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SAT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are the available methods of SAT registration?

A: First-time test-takers can sign up either online or by standard mail. Students taking the SAT again can register on the phone, but there is an extra fee of $15 for this service.

Q: How often is the SAT offered?

A: The SAT is currently available seven times per year in the United States and four times per year in other countries. See the College Board website for a list of test dates.

Q: What SAT scores will I need for college?

A: The College Board considers a total score of 1010 (480 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 530 Math) to be the minimum necessary for college readiness. However, most selective schools have average SAT scores that are quite a bit higher.

Q: Do I have to take the SAT in order to go to college?

A: Not necessarily. Students have a variety of testing choices for admission to American universities, all of which will accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT. Additionally, some schools do not require standardized testing at all (these institutions are known as "test-optional" colleges and universities).

Q: I'm an American high school student who intends to go to college abroad. Will my chosen university accept the SAT?

A: Maybe. The best way to find out is to review your school's admission requirements for international students.

Q: Does the SAT require fluency in the English language?

A: Yes.

Q: What are the main SAT question types?

A: All of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing questions are multiple choice, as are most of the questions on the Math section. However, there are some Math questions that require the test-taker to enter a numerical answer (these are called "gridded response" questions).

Q: How much does it cost to take the SAT?

A: $46 without the essay and $60 with the essay if you're testing in the United States. SAT administrations in other countries carry an additional charge between $38 and $53.

Q: Who administers the SAT?

A: Day-to-day administration of the SAT is handled by Educational Testing Service (ETS), but the SAT is owned and developed by the College Board. These are separate organizations.

Q: What's the best SAT preparation book?

A: The Official SAT Study Guide, published by the College Board. However, we don't encourage students to attempt to prepare for the SAT on books alone.

Q: How is the SAT scored?

A: Test-takers receive a total score of 400-1600, section scores of 200-800 each, a separate essay score, test scores, subscores, and cross-test scores.

Q: When will I receive my score reports?

A: The College Board website lists the score report windows for each test date. The average is approximately three weeks after the test, and multiple-choice section scores are usually available a few days before essay scores.

Q: How long does it take to prepare for the SAT?

A: We suggest at least 100 hours spread out over 2-3 months. Beginning the preparation process too soon or too late is not likely to produce optimal results. We also advise students to undergo regular practice testing.