SAT 2019 – 2020

If you are thinking of applying for an undergraduate degree, especially in the USA or Canada, it’s important for you to know what SAT is and how it will impact your application process.

SAT 2019 Essentials

Name of the Exam SAT
Designed and Developed by College board
Administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Exam mode Paper based
SAT fee $98.50 (without essay) and $113.50 (with essay)
SAT Exam Length 3 hours (An additional 50 minutes if you opt for essay)
SAT Sections Reading
Writing and Language
Mathematics with no calculator
Mathematics with calculator allowed
Score Range 400-1600 overall
Average SAT Score 1060
Score Validity 5 years

What is SAT?

SAT is one of the two standardized college admissions tests administered by the College Board, a non-profit organization in the United States. The other test administered is the ACT.

SAT Subject Test

The SAT test or SAT 1 is a test that must be taken by students who wish to apply for undergraduate programs. This test evaluates students on written, verbal and mathematical skills. The SAT Subject Test or SAT 2 is a subject focussed test. This test evaluates a student’s knowledge about a specific subject. If a student is seeking admission to a specific course, then he/she will need to take the SAT Subject Specific test. Click here for a list of specific subjects tested.

History of SAT

Originally adapted from an Army IQ test, the SAT was administered as a college entrance test for the first time in 1926. But, it was in 1933 that this test gained prominence when the president of Harvard University began using SAT to gauge scholarship applications. He believed that this test was an effective way to test the intellectual ability of the students. This helps SAT become popular and by 1940 it became a standard test for all college applications with over 30,000 students taking this test across USA.

However in 1959, the SAT’s domination was challenged by another testing mechanism, the ACT. The ACT surpassed the SAT by around 2010 to become the most popular college admission test

In 2016, some big changes were done to the structure and content of the SAT exam and by 2018, the SAT one again became the most popular college admission test for undergraduate students.

Purpose of SAT

The purpose of SAT is to help college authorities determine your readiness for an undergraduate course. They do this by measuring key skills like reading comprehension, computational ability, and clarity of expression. This test is designed for high school students who are planning to go to college for further studies.

Why do students take the SAT?

Students who plan to join an undergraduate program in the USA or Canada are required to take the SAT. Many colleges will ask for your SAT scores. In fact, as much as 50% of the admission decisions taken by colleges can be based on how good your SAT scores are, so getting a high test score is crucial. Apart from this, some schools also offer scholarships based your scores.

Countries that accept SAT

Many colleges in but USA and Canada accept SAT scores. However, many other countries, including India, are now accepting SAT scores. Click here to find a list of colleges across the globe that accept SAT.

Colleges that accept SAT

Most of the colleges in the US and Canada accept either SAT or ACT for admissions to their undergraduate programs. Some colleges accept both SAT or ACT, so please check the admissions requirements specified by the college of your choice.

SAT Eligibility

The College Board has not specified any eligibility criteria that students need to adhere to in order to appear for The SAT test. However, students who want to apply for under graduation should have completed their high school to get admission into an undergraduate program.

  • Age limit for SAT

There is no minimum or maximum age specified for SAT. However, studies indicate that highest number of students who appear for this exam fall under the 17 -19 age group.

How many times can you take SAT exams?

Again there are no specification about the same. You can take this exam as many times as you wish.

How often is SAT administered?

In most countries, the SAT is conducted at least four to six times in a year.

What does the SAT cover? (Syllabus)

SAT test assess a student’s language, comprehension and analytical skills. The following are the details:

Sections: The SAT has four sections as well as an optional essay. The sections include:

  • Reading
  • Writing and Language
  • Mathematics with no calculator
  • Mathematics with calculator allowed

If you opt for the essay, then it will become the final session of the SAT test.

Score: can range between 400-1600 for overall test

Most SAT questions are in the multiple choice format, but five questions on Math No Calculator and eight questions on Math Calculator will be grid-ins.

Exam Pattern

Section Time (Minutes) Number of Questions asked Subjects
Reading 65 52
  • Sentence Completion
  • US and World Literature
  • History / Social Studies
  • Sciences
Writing and Language 35 44
  • Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions
  • History / Social Studies
  • Humanities
  • Sciences
  • Problem Solving
  • Data Analysis
  • Algebra
  • Advanced Math
Without calculator 25 20
With calculator 55 38
Essay (Optional) To be taken based on college requirement 50 1 600-750 word essay – objective is to analyse an author’s argument
3 Hours 50 mins (with Essay)
3 Hours (without essay)
154 (+1 essay if opted for)

SAT Test and Score Release Dates 2019-2020

In India, the SAT test is conducted four times in a year. In October, December, March and May.

Test Date Test Type Registration Due Date Score Release Date
7 December, 2019 SAT TestSAT Subject Test 8 November, 2019 20 December, 2019
14 March, 20120 SAT Test 14 February, 2020 27 March, 2020
2 May, 2020 SAT TestSAT Subject Test 3 April, 2020 15 May, 2020
6 June, 2020 SAT Subject Test 8 May, 2020 15 July, 2020

SAT Test Fees

The following is the fee for SAT test for International students.

Test Type Fees Total
SAT Test without essay $47.50 + $49 Non-U.S. Regional Fee (India) $96.50
SAT Test with essay $64.50 + $49 Non-U.S. Regional Fee (India) $113.50

Subject Test: Students need to pay an additional amount of $26 as basic test fee. Please note that some additional fees may be levied for the SAT subject tests.

SAT Cancellation Fees

It is advisable to reschedule your test date than cancelling it as it is expensive. Please note that fees cannot be refunded later than five days before the test. Moreover, only $10 will be refunded back and not the full amount.

SAT Rescheduling fees

Students who wish to change the Test Centre or Date or change from SAT to SAT Subject Tests are required to pay an extra $30 as rescheduling fees. Other details include:

Description Rescheduling Fees
Change in Date or Test Centre $30
Late registration fee $30
Waitlist Fee $53

How Is the SAT Scored?

You are given a total score between 400 – 1600 when you take the SAT test. There are two major sections in the SAT, they are, Evidence-based reading and writing (this is a combination of Reading + Writing + Language) and Mathematics. You can earn a scaled score between 200-800 marks per section.

Scoring scale

Where does the scoring scale come from?

First, you are given marks for each topic area. These marks are the marks you got for correct answers. (There is no negative marking). Once all the marks are counted per section, the total marks are then converted into a ‘scaled score’. This is done by a process called as equating, and is done by the College Board.

What is a good score in SAT?

The average scores are around 1068 and a score above 1200 is considered as a good score. However, the college you apply to will determine what counts as a “good score”. To get into the top colleges, you need to score around 1500 or more.

How to register for the SAT Test?

Students can register online or by sending a physical mail (offline). The online method is very popular. In order to apply online, students first need to create their Login ID on the SAT website (for more details click how to register) and then complete the registration process.

How to Send SAT Scores to Colleges?

There are three ways of sending your CAT scores to college.

  1. When you register for SAT Exam, you can sign up to send the SAT scores. Up to four free score reports can be sent to the college of your choice within nine days after you have taken the SAT test.
  2. Send your SAT score reports after taking the test for a free. You need to pay a fee of $12 (unless you are eligible for a fee waiver) to send a score report after nine days have elapsed.
  3. Request an SAT rush order. In the event that you need to send your SAT scores as soon as possible to the college, you can request for a rush order. Your scores will be sent to colleges within 2-4 working days for an additional fee of $31+ any regular fees.

SAT Test Administration Centres

Around 53 institutes spread across 30 cities in India administer SAT. Since there are many students booking slots for test, you may have to apply almost a month in advance to take the test. You can search for test centres here.

When to take the SAT?

Timing is an important factor when it comes to taking the SAT test. When you want to take the test should be based on the following considerations:

College Application Deadlines

Appear for your test well in advance to prevent any last minute misses. Generally, it is recommended that students apply 8-10 months in advance for a hassle free admission process.


Students who are seeking scholarships based on the SAT score should appear for the test well in advance as it takes a long time to process the scholarship and involves a lot of paperwork.

Preparation Time

Students who need more time to study should schedule their test based on the time needed to prepare. The test is expensive so it is advisable to take the exam with adequate preparation.

Good luck with your SAT exams.