The SAT is currently the most commonly administered college aptitude test in the US. For decades, the material of the SAT was intentionally written to test students' skills with college subjects and curriculum. However, as of 2016, the SAT's content is written to more closely mirror typical high school studies.
High school students usually take the SAT exam during their 11th and 12th grade years to prove they're ready to move on to college. As such, the test assesses the various skills students will need to thrive in college-level courses. The SAT not only gauges how well students understand their curriculum and the skills related to them, but also their ability to successfully find solutions to complex questions.
In order to gauge the preparedness of today's students in the most thorough possible manner, an individual student's SAT scores are often considered in conjunction with their overall grade point average.
The SAT exam focuses on four subjects in all: The Essay, Mathematics, Writing, and Reading. The Mathematics part of the SAT further splits into two subsections: one where students can use a calculator to solve equations, and one where they cannot. The SAT spans a total of 154 questions, not counting the essay prompt. Additionally, almost every part of the exam (excluding the essay) features several multiple-choice questions, as well as their own unique time limits.
The SAT Essay will generally last about an hour and features one prompt. The Mathematics test has 58 questions total and spans 80 minutes; it is also unique in that its questions are not entirely in multiple choice format. Some questions will require test takers to write their answers into a grid. Furthermore, 38 questions on the Math portion can be answered with a calculator, while 20 questions must be worked out without the aid of a calculator. The calculator part of the Math section is 55 minutes long, and the calculator-free part has a 25-minute span.
The Writing section of the SAT will span a total of 35 minutes and features 44 questions. The Reading portion is 65 minutes long and possesses a total of 52 questions.
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