Everything about SAT Exam 2019

The Scholastic Assessment Test or the SAT, as it is popularly known, is administered by the non-profit The College Board. The test is used across most top universities to compare applicants on a more uniform basis than GPAs or AP classes.

The test was launched in 1926 and was inspired highly by an army IQ test. When Harvard started using this test as a means of admission in 1933, the test gained sudden popularity amongst applicants to undergrad universities and colleges, and the institutions themselves.

The test did not see many major changes, i.e., till the year 2016. Due to the vast popularity that ACT, a competitor test, was gaining, the SAT was forced to make improvements to the existing test patterns. These changes did cause somewhat of a fuss amongst test-takers as the pattern was seemingly completely renewed.

On a deeper inspection one would find many similarities in the old and the new SAT. That however is not our topic of discussion today.

While the SAT was previously a popular method of undergraduate standardized test in countries like the USA, Canada, and the UK, it is slowly making its presence known in India as well. Thanks to the College Board’s initiative a group of Indian universities, The India Global Higher Education Alliance, have also started accepting SAT scores for admissions.

This also opens many doors to Indian students who wish to study in top global universities but don’t have the economic backing to support this dream. The College Board has also opened many channels for Indian students to receive scholarships through their SAT scores.

The College Board also has SAT subject tests and AP (Advanced Placement) programs that help students in embellishing their undergraduate applications.

Before looking at how much you would need to pay for this test, let’s look at the blueprint for the same as that would help you navigate the pricing.


The changes that the SAT underwent in 2016 were significant but the most significant was the making of the, previously mandatory, essay section into an option.

To make it easier to understand the blueprint of the test, let’s look at a table.

Subject Sub-sections Duration Questions Sub-scores Score Range
Evidence Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) Reading Writing Reading: 65 minutes
Writing: 35 minutes
Total: 100 minutes
Reading: 52 (Multiple Choice)
Writing: 44 (Multiple Choice)
Total: 96
Command of Evidence Words in Context Expression of Ideas Standard English Conventions 200-800
Math Calculator No Calculator Calculator: 55 minutes No Calculator: 25 minutes Total: 80 minutes Calculator: 37 (Multiple Choice) No Calculator: 20 (Answer Grid) Total: 57 Heart of Algebra Problem Solving and Data Analysis Passport to Advanced Math 200-800
Essay (optional) - 50 minutes 1 - 8-8-8
Total EBRW Math (Optional) Essay 3 hours + (Optional) 50 minutes 153 + (Optional) 1 EBRW: 3 Math: 4 400-1600 + 8-8-8

Calculator section of SAT Math, and the Essay section.

The answer grid is a simple question type which does not have any multiple-choice answers like most of the SAT. This is found in the No Calculator section of SAT Math and, as the name suggests, requires the test-taker to solve the questions without using a calculator. The answer that the test-taker then reaches on is noted by filling in the circles on the corresponding answer grid for the question.

As far as the optional essay section on the SAT goes, it will only contain one question that the student is required to answer within 50 minutes.

The new SAT Essay section requires the student to analyze the author’s stance on an argument through the evidence he has provided in the question.

Your composite SAT score of 1600 does not carry the Essay score within itself. The score of an Essay is given by two examiners. The examiners score each essay in three segments, Reading, Analysis, and Writing. They then allocate scores between 1-4 for each segment which are then added to decide you Essay score out of the perfect Essay score of 8-8-8.

Selecting to give the Essay or not will also have a direct effect on the fee you pay for your SAT.

Should you take the optional essay?

Since the SAT essay is optional now, under the new SAT guidelines, it forces a student to ask themselves, ‘Should I even take the SAT essay?

There is no yes or no answer to this question. It completely depends on your situation and the schools you’re applying to. However, I would like to add that most SAT test takers will choose to take the essay nonetheless.

The first important factor to consider while deciding to take the SAT essay is your school selection. If the schools you wish to apply to demand for an SAT essay, you will have no other option than to take it. This is because not having an essay in such a case can reflect as a flaw in your application. If the schools of your choice do not demand the essay, you have the choice to chuck it. However, if you aren’t sure of which schools you’ll be applying to, taking the essay would be the safer route.

The second important factor that a student needs to take into consideration is the added fee. An SAT essay costs an extra. Although the fee is only $15 more than the fee for an SAT without the essay, if you’re already paying an arm and a leg for the SAT, skipping the essay might not be a bad idea since you will application fees for the colleges you apply to as well.

These aren’t the sole reasons to base your decision on though, for more details on how to make the decision of opting for the optional SAT essay, please refer to this blog .


SAT fee rupee note money

The SAT fee structure has various elements that can either increase or decrease the total fee you pay to take the test.

  1. The fee for the SAT exam (without essay) is $47.50 + Non-U.S. Regional Fee. Non-U.S. Regional Fee for students giving SAT Test in India is $49, so the total SAT fee is $96.50
  2. The fee for the SAT exam with Essay is $64.50 + Non-U.S. Regional Fee, which makes it a total of $113.50.
  3. Fee for SAT subject tests , candidates have to pay an additional $26 as a basic subject test fee.


The SAT result isn’t promptly available to the test-taker and he/she might have to wait a while before it is.

The SAT releases an individual’s official test-score, not including the essay score, after a 13-day period. This is the composite SAT score of 1600. If you had taken the optional essay, you will receive the official essay score another 5 days after receiving your composite SAT score.

Students can sign in to their accounts on The College Board’s official website to send their official SAT score reports to the colleges of their choice. They can also cancel their scores and withhold the same from any college if they wish to.

Should I Take the SAT or the ACT?

Since most colleges and undergraduate universities do not have a preference for either the SAT or the ACT, students tend to get more confused on which one to take.

While both the exams have similar sections, a student’s performance could be better on one over the other.

One of the major differences between the SAT and the ACT is the science section. The SAT does not contain a separate section for science, as you can tell from the format above, but the ACT does. That being said, if you’re inclined towards a science major, the ACT will give you a chance to showoff your skills in the subject. The SAT also tests students on scientific concepts but in a more subtly way throughout the test.

But the science section isn’t enough to formulate your decision about which test suits you the best. Read our in-depth analysis of the differences between SAT and ACT to find out which test you should take.

When should you take the SAT?

While most students take the SAT at the end of their high school, right before they apply to undergraduate colleges, one can take the SAT in any grade they want to since the CollegeBoard doesn’t have eligibility criteria for when a student can take the SAT.

However, taking the SAT from grade 8 is also quite popular. The CollegeBoard provides students and concerned parties with a list of benchmarks depending on the grade the student taking the SAT is in, and says that students who meet the score benchmarks have a 75% chance of securing at-least a C in the first semester of college.

When you receive your SAT score report, you will see some signs next to the EBRW and Math section scores. These signs are to mark your performance against the benchmark.

  1. A green sign means you have exceeded or met the benchmark.
  2. A yellow sign signifies a score which falls one-year short of the academic growth of the set benchmark.
  3. A red sign indicates a score which falls much shorter, than one -year worth of academic growth, of the benchmark.

This table contains the list of scores per section set as benchmark for high-school

Grade Benchmark in Math Benchmark in EBRW Benchmark in Total
8th 430 390 820
9th 450 410 860
10th 480 430 910
11th 510 460 970
College Ready 530 480 1010

What should be your SAT goal score?

It’s important to know the SAT scores of your target schools before you actually set a goal score for your own self.

Look at the table before we get to the part of setting a goal score.

Score Range College Name Sat 25th Percentile Sat 75th Percentile
1340-1600 Stanford University
Harvard University
University of Pennsylvania
Rice University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1200-1340 University of Southern California
New York University
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Northeastern University
Cornell University
1030-1200 University of California - Los Angeles
University of Texas - Austin
Penn State
Virginia Tech
University of Florida

This table consists of the top 5 popular schools in the different score ranges.

If your target schools are in the 1200-1340, or 1030-1200 SAT score ranges, make a list of the 25th percentile scores of all those schools. arrange these scores in ascending order and the highest score should be your goal score.

However, if you’re aiming at schools in the 1340-1600 range, top tier undergraduate universities, then you must focus on the scores in the 75th percentile range rather than the 25th percentile. This is due to the increased competition at top tier schools.

Remember that your SAT score isn’t the defining factor of your profile. If your score on the SAT is a few points lower than your goal score, you could still have a shot at your dream school through working on your application essays, recommendations etc.

How to send SAT scores to colleges?

SAT offers you fours free score reports to send to colleges, and any additional reports cost extra. These four score reports are only available since you register for the SAT to nine days after you take the test. Any score reports you send after the aforementioned period will cost you an additional fee even if you did not or partially use these four free reports.

The only downfall to the four free score reports is that you don’t get to see your scores before you decide which schools to send them to. So even if you don’t wish send scores after seeing them, you won’t really have a choice.

The other option you have is to pay a $12 fee and send out additional score reports to the school once the scores are available on your account you registered for your SAT through. this method also allows a student to select the scores they want the colleges to see from all the available scores in their score report.

How to prepare for the SAT?

If you have decided to take the SAT, you’ll be faced with a more difficult and crucial decision. How to prepare for the SAT?

Whether you decide to join SAT prep classes or prepare for the test on your own, you must have a study plan ready for your SAT prep. Since you already have a goal score, your next step should be taking a diagnostic SAT test to find out your base score.

A base score is the score that you can get on the SAT without any prep involved. When subtracted from the goal score, you can find the score improvement you need to make through rigorous prep to have the right SAT score for your applications.

The score improvement you require also helps in determining the approximate number of hours you need to spend studying for the SAT in order to make that improvement.

Point Improvement Hours of Study
>30 10
30-70 20
70-130 40
130-200 80
200< 150+

Once you know the number of hours you need to study, check out our sample study plan for SAT to get started with your prep.

Re-taking the SAT?

If you’re thinking about retaking the SAT, there are a few things that you need to do. But before we get to that list, let’s be clear about the retaking policies.

The CollegeBoard allows numerous SAT retakes by a student. There is also no condition that requires you to wait any given amount of time before taking your SAT. Thus, you can take an SAT whenever you wish to even if you have taken it a 100-times before.

The only condition here is that your score report only reflects the scores of the 6 latest SATs taken by you.

Now let’s look at a few situations when you should re-take the SAT.

  1. If your SAT score is 50+ points less than your Mock test scores.
  2. If your SAT score is no more than 400 points less than your goal score. If the difference between your SAT goal score and SAT actual score is more than 400 points you should re-think your goal score (If you did the best you could on the test).
  3. You couldn’t perform the test to your best abilities due to nervousness, or any other mishap during the test day.
  4. Your preparation was not up to the mark.
  5. If you have taken the SAT only once, giving yourself some more prep time and taking the test again would be a smart idea as you’d be more familiar with the pattern.
  6. If you hadn’t opted for the essay and your college is demanding the same.
  7. If the College admissions committee members have asked you to do so.

How to choose an SAT test center?

Although the SAT administered across 53 test centers all over India, applicants still need to apply at-least a month in advance to book their seats.

The problem arises due to the scarcity of dates available to give the test. The SAT is administered only once a month and thus sees every test center completely booked by aspirants on the test date. Also, having a good test-center is quite important to your performance on test-day.

Here are the things to check before deciding to book a test-center.

  1. How far is the test center from your place of residence. Choosing a nearby center can help save you the hustle of making it in time and beating traffic on test day.
  2. Is there any active construction around the test center, and if yes, how close? Having the sound of a jack hammer doing its thing can be much more distracting during your test than you would think.
  3. Read some reviews on the test center or ask some fellow SAT test takers about the same. Some test-centers have a reputation for being a great environment for test taking, and some have quite the opposite.


Here is an exhaustive list of the SAT test centers to help you find one in your city.


Ahmedabad International School, Judges Bungalow Road, Opposite Rajpath Row Houses, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad – 380 054

• Delhi Public School Bopal, Bopal Square, Near Bopal Railway Crossing, Ahmedabad – 380 058


• Spring Dale Senior School, FatehgarhChurian Road, Amritsar – 143 001


• Bangalore International School, Gedalahalli, HennurBagalur Road, Kothanur Post, Bangalore – 560 077

• Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, 15 Residency Road, Bangalore – 560 025

• Canadian International School, 4 & 20 Manchenahalli, Yelahanka, Bangalore – 560 064

• Ebenezer International School Bangalore, Singena Agrahara Road, Via Huskur Road / A.P.M.C. Yard, Huskur P.O, Electronic City, Bangalore – 560 099

• The International School Bangalore, NAFL Valley, Whitefield - Sarjapur Road, Near Dommasandra Circle, Bangalore – 562 125


• Billabong High International School & Kangaroo Kids, Beyond Bhadbhada, Neelbad, Bhopal – 462 044


• Mother's Public School, Unit 1, Bapuji Nagar, Bhubaneshwar – 751 009

• SAI International School, Plot-5A, Chandrasekharpur, Infocity Road, Bhubaneswar – 751 024


• Strawberry Fields High School, Sector 26, Chandigarh – 160 019


• Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School, 1, Anderson Road, Cochin House, Chennai – 600 006

• CPS Global School Anna Nagar Campus: A 80, IIIrd Avenue, Anna Nagar Roundtana, Anna Nagar East, Chennai – 600 102

• Thirumazhisai Campus: Thiruvallur High Road, SH 50, Off Ponamallee Motel Highway, Thirumazhisai, Chennai – 600 124


• Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Pandit Karuppan Rd, Thevara, Ernakulam, Kerala – 682 013

Delhi NCR

• Pathways School Noida, Sector 100 Noida – 201 301


• Navrachana International School, Vadodara, Vasna-Bhayali Road, Vadodara – 391 410


• Pathways School Gurgaon, Off Gurugram Faridabad Road, Gurugram – 122 003

• Pathways World School Aravali, Off Gurugram Sohna Road, Gurugram – 122 102

• St. Michael's Senior Secondary School, Shivpuri, Sector 7, Gurugram – 122 001

• Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Sector 62, Gurgaon – 122 011


• Sanskriti – The Gurukul, Village Gugh, Ahomgaon, P.O. Garchuk, NH - 37, Opp ISBT, Guwahati – 781 035


• Chirec Public School Kondapur Campus: 1-55/12, CHIREC Avenue, Kondapur, Kothaguda (PO), Hyderabad – 500 084

• Gachibowli Campus: Plot Nos. 277 to 282, Telecom Officers Colony, Bhaghyalakshmi Nagar, Phase – II, Serilingampally. Hyderabad – 500 018

• Jubilee Hills Campus: Plot No. 962, Road No.48, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad – 500033 Hyderabad, Telangana

• Uniti Foundation, Paigah Plaza, 702, Palace Colony Rd, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad, Telangana – 500 029

• Sreenidhi International School, Near AP Police Academy, Near AppaJunctiion, Aziznagar, Moinabad, Hyderabad, Telangana – 500 075

• Oakridge International School, Nanakramguda Road, Cyberabad, Khajaguda, Manikonda, Hyderabad, Telangana – 500 008

• Delhi Public School Hyderabad, Survey No 74, Khajaguda Village, Golkonda Post, Hyderabad – 500 008


• Jayshree Periwal International School, Mahapura Rd, Narayan-Y-Block, Mahapura, Rajasthan – 302 026


• Kodaikanal International School, Seven Roads Junction, Club Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu – 624 101


• La Martiniere Calcutta for Boys, 11, Dr. U. N. Brahmachari Street (Loudon Street), Elgin, Kolkata, West Bengal – 700 017

• South City International School, 375, Prince Anwar Shah Rd, South City Complex, Jadavpur, Kolkata, West Bengal – 700 068

• United States – India Educational Foundation, The American Center, 38A, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata, West Bengal – 700 071

• Assembly of God Church School, 125, Park St, Mullick Bazar, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal – 700 017


• City Montessori School, 12, Station Road, Lucknow

Maharashtra, Pune

• Symbiosis International School, Gate No. 3, Symbiosis Viman Nagar Campus, Off., New Airport Road, Viman Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra – 411 014


• Learning Paths School, Plot No 3, Sector 67, Behind Niper, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Punjab – 160 062


• Aditya Birla World Academy, VastuShilpAnnexe, Gamadia colony, JD Road Tardeo, Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400 007

• Anjuman-I-Islam HS, D.N. Road, Opp. CST, Mumbai – 400 001

• Bombay Teachers' Training College Colaba, MB Marg, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400 001

• Cathedral and John Connon School, 6, PurushottamdasThakurdas Marg, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400 001


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