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What is the SAT?

The SAT (which used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test but now stands for literally nothing) is one of two college entry exams necessary for US college admissions.

Colleges use your SAT score to measure how ready you are for college courses as well as your future potential.

Each college has its own average SAT score expectation but US colleges assess your application holistically so it’s possible to get into your dream college without getting the best SAT score.

Before we talk about SAT scores, let’s dive into the meat of the exam.

SAT Exam Explained...

In 2016, the SAT got a facelift.

The new SAT exam consists of three required sections (Reading, Writing and Language, and Math), as well as one optional section (an essay); however, most colleges require the essay as well.

All of the sections (minus the essay) are multiple choice and each section will feature at least one graph or table.

The exam is offered seven times a year in the US and four times a year in other countries around the world.

It costs $46 USD without the essay, $60 USD with the essay for US students, and $46 USD without the essay plus regional fees, $60 USD with the essay plus regional fees for international students (regional fees range from $38 USD to $49 USD depending on where you take the exam).

What is a good SAT Score?

A good SAT score depends on which university you wish to attend.

Most elite universities, such as the Ivy Leagues, look for students whose scores range between 1410 and 1600.

While these scores seem insanely high, it’s important to keep in mind that you do not need phenomenal SAT scores to get into a top US college… however, it does help.

However, not all universities have such high average SAT scores.

Read our blog to find out what SAT scores various US colleges are looking for.

SAT vs. ACT: Which one?

In order to get into college in the US, you must sit either the SAT or the ACT.

The main difference between the two exams is that the ACT is designed for you not to finish. There are literally so many questions on the exam that the test makers know you probably aren’t going to reach the end, and that’s okay!

However, many people may not do as well under such strict time constraints.

Most colleges don’t prefer one exam over the other, so it’s best to sit the one that plays to your strengths.

There’s no harm in taking both exams once, seeing which you do better on, and then retaking that exam.

Or, simply sit a few practice exams to figure out which exam is best for you.

Want to learn more? Luckily, we wrote an in-depth guide on the differences between the SAT and the ACT!

SAT Study Guide

In order to do well on the SAT you must prepare at least six months in advance. Luckily, the SAT is a relatively predictable exam so there are steps you can take to ensure that your preparation will actually increase your score.

The best way to prepare for the SAT is to sit as many practice exams as you can, including between two to three in the actual exam environment, time limits and all.

There are many other ways you can prepare for the SAT including:

  • Creating a study schedule
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Studying with friends
  • Tracking your mistakes
  • Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses
  • Reading anything and everything

Remember, the more you prepare, the more comfortable you’ll be with the exam come test day, so start early and study often – but don’t forget to take a few breaks every once in awhile!

Check out our SAT Study Guide

Why Crimson SAT Tutoring?

Crimson pairs you up with the best mentors and tutors from around the world to help you improve your score based on your personal needs and pain points.

With over 2,000 tutors, all of whom received the highest marks, you can be certain that you are in good hands.

Your tutors will help you set realistic goals and ensure you meet them through regular assessments and one-on-one sessions based on your schedule.

Take a look at this link to find out more about our SAT tutoring.

Reimagine what's possible with the SAT