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What Is SAT? How To Calculate Average Score?

by Martha Simmonds

Every year students have to pass tests, exams, and hand in course papers or projects. Testing is always stressful when students are not ready. Lauren Bradshaw, a professional writer on CustomWritings, recommends creating a prep plan and following it. “The best option is to take tests in advance and have a chance to repeat them in case of bad results”, she says.

Indeed, those who have little time, always feel better and have higher grades in ACT, SAT, and various academic assignments.

SAT: Definition, Structure, Requirements

SAT belongs to exams a school student needs to take to enter a college. The College Board creates questions, types them, and prints. Educational Testing Service also contributes to the test creation. The SAT is obligatory in most American and Canadian colleges. One should visit the official website of a college to find out the requirements. What is the purpose of the SAT? Its purpose is to check whether a student is ready for college or not.

Students cannot take it online. A student must have only knowledge and a pencil to fill it in. Nevertheless, the test is not free. It costs about $50 for an average test and $65 for testing with an essay. Both Americans and foreign students can take it. In the case of foreign participants, there will be additional fees.

The exam might consist of four sections – three compulsory and one optional. Math, Reading, and Language sections are compulsory and essay writing is a selective part.


This section tests one’s vocabulary and ability to understand the text. Texts are usually about social studies, historical and scientific fields. These are extracts from documents about the foundation of the country, its or world literature, something about psychology, sociology, economics, and other sciences. A person has one hour and 5 minutes to answer 52 multiple-choice questions.


This section consists of two parts.

• The first one includes twenty questions where one is not allowed to use calculators. A student ticks the right answer in 15 multiple-choice tests and writes free answers to another 5 questions. One has to finish them in 25 minutes.

• The second part has thirty-eight questions. A student can use a calculator to provide 8 free answers and select the correct variant out of 4 suggested in 30 multi-choice tests. One has 55 minutes to finish this section.


This part has 44 multiple-choice questions that a person answers in 35 minutes. A student needs to paraphrase sentences, choose better lexical units, correct grammar mistakes, simplify arguments. Just like in the reading section, a person is given texts with or without visualization. One finds underlined sentences or words that demand replacement, improvement, or correction.

Essay (optional)

This part is not compulsory. One needs to make sure that the selected college demands it. The College Board will cancel this part in June 2021 because of the pandemic situation. Those, who take the exam earlier, will need to read a passage with the argument, agree or disagree with it, and provide an essay. A paper must have a logical structure, facts to support the argument, and be grammatically correct.

NB! One can use only an average calculator. Its smartphone, tablet, and laptop analogs are forbidden at the exam!

How to Calculate the Score?

The highest score a student can get is 1600. The College Board evaluates essays separately. So, students receive the results with 2 numbers. The first score is for the three compulsory sections and the second score is for essay writing. Teachers do not check test papers. The College Board has a scanner that calculates only ticks for correct answers. A person might get 800 for the Math section and 800 for the Language and Reading sections.

If you want to do the calculation on your own, you will need to add your raw results and check the outcome with the table. In case you need to do a thorough calculation, you will find the scoring explanation on the official website of SAT.

The committee entrusts the check of an essay to 2 representatives of the committee. So, two people read and evaluate the essay regarding 3 dimensions. They estimate the student’s ability to read, write, and analyze the assignment. Each teacher gives from 1 to 4 points for each dimension. Finally, one gets from 6 to 24 points.

Except for SAT results, your college committee will consider a CV letter, recommendations, after-class activities, rewards, and other achievements.

FAQ of Students about SAT

We have prepared the most frequently asked questions about SAT.

When is it the time to take the SAT?

There is a schedule of testing. One can take an exam 7 times a year (autumn – October, November; winter – December; spring – March, May; summer – June, August).

How much time will I have to take the SAT?

An average test takes 180 minutes. If a person has to write an essay, there will be extra 50 minutes. Disabled students (physical and mental disabilities) can ask for more time. As a rule, one gets plus 90 minutes, though there are cases when students get extra 180 minutes because of physical inability to write or think fast.

What is the difference between SAT and ACT?

ACT is also an exam. Many colleges demand it. Professors recommend taking both ACT and SAT exams to their students. ACT has four obligatory sections that resemble SAT sections. The only difference is that essay writing here is compulsory. A student gets a prompt at the end of the paper and writes an essay.

How to get ready for the SAT?

It is impossible to prepare for the test in a day. One should learn the typical structure and questions of SAT on the Khan website. Besides, it is essential to master a college program and practice a lot. One must be ready to cope with tasks in advance. It is hard to concentrate when a person must watch the time. Moreover, 3h 50 m might be exhausting for those who have never practiced such a long exam.

All in all, there are a lot of effective ways to improve your SAT score. It is up to you to decide which method is the most suitable for you.

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