The SAT is a college entrance exam that measures a student’s skills and determines how prepared they are for college, based on what they’ve learned in high school. If you plan to take the exam, you must register and pay for the test in advance. It is offered many times throughout the year at a variety of testing sites. Each time you register and take the exam, you may send score reports to four colleges for free. If you’re eligible for an SAT fee waiver, you won’t have to pay the registration fee and can send as many score reports as you’d like.
The SAT test has four sections and an optional essay: reading, writing and language, and math. It takes 3-4 hours to complete, depending on if you choose to complete the optional essay.
The SAT also offers specific subject tests which may be required by some colleges. Some students take them to help their application stand out from the others. If this is the case for you, evaluate where your strengths lie academically and test accordingly.
Taking a college entrance exam, like the SAT test, is critical for several reasons:
- May be required for admission to some colleges
- May be used to determine scholarship eligibility
- It may improve your chances for admission
Whether a college requires an entrance exam or not, depends on their admissions policies. In North Dakota, the SAT is not the go-to test, but colleges will still accept the scores if this is the test you take. Highly selective or competitive colleges out-of-state may require the full SAT test including all four sections as well as subject tests. Review the admissions guidelines for the colleges you’re interested in so that you take the right test.
While test scores may be only one part of considering whether a student is a good fit for the college or not, students should prepare for the test by studying the subject areas using free SAT prep resources and practice tests available on the SAT website.
To do your very best on test day, review what you’re allowed to bring and what is prohibited in the test space. Students are required to bring their test admissions ticket, a photo ID, two No. 2 pencils and an approved calculator. You may also want to bring an analog watch, drinks or snacks for breaks and have breakfast before you test.
You may not bring any electronic devices except for your calculator, mechanical pencils or pens, or dictionaries to the center. Test centers are very strict about the guidelines; violating them could cause you to be removed from the test and your scores canceled.
Test scores are available after 10-15 days, and your results will be sent to the colleges you chose to receive them.