Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

The SAT (technically known as the SAT I) is a general test of verbal and quantitative reasoning accepted and required for admission to a bachelor degree program in a US university or college. The test is required for admission to undergraduate programs of most US universities. Many universities also require you to take SAT-II tests. The SAT is a three-hour test that measures verbal and mathematical reasoning skills students have developed over time and skills they need to be successful in college. Many colleges and universities use the SAT as one indicator among others-class rank, high school GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essay, and teacher recommendations-of a student's readiness to do college-level work. SAT scores are compared with the scores of other applicants, and the accepted scores at an institution, and can be used as a basis for awarding merit-based financial aid. SAT is administered seven times a year in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories, and six times a year overseas.

Why is the SAT so important?

The SAT is required by many universities to be considered for admission. Though there are colleges that do not require it, all "brand name" universities and virtually all public ("state") universities do require it. In many cases, students can take the ACT rather than the SAT, and this decision often comes down to geography. Students in the Midwest tend to take the ACT and SAT, while students on the U.S. coasts tend to not take the ACT at all. Other than being required for admission to many U.S. universities, the SAT is important for the following reasons:

  • Many scholarships require a minimum SAT score.
  • Many universities, especially state universities, will offer academic scholarships for students with a certain GPA and a minimum SAT score.

The SAT is a great way to set yourself apart from the college admission crowd. Having a high SAT score will allow you to separate out from the thousands of other people applying to college. For some students, taking both the SAT and ACT is a great option because they can submit whichever of the two scores is better (based on their percentile ranking) which then lets them increase their odds of acceptance in college admission. In general, taking both tests is highly recommended as students have little to lose but much to gain.

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