Table of Contents


The SAT, also known as the SAT Reasoning Test, is a standardized test that evaluates what students learned in high school and skills needed to succeed in college. Specifically, the test is designed to measure a student’s skill level in reading, writing, and math, both with and without a calculator. It is owned, developed, and published by the College Board and administered by the Educational Testing Service. Colleges and universities use it as one measure to determine admission to their campus, in addition to GPA, personal essays, teacher recommendations, class rank, and extracurricular activities. Scores can also strengthen scholarship applications and help secure merit-based financial aid.

We have spent the last decade helping students master the SAT. Student working with us in customized tutoring programs have an average score increase of 150 points, with our hardest working students gaining over 300 points.

Test Format & Structure

The SAT consists of two components plus an optional essay. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing component is broken into two sections: 1) Reading and 2) Writing & Language. Math is broken up into calculator and no-calculator questions. In total, there are 154 multiple-choice and student-produced response questions, and one optional essay prompt.

Section Time Number of Questions Content Covered
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 100 minutes
-Reading: 65 minutes
-Writing and Language: 35 minutes
96 questions
- Reading: 52 questions (4 single passages and 1 paired set, 500-750 words per passage or pair)
- Writing and Language: 44 questions (4 passages, 400-450 words per passage)
- Command of Textual Evidence
- Understanding Relevant Words in Context
- Skills Application
Math 80 minutes
-Calculator Portion: 55 minutes
-No-Calculator: 25 minutes
58 questions
-Calculator Portion: 30 multiple-choice questions, 8 student-produced responses
-No-Calculator: 15 multiple-choice questions, 5 student-produced responses
- Heart of Algebra
- Problem Solving and Data Analysis
- Passport to Advanced Math
- Geometry and Trigonometry
Essay (optional) 50 minutes 1 prompt - Reading
- Analysis
- Writing

Test Administration

Currently, the SAT is a paper and pencil test. A calculator can be used for a portion of the Math section, but not the entire test. Student can register online or by mail for the location of their choosing. To find the location best for you, visit the College Board’s Test Center page here.

Students who are not taking the Essay may also take an “experimental” section of the SAT after the final math section. This section does not count towards a student’s composite score but should still be taken seriously.


The two sections – Evidence-based Reading and Writing and Math – are each graded on a scale from 200–800, making a perfect score 1600. Because there is no penalty for incorrect answers, students should guess even if it means filling in random answer choices.

Score Choice

The SAT offers score choice, which means that a student can choose the score from his or her best administration and have only that score sent to colleges. Essay scores cannot be sent separately, however. If a student wishes to send a specific essay score to a college, they must also send the results of the multiple-choice portion of the same test.


The SAT allows superscoring. If a student takes the test or specific sections multiple times, the best score from each section will be reported and compiled into the final composite score sent to schools that accept superscores. It is worth noting that some colleges will ask students to submit all their scores when applying and some may not accept superscores. The score reporting policy of each college is different, so we encourage you to learn about the policies at your schools of interest.

Essay Scoring

The essay on the SAT exam is optional, but many colleges may require it. The essay is graded by two College Board graders. Each gives the writing sample a score from 1 to 4 in each of three dimensions (reading, analysis, and writing). These two scores are added together to create three final essay scores in the three dimensions, each from 2 to 8. The essay score is reported separately from Evidence-based Reading and Writing score. 

Dates & Deadlines

In a standard school year, the SAT is administered on seven national test dates in October, November, December, March, May, June, and August. Additionally, many schools have an officially administered SAT given during the school day. In Illinois, the SAT is being administered in school on April 14, 2020. Contact your school’s principal or college counselor to find out if and when your school is participating.

Upcoming Test Information

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Registration (fee required) Scores Released
April 4, 2020 February 28, 2020 February 29 – March 13, 2020 April 14 – May 29, 2020
June 13, 2020 May 8, 2020 May 9-22, 2020 June 23 – August 7, 2020
July 18, 2020* June 19, 2020 June 20-26, 2020 July 28 – August 31, 2020

*July test dates are typically not available in New York test centers.

Tentative 2020-2021 Dates

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Registration (fee required) Scores Released
August 29, 2020 July 31, 2020 August 19, 2020 Not yet announced
October 3, 2020 September 4, 2020 September 23, 2020 Not yet announced
November 7, 2020 October 2, 2020 October 21, 2020 Not yet announced
December 5, 2020 November 6, 2020 November 24, 2020 Not yet announced
March 13, 2021 February 12, 2021 March 3, 2021 Not yet announced
May 8, 2021 April 2, 2021 April 21, 2021 Not yet announced
June 5, 2021 May 7, 2021 May 26, 2021 Not yet announced

*Essay scores are typically released within 5-10 business days of the multiple-choice score release


The SAT is $49.50 without the essay section or $64.50 with the essay. If a student registers late, there is an additional $30 fee to register. Students may apply for a fee waiver if they meet certain household income criteria. The waiver covers up to two SAT registrations and up to six SAT Subject Test (link to Subject Test page) registrations as well as any late fees.


The SAT provides a variety of accommodations: extended time and multiple-day testing, large print test booklets and large block answer sheets, computer-based testing, and accommodations for additional physical disabilities. You can find the full list of possible accommodations here.


It can take up to seven weeks for the College Board to approve accommodations requests, so start working with your school counselor early to submit your request. You can find more information about requesting accommodations on the College Board’s Accommodations page here.


Extended time is one of the most commonly requested accommodations. Qualified students may be approved to test with 50%, 100%, or 150% additional time to complete the exam either on the full test or on specific sections, including extra breaks. Students who test with extended time must sit for the entire allotted time and must finish one test section before moving on to the next.

Every Student is Different

We know our students; each one is unique, and each one requires a different approach, especially during these unprecedented times. That is why our ACT, SAT, and Middle School test prep is customized to each student and school partner.

We improve your students’ standardized testing by tailoring our research-based, expert instruction and curriculum to your needs, and we can get started with you right away.