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Entering US colleges with SAT

The College Board, a private, nonprofit organization in the United States owns SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. Educational Testing Service develops and administers SAT on behalf of the College Board and assesses a student’s readiness for college. The test measures literacy, writing skills, analyzing and problem solving skills learnt in the school that are needed in the college.

The SAT Reasoning Test has three main divisions – Math, Reading and Writing and lasts for three hours and forty-five minutes.

 Section Average Score Time (Minutes) Content
Writing 493 60 Grammar, Usage and Diction
Mathematics 515 70 Number & Operations, algebra and functions, geometry, statistics, probability and data analysis
Critical Reading 501 70 Vocabulary, Critical Reading and Sentence Level Reading

Each division has a maximum score of 800 and a total score of 2400. All questions are multiple choice questions except a short essay and ten math questions.

Critical Reading section of the SAT is made up of three scored sections: two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. Each section has varying questions, including sentence completions and questions about short and long reading passages. Critical Reading sections begin with 5 to 8 sentence completion questions; the rest of the questions are focused on the reading passages. Sentence completions test the student's vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure and organization by requiring the student to select one or two words that best complete a given sentence. Most of the Critical Reading section is made up of questions regarding reading passages, in which students read short excerpts on social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, or personal narratives and answer questions based on the passage.

Mathematics section of the SAT is known as the Quantitative or Calculation Section. The mathematics section consists of three scored sections -- two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section:

  • A multiple choice section with 20 questions.
  • The other section consists of 8 multiple choice questions and 10 grid-in questions. For grid-in questions, test-takers write the answer inside a grid on the answer sheet. Unlike multiple choice questions, there is no penalty for incorrect answers on grid-in questions because the test-taker is not limited to a few possible choices.
  • The 20-minute section is all multiple choice, with 16 questions.

SAT has introduced new topics including Algebra II and scatter plots. Four-function, scientific, and graphing calculators are permitted on the SAT math section; however, calculators are not permitted on either of the other sections.

The SAT tests an examinee’s writing skills with an essay that has to be written in 25 minutes and two grammar sections. The essay sub score contributes about 28% to the total writing score, with the multiple choice questions contributing 70%. The multiple choice questions include error-identification questions, sentence-improvement questions, and paragraph-improvement questions. Error-identification and sentence-improvement questions test the student's knowledge of grammar, presenting an awkward or grammatically incorrect sentence; in the error identification section, the student must locate the word producing the source of the error or indicate that the sentence has no error, while the sentence improvement section requires the student to select an acceptable fix to the awkward sentence. The paragraph improvement questions test the student's understanding of logical organization of ideas, presenting a poorly written student essay and asking a series of questions as to what changes might be made to best improve it.

The essay section, which is always administered as the first section of the test, is 25 minutes long. All essays must be in response to a given prompt. The prompts are broad and often philosophical and are designed to be accessible to students regardless of their educational and social backgrounds.

2014 SAT Fees

SAT Fees
 Test/Circumstance Fee More Info Fee Waiver/Reduction Available?
The SAT Test $51 The Standard SAT Test Waiver Available
SAT Subject Tests: Language with Listening $48.50 Subject Test Details Waiver available
All Other SAT Subject Tests $37.50 Subject Test Details Waiver available
Phone Registration $15 Only if you've registered before Nope
Change Fee $27.50 Test type, center or date changes Nope
Late Fee $27.50 Registering after regular registration ends Nope
Waitlist Testing Fee $45 Missed late registration and still want to test Nope
Africa Fee $31 Testing in Africa Nope
Americas Fee $31 Testing outside of U.S. and territories Nope
East Asia/Pacific Fee $40 Testing in East Asia and Pacific Regions Nope
Europe and Eurasia Fee $35 Testing in East Asia and Pacific Regions Nope
Middle East Fee $35 Testing in Middle East Nope
South and Central Asia Fee $40 Testing in South and Central Asia Nope
Scores by Phone $15 Per call! Nope
SAT Question and Answer Service $18 To verify your scores yourself Waiver Available
SAT Student Answer Service $13.50 Shows you what questions you missed, level of difficulty, etc. Waiver Available
Multiple-Choice Verification $55 Have someone hand-score the multiple-choice parts of the SAT to verify your score Reduction available
Essay Score Verification $55 Have someone evaluate the first essay score Waiver Available
Additional Score Reports $15 If you want to send scores to more than the four included schools Waiver available
Rush Score Reporting $31 or more Sends scores out within 2 business days Nope
Archived SAT Test Scores $30.50 or more If you want to see scores from the past Nope

The score reports are released online three weeks after the test or six weeks for postal results. The scores for each section are graded on a scale of 200–800 and two sub scores for the writing section: the essay score and the multiple choice sub score. The scores also include student percentile (the percentage of other test takers with lower scores) and their raw score, or the number of points gained from correct answers and lost from incorrect answers.

The chart below summarizes the percentiles that various SAT scores for college-bound seniors correspond to:

 Percentile Score, 1600 Scale (official, 2006) Score, 2400 Scale (official, 2006)
99.93/99.98* 1600 2400
99+ ** ≥1540 ≥2280
99 ≥1480 ≥2200
98 ≥1450 ≥2140
97/td> ≥1340 ≥1990
93 ≥1340 ≥1990
88/td> ≥1280 ≥1990
81 ≥1220 ≥1800
72 ≥1150 ≥1700
61 ≥1090 ≥1600
48 ≥1010 ≥1500
36 ≥950 ≥1400
24 ≥870 ≥1300
15 ≥810 ≥1200
8 ≥730 ≥1090
4 ≥650 ≥990
2 ≥590 ≥890
2 ≥590 ≥890
* The percentile of the perfect score was 99.98 on the 2400 scale and 99.93 on the 1600 scale.
** 99+ means better than 99.5 percent of test takers.


Firstly I would like to thanks Bhawna and Siddhartha for the regular support they provided to my son during his tenure with INDO GLOBAL for the SAT coaching. There was not much time left for his exam , when he enrolled with them but the continuous support and personalized attention helped him a lot to get the score of 2360 in his exam. He was always afraid of the reading comprehensions but the study material and the regular guidance of the instructors was very helpful. The study material also helped him a long way to get a decent score of 10 in the essay, the extracts from the novels and history helped him a long way to achieve this score, as I was told by him. I thank to god that I made a right decision of sending him to INDOGLOBAL.

Kriti Gupta

I am very much satisfied with the score I achieved that is 2150 in my SAT exam. The faculty and the study material was a great help to me. I was completely unaware about the SAT when I went to them. The counseling and the diagnostic test made me acquainted me to the test pattern. As the test was lengthy I was horrified with the idea. But when I joined the classes and they started teaching me and raised the difficulty level of the lessons swiftly. I was able to score good marks in the respective sections. This boosted my confidence and I started enjoying learning and more of practicing. I was able to absorb all the techniques they provided me and apply them efficiently. Thanx a ton to all my teachers.

Pranav Singh

I am a student of 12th class who had enrolled for SAT prep @ INDO GLOBAL. I'm very much contented with the score of 2120 that I have got. When I appeared for the diagnostic test, I got a mere 1450 score, but with the three months preparation at INDOGLOBAL. I was able to score 2120, it was an amazing experience. Their material and their unique method of teaching is apt for any student who is planning on taking the SAT. Not only this, I would like to extend my vote of thanks to the faculty of the institute who always motivated me and guided me to my success.

Abhinav Bharti

The score of 2310 was unbelievable to me, not only I but my parents were also at a surprise to know my scores. The credit goes to my teachers at INDO GLOBAL. I always found the vocabulary very boring but the innovative idea of teaching vocabulary through pictures, made me interested in learning the meanings and memorizing the words. The rules of grammar that were taught in the class were very helpful to get correct answers in the writing section. The quick methods of solving the Math questions, helped me to score well in the Math section. However initially I struggled with time but the various strategies were of great help. INDOGLOBAL has been a launch pad for my studies abroad. Thanks for the assistance!!!

Antarikka Roy