionally, the ID proof submitted should be well-maintained without any damage. 

SAT Exam Syllabus

As mentioned above, the SAT Exam syllabus does not consist of any complex scientific or mathematical topics. Thus, an individual who has completed Grade XII or is in high school can give the test without any in-depth preparation. Majorly the SAT Exam Syllabus include the subjects the applicants have already studied in high schools like Maths, English, History, Language or verbal skills. However, the syllabus for the types of SAT Exam (SAT 1 & SAT2) differs as the former includes a general syllabus with topics from all the subjects, and the latter includes topics from specific subjects (20 SAT subject tests into five areas).

Writing Section

The SAT Exam syllabus has a writing section and revolves around language and evidence-based reading. This section has three passages related to social sciences, humanities, commerce and science. The three passages have forty-four multiple-choice questions in which the participant had to read and answer according to the given content. Commonly asked questions in the writing section are related to word choice in the passage, structural changes to do in the text and questions about grammar, punctuation, verb tense and construction. The writing section of the SAT Exam syllabus is scored on a scale of 200-800 marks.

Critical Reading Section

The critical reading section of the SAT Exam syllabus constitutes three 500-750 words long passages about the US or world literature, psychology, sociology, economics, etc. The first part of the critical reading section of the SAT Syllabus includes a passage for comprehension by the applicant. The second part constitutes a passage for sentence completion and, the third section is for paragraph-length critical reading by the applicant. Each paragraph has 10-11 multiple choice questions related to the theme, explanation of a phrase used in the passage, style, tone of the paragraph.

Math Section

The Math section of the SAT exam syllabus is divided into two parts of math-test with a calculator and a math test without a calculator. In addition, the math section has three segments related to algebra & functions, geometry statistics & probability & data analysis. Moreover, the College Board provides a cheat sheet of all the math formulas on the day of the SAT Exam. Overall, the score range of the math section in SAT Syllabus lies between 200-800 marks.

SAT Exam Fee

The Candidates applying for SAT Exam have to pay a required amount of SAT Exam fee online. The SAT Exam fee is $55 with a regional fee from the applicants who do not reside in the U.S. Thus, Indians applying for the SAT Exam has to pay a total fee of $104 ($55 for SAT Exam and $49 for non-U.S. regional fee). Moreover, the SAT Exam fees for giving Subject tests may differ based on the subject and test centre chosen. In addition, for the SAT Exam with essay, the applicant has to pay $117 ($68 for essay fee & $49 for a non-U.S. regional fee).

SAT Cancellation Fee

The SAT Cancellation fee is $25 and, the SAT cancellation fee after the change deadline on the test day is $35. However, the College Board always advise the applicants about not cancelling the SAT registration. It can be expensive for the students and, the applicant will not get any refund if the cancellation is before five days of the Examination. Moreover, if the applicant cancels the SAT Exam registration before 5-10 days of the exam, they will only be refunded $10. Thus, the applicant can go for a date change of SAT Exam by paying less extra fees.

SAT Rescheduling Fees

SAT rescheduling fee for the applicants ranges between 25-35 dollars. If the candidate is changing the Exam date or Exam centre, a $30 amount is applicable and compulsory. The official website of the College Board has set varying amounts for different types of cancelling or rescheduling. The common ones are rescheduling the date or changing the centre of the Exam asks for $25 and, the late registration fee is by paying an extra amount of $30. The applicant can pay the SAT rescheduling fees (for date change or centre change) through credit cards, PayPal, Check or money orders and a bank draft.

SAT Subject Fee

As mentioned above, the SAT Exam fee differs for both general SAT Exam and Specific-subject SAT Exam. Thus, the College Board has various SAT Subject fees for the applicants. In addition, the optional essay section of the SAT Exam also has an extra SAT Subject fee with the composite fees. The SAT Subject fee differs for numerous subjects like history, English, Language, Math, and Science.

To get a clear understanding of the SAT Subject fee, take a look below:

SAT Subject Category


SAT Fees with Optional Essay


Each Subject SAT Exam


Language with Listening SAT Exam


How to get fee-waiver for SAT Exam?

Getting a fee waiver for SAT Exam can prove beneficial for taking up to two SAT exams with or without any essay. The applicant can register for two SAT exams or Specific subject Exams without paying any amount. The applicants eligible for a fee waiver for SAT Exam can be from a family that receives public assistance, enrolled in a national school lunch program, enrolled in a federal, state or local program, and lives in public housing. 

To get a fee waiver for SAT Exam from the official College Board, take a look at the steps below:

  • If the applicant meets the eligibility criteria, the first step is to reach the school counsellor or community-based organization. 
  • Submit all the required documents and certificates to the person and wait for a further reply from the College Board. 
  • If the applicant is homeschooled, the local school counsellor helps them submit their fee waiver application.
  • An essential step is to provide proof of eligibility like tax records, enrolment in a program or living in public housing. 

SAT Slot Booking

SAT Slot booking must be completed by the applicant at least one month before the Exam date. The applicant can do the SAT slot booking by creating an account on the official page of SAT Exam and choosing the test centre & date. After selecting these options, the applicant has to book a time slot and enter all the necessary details for the registration. Submit the form by paying the fees at last through an accepted method. In the end, check the mail to get a confirmation for the SAT Slot booking.

How to Cancel SAT Exam?

There are commonly two ways to cancel the SAT exam before the test day. One way to cancel SAT Exam is by calling in advance to the centre and formally cancelling the Exam. On the other hand, the second way to cancel SAT Exam is to not appear for the Exam in the centre. The latter method is easy and, the score will not be recorded on the report card. However, getting a cancellation refund is easier when calling and formally cancelling than in the other way. 

To get a clear idea of how to cancel SAT Exam, take a look below:

  • If the applicant does not want any refund or reschedule the SAT Exam, the easiest way is to not appear for the Exam.
  • If the applicant wants to get a refund, calling and formally cancelling before five days in advance can get a refund of $10. 
  • Cancelling the SAT Exam within five days will not get any refund to the applicant but, the College Board will not send any score report of the Exam. 
  • To cancel the SAT by Phone, the applicant must call the College Board service department and provide all the necessary documents. 

Reschedule SAT Exam

The applicant can reschedule SAT Exam if they cannot give the Exam on the date but want to give it after some days. Thus, the candidate can reschedule SAT Exam date, test centre by paying a non-refundable fee of $28. The fee is also applicable to the candidates who got a fee waiver while applying for the SAT Exam. Moreover, the College Board also advises the students to reschedule instead of cancelling or re-registering the SAT Exam. 

To get an in-depth understanding of how to reschedule SAT Exam, take a look below:

  • The first step is to log in to the College Board account and select the SAT Exam the applicant registered for earlier.
  • After clicking on the SAT Exam, the page will take the applicant to the ticket information. 
  • Click on the change test date and reschedule SAT Exam by selecting the date that works for the applicant.
  • Reschedule SAT Exam by paying a fee and getting a new admission ticket for future purposes. 



Date/Test Centre Change Fee


Late Registration Fee


Register by Phone


Waitlist Fee


SAT Exam Pattern

SAT exam pattern mainly comprises two sections of evidence-based reading & writing and Math. Moreover, the applicant can take an SAT Exam with an essay or without it. The first section of the SAT Exam Pattern includes three-four passages for comprehension, reading, and analytical thinking. The math section of the SAT exam pattern consists of two parts: one is by using a calculator and, one is without using the calculator. In addition, most of the maths and English questions are MCQ and take approximately three hours. The SAT Exam with an essay can take up to three hours and fifty minutes and, the score ranges from 200-800.

SAT Exam Admission Ticket

The SAT Exam Admission Ticket is a must-have document with the applicant for sitting at the Exam centre. The SAT Exam Admission Ticket ensures that the applicant is registered for the SAT exam at a particular test centre. Moreover, the SAT Exam Admission Ticket ensures the identity for maintaining safety at the centre. One point to keep in mind is to bring a hard copy of the SAT Exam Admission Ticket to the centre and not any soft copy or a digital one. Moreover, the applicant can print the Admission ticket from the online registration portal or through the mail.

SAT Exam Results

The applicants sitting for SAT Exam must keep the following SAT Exam result dates in mind. The College Board announces the expected SAT Exam result dates on the official website. Moreover, the SAT Exam result comes within three weeks of the examination. In 2020, the SAT exam was conducted on March 14 and, the SAT Exam results were out by 26th March on the official website. The SAT Exam results are in the range of 400-1600, scored majorly in two segments: writing and reading section (200-800) and maths section (200-800). The average score of the test lies in the range of 990-1010. SAT Exam Scores in this range or more can aid the applicant in getting admission to a well-known and world-accredited University.

Steps to access SAT Results

The candidates can access the SAT Results through the official website of the College Board within 3-4 weeks after the test date. To get SAT Results, the applicant can log in on the website and get the online scorecard of the MCQ (reading, writing and maths) and Essay. If the educator has to get the SAT Results, they can go to the K-12 portal and download the SAT Exam score report card. In addition, the website of the College Board has listed detailed steps on how to access the SAT results. 

Furthermore, to have an in-depth understanding of how to access the SAT Results, take a look below:

  • Firstly, open the official website of the College Board and log in to your account. 
  • After logging in, click on my organizer option and SAT Scores option.
  • After viewing the option of SAT Scores, enter the user ID and password.
  • After filling in the login details, the applicant will view the SAT Exam results. 
  • AT last, the applicant can print the SAT Result for future purposes and send a copy to the Official University/College. 

SAT Cut-Off

The College Board does not have any specific SAT cut off. However, it varies from University to University. There is not any SAT strict cut-off but, the applicant must score in the range of 1000-1600 (above 50th percentile) to get admission to the top Universities in India and Abroad. However, the candidate getting an average score can also take admission to top colleges and Universities. Thus, the candidate should remember about various cut-off of Universities. 

To have a clear understating of the SAT cut-off of some popular universities, take a look below:

  • Harvard University: Harvard University asks for the 25th percentile with a score of 1460 from the applicants. 
  • Princeton University: The applicant must score between 740-800 (in evidence-based reading and writing) and 710-800 (in maths) for getting admission. 
  • Columbia University: This University requires a score of 700+ in both the sections (writing & reading and maths). 
  • Stanford University: It is a famous University that requires an overall score of 1500 together in both sections.
  • Yale University: This University has a set cut-off score of 740-790 in Evidence-based reading & writing and 720-770 in maths. 
  • Rice University: It asks for a total score ranging from 1480-1550.
  • University of California, Berkeley: The composite range of SAT Cut-off score is 1330-1530. 
  • University of Virginia: This University has a set SAT cut-off score ranging from 1300-1500. 

SAT Exam Preparation

SAT Exam preparation includes brushing the knowledge gained in high school with the addition of some topics in math, science, English, history and analytical skills. However, before thinking about the SAT Exam preparation, the candidate should be clear about the SAT goals, SAT preferences and should be motivated to study for it. The applicant should start the SAT Exam preparation at least three months before the test date to score high and get into top colleges. SAT Exam preparation should include knowledge about one's skills and weaknesses and taking practice tests repeatedly. Moreover, it is related to gathering tons of information about each section of the SAT Exam and being creative with the content.

SAT 2021 Preparation Tips

SAT 2021 Preparation tips majorly include practising as much as the applicant can and standing out among the other candidates. To have knowledge about different elements of SAT and how to plan for these sections for the SAT 2021 Exam preparation, take a look below:

  • Reading: To get a high score in the reading section of the SAT exam, the applicant must practice reading passages as there are more than four passages throughout the SAT Exam. Moreover, one of the best SAT preparation tips is to build on vocabulary with the meaning of words. Along with this, using the elimination process is an aid in SAT 2021 Exam preparation.
  • Writing and Language section: The foremost SAT 2021 preparation tip is to master grammar and punctuation through editing error passages. Moreover, read newspapers, magazines, articles and essays to build on the language and vocabulary. The applicant must write at least 1000 words every day to hone the skills for scoring good marks in SAT 2021 writing section.
  • Math Section: The first and foremost tip is to master the basic math concepts and formulas. In addition, practice various maths questions every day to cover all the diverse topics and formulas.
  • SAT Essay (Optional): The major SAT 2021 preparation tip for the essay section includes practical ice writing at least 1500-2000 words every day on topics related to science, humanities, social sciences, psychology, sociology, economics and history.

SAT Exam Scholarship

The College Board provides SAT Exam Scholarships to the Indian students under the College Board Indian Scholars Program. It was started in 2018-19 to appreciate all the talents and skills of the applicants irrespective of the financial background. The applicants who score above the 80th percentile or 1300 with a lower financial background can receive numerous SAT Exam Scholarships to ensure admission to top colleges and Universities. However, the eligibility criteria for the scholarship can differ.

Thus, to check the eligibility criteria for the SAT Exam Scholarships, take a look below:

  • The applicant must have completed high school education or currently is in Grade XI-XII. 
  • Moreover, the applicant should not be below the age range of 17 years.
  • The financial resource of the applicant should not be lower than 8lakhs/year.
  • To be eligible for the SAT Exam Scholarship, the applicant must score 1300 or above.


✅ What is the composite SAT score? 

Ans : The SAT consists of 1600 points which range from 400-1600. Moreover, it has two sections which are scored in the range of 200-800 with an optional essay exam (2-8 points).

✅ When should the applicant start preparation for the SAT Exam?

Ans : The candidate should start preparing for SAT Exam at least three months before. The preparation should include honing the high school knowledge and learning additional points for writing, reading, math and essay (optional) sections. They should prepare beforehand without leaving it for the end.

✅ How many times the applicant can take the SAT Exam?

Ans: The Applicant can take SAT Exam several times without any intervention from the Official College Board. However, the score of SAT exam is valid for up to 5 years. Thus, taking the Exam, again and again, can be useless when applying for the same University. Moreover, the College Board advises the candidates to take the SAT Exam 2 times and not more than 4-5 times.

✅ Can the applicant use calculator for the math section of the SAT Exam?

Ans : Yes, the College Board allows the applicants to use a calculator but only for calculator sections. However, sections with a no-calculator do not allow the applicants to bring or use the calculator for the questions.  

✅ Are there any specific eligibility criteria/aid for students with disabilities?

Ans : Yes, the applicants from the disabled category get some allowance and aid from the College Board in the SAT Exam. To have more knowledge about the same, the applicant or the guardian can contact the College Board or Customer Services.

About the Author & Expert


Rachit Agrawal

author • MBA • 2 years

Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.