On March 5, , the College Board announced that a redesigned version of the SAT would be administered for the first time in The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. They state that the SAT assesses how well the test takers analyze and solve problems—skills they learned in school that they will need in college. However, the test is administered under a tight time limit speeded to help produce a range of scores. The College Board also states that use of the SAT in combination with high school grade point average GPA provides a better indicator of success in college than high school grades alone, as measured by college freshman GPA.
Various studies conducted over the lifetime of the SAT show a statistically significant increase in correlation of high school grades and college freshman grades when the SAT is factored in.
The results of this study found how well various predictor variables could explain the variance in college freshman GPA. It found that independently high school GPA could explain There are substantial differences in funding, curricula, grading, and difficulty among U. SAT and ACT scores are intended to supplement the secondary school record and help admission officers put local data—such as course work, grades, and class rank—in a national perspective.
Historically, the SAT was more widely used by students living in coastal states and the ACT was more widely used by students in the Midwest and South; in recent years, however, an increasing number of students on the East and West coasts have been taking the ACT. The SAT has four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math no calculator , and Math calculator allowed. The test taker may optionally write an essay which, in that case, is the fifth test section.
The total time for the scored portion of the SAT is three hours or three hours and fifty minutes if the optional essay section is taken. Some test takers who are not taking the essay may also have a fifth section, which is used, at least in part, for the pretesting of questions that may appear on future administrations of the SAT. These questions are not included in the computation of the SAT score. Two section scores result from taking the SAT: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing , and Math.
Section scores are reported on a scale of to , and each section score is a multiple of ten. A total score for the SAT is calculated by adding the two section scores, resulting in total scores that range from to There is no penalty for guessing on the SAT: In addition to the two section scores, three "test" scores on a scale of 10 to 40 are reported, one for each of Reading, Writing and Language, and Math.
The essay, if taken, is scored separately from the two section scores. The Reading Test of the SAT is made up of one section with 52 questions and a time limit of 65 minutes. Tables, graphs, and charts may accompany some passages, but no math is required to correctly answer the corresponding questions.
There are five passages up to two of which may be a pair of smaller passages on the Reading Test and questions per passage or passage pair. SAT Reading passages draw from three main fields: Answers to all of the questions are based only on the content stated in or implied by the passage or passage pair. The Writing and Language Test of the SAT is made up of one section with 44 multiple-choice questions and a time limit of 35 minutes. The test taker will be asked to read the passages, find mistakes or weaknesses in writing, and to provide corrections or improvements.
Reading passages on this test range in content from topic arguments to nonfiction narratives in a variety of subjects. The skills being evaluated include: The mathematics portion of the SAT is divided into two sections: In total, the SAT math test is 80 minutes long and includes 58 questions: Several scores are provided to the test taker for the math test.
A subscore on a scale of 1 to 15 is reported for each of three categories of math content: A test score for the math test is reported on a scale of 10 to 40, and a section score equal to the test score multiplied by 20 is reported on a scale of to All four-function calculators are allowed as well; however, these devices are not recommended.
All mobile phone and smartphone calculators, calculators with typewriter-like QWERTY keyboards, laptops and other portable computers, and calculators capable of accessing the Internet are not permitted.
Reasoning Test math scores. The study found that performance on the math section was associated with the extent of calculator use: However, the effect was "more likely to have been the result of able students using calculators differently than less able students rather than calculator use per se.
Most of the questions on the SAT, except for the optional essay and the grid-in math responses, are multiple choice ; all multiple-choice questions have four answer choices, one of which is correct.
All questions on each section of the SAT are weighted equally. For each correct answer, one raw point is added. The final score is derived from the raw score; the precise conversion chart varies between test administrations. The test is typically offered on the first Saturday of the month for the October, November, December, May, and June administrations. Candidates wishing to take the test may register online at the College Board's website or by mail at least three weeks before the test date.
Additional fees apply for late registration, standby testing, registration changes, scores by telephone, and extra score reports beyond the four provided for free.
Candidates whose religious beliefs prevent them from taking the test on a Saturday may request to take the test on the following day, except for the October test date in which the Sunday test date is eight days after the main test offering. Such requests must be made at the time of registration and are subject to denial.
Students with verifiable disabilities, including physical and learning disabilities, are eligible to take the SAT with accommodations. Students receive their online score reports approximately three weeks after test administration six weeks for mailed, paper scores , with each section graded on a scale of — and two sub scores for the writing section: In addition to their score, students receive their percentile the percentage of other test takers with lower scores.
The raw score, or the number of points gained from correct answers and lost from incorrect answers is also included. The corresponding percentile of each scaled score varies from test to test—for example, in , a scaled score of in both sections of the SAT Reasoning Test corresponded to a percentile of The differences in what scores mean with regard to percentiles are due to the content of the exam and the caliber of students choosing to take each exam. Subject Tests are subject to intensive study often in the form of an AP , which is relatively more difficult , and only those who know they will perform well tend to take these tests, creating a skewed distribution of scores.
The percentiles that various SAT scores for college-bound seniors correspond to are summarized in the following chart: The older SAT before had a very high ceiling. In any given year, only seven of the million test-takers scored above A score above was equivalent to the In the average score for the Class of was out of a maximum Tables were provided to concord scores for students taking the SAT after January and before March Many college entrance exams in the early s were specific to each school and required candidates to travel to the school to take the tests.
The College Board , a consortium of colleges in the northeastern United States, was formed in to establish a nationally administered, uniform set of essay tests based on the curricula of the boarding schools that typically provided graduates to the colleges of the Ivy League and Seven Sisters , among others.
In the same time period, Lewis Terman and others began to promote the use of tests such as Alfred Binet 's in American schools. Terman in particular thought that such tests could identify an innate " intelligence quotient " IQ in a person. The results of an IQ test could then be used to find an elite group of students who would be given the chance to finish high school and go on to college. The commission, headed by Carl Brigham , argued that the test predicted success in higher education by identifying candidates primarily on the basis of intellectual promise rather than on specific accomplishment in high school subjects.
Specifically, Conant wanted to find students, other than those from the traditional northeastern private schools, that could do well at Harvard. The success of the scholarship program and the advent of World War II led to the end of the College Board essay exams and to the SAT being used as the only admissions test for College Board member colleges.
Machine-based scoring of multiple-choice tests taken by pencil had made it possible to rapidly process the exams. Bill produced an influx of millions of veterans into higher education.
Brigham felt that the interests of a consolidated testing agency would be more aligned with sales or marketing than with research into the science of testing. On June 17, , the first exams of the College Board were administered to students across 67 locations in the United States, and two in Europe. Although those taking the test came from a variety of backgrounds, approximately one third were from New York , New Jersey , or Pennsylvania.
The majority of those taking the test were from private schools, academies, or endowed schools. The test contained sections on English, French , German , Latin , Greek , history, mathematics, chemistry , and physics. The test was not multiple choice, but instead was evaluated based on essay responses as "excellent", "good", "doubtful", "poor" or "very poor". It was administered to over 8, students at over test centers.
Slightly over a quarter of males and females applied to Yale University and Smith College. This scale was effectively equivalent to a to scale, although students could score more than and less than In , the number of sections on the SAT was reduced to seven, and the time limit was increased to slightly under two hours. In , the number of sections was again reduced, this time to six. These changes were designed in part to give test-takers more time per question. For these two years, all of the sections tested verbal ability: In the SAT was first split into the verbal and math sections, a structure that would continue through The verbal section of the test covered a more narrow range of content than its predecessors, examining only antonyms, double definitions somewhat similar to sentence completions , and paragraph reading.
In , analogies were re-added. Between and , students had between 80 and minutes to answer verbal questions over a third of which were on antonyms. The mathematics test introduced in contained free response questions to be answered in 80 minutes, and focused primarily on speed. From to , like the and tests, the mathematics section was eliminated entirely.
When the mathematics portion of the test was re-added in , it consisted of multiple choice questions. Until , the scores on all SATs had been scaled to a mean of with a standard deviation of Although one test-taker could be compared to another for a given test date, comparisons from one year to another could not be made.
For example, a score of achieved on an SAT taken in one year could reflect a different ability level than a score of achieved in another year. By , it had become clear that setting the mean SAT score to every year was unfair to those students who happened to take the SAT with a group of higher average ability.
In order to make cross-year score comparisons possible, in April the SAT verbal section was scaled to a mean of , and a standard deviation of , and the June SAT verbal section was equated linked to the April test. All SAT verbal sections after were equated to previous tests so that the same scores on different SATs would be comparable.
Similarly, in June the SAT math section was equated to the April math section, which itself was linked to the SAT verbal section, and all SAT math sections after would be equated to previous tests.
From this point forward, SAT mean scores could change over time, depending on the average ability of the group taking the test compared to the roughly 10, students taking the SAT in April The and score scales would remain in use until Paragraph reading was eliminated from the verbal portion of the SAT in , and replaced with reading comprehension, and "double definition" questions were replaced with sentence completions.
Between and , students were given 90 to minutes to complete to verbal questions. Starting in , time limits became more stable, and for 17 years, until , students had 75 minutes to answer 90 questions.
In , questions on data sufficiency were introduced to the mathematics section, and then replaced with quantitative comparisons in In , both verbal and math sections were reduced from 75 minutes to 60 minutes each, with changes in test composition compensating for the decreased time. From to , scores on the SAT were scaled to make the mean score on each section. In and , SAT scores were standardized via test equating , and as a consequence, average verbal and math scores could vary from that time forward.
However, starting in the mids and continuing until the early s, SAT scores declined: By the late s, only the upper third of test takers were doing as well as the upper half of those taking the SAT in From to , the number of SATs taken per year doubled, suggesting that the decline could be explained by demographic changes in the group of students taking the SAT.
In early , substantial changes were made to the SAT. The changes for increased emphasis on analytical reading were made in response to a report issued by a commission established by the College Board. The commission recommended that the SAT should, among other things, "approximate more closely the skills used in college and high school work".
Major changes were also made to the SAT mathematics section at this time, due in part to the influence of suggestions made by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Test-takers were now permitted to use calculators on the math sections of the SAT. Also, for the first time since , the SAT would now include some math questions that were not multiple choice, instead requiring students to supply the answers. Additionally, some of these "student-produced response" questions could have more than one correct answer.
The tested mathematics content on the SAT was expanded to include concepts of slope of a line , probability , elementary statistics including median and mode , and counting problems. By the early s, average total SAT scores were around typically, on the verbal and on the math.
The average scores on the modification of the SAT I were similar: In , half of the college-bound seniors taking the SAT were scoring between and on the verbal section and between and on the math section, with corresponding median scores of and , respectively.
The drop in SAT verbal scores, in particular, meant that the usefulness of the SAT score scale to had become degraded. At the top end of the verbal scale, significant gaps were occurring between raw scores and uncorrected scaled scores: Corrections to scores above had been necessary to reduce the size of the gaps and to make a perfect raw score result in an At the other end of the scale, about 1. Although the math score averages were closer to the center of the scale than the verbal scores, the distribution of math scores was no longer well approximated by a normal distribution.
These problems, among others, suggested that the original score scale and its reference group of about 10, students taking the SAT in needed to be replaced. Beginning with the test administered in April , the SAT score scale was recentered to return the average math and verbal scores close to Although only 25 students had received perfect scores of in all of , students taking the April test scored a Because the new scale would not be directly comparable to the old scale, scores awarded on April and later were officially reported with an "R" for example, "R" to reflect the change in scale, a practice that was continued until For example, verbal and math scores of received before correspond to scores of and , respectively, on the scale.
Certain educational organizations viewed the SAT re-centering initiative as an attempt to stave off international embarrassment in regards to continuously declining test scores, even among top students. Since , using a policy referred to as "Score Choice", students taking the SAT-II subject exams were able to choose whether or not to report the resulting scores to a college to which the student was applying.
It was also suggested that the old policy of allowing students the option of which scores to report favored students who could afford to retake the tests. In , the test was changed again, largely in response to criticism by the University of California system.
Other factors included the desire to test the writing ability of each student; hence the essay. The essay section added an additional maximum points to the score, which increased the new maximum score to The mathematics section was expanded to cover three years of high school mathematics. To emphasize the importance of reading, the verbal section's name was changed to the Critical Reading section.
In March , it was announced that a small percentage of the SATs taken in October had been scored incorrectly due to the test papers' being moist and not scanning properly, and that some students had received erroneous scores.
The College Board decided not to change the scores for the students who were given a higher score than they earned. A lawsuit was filed in on behalf of the 4, students who received an incorrect score on the SAT.
At the time, some college admissions officials agreed that the new policy would help to alleviate student test anxiety, while others questioned whether the change was primarily an attempt to make the SAT more competitive with the ACT, which had long had a comparable score choice policy.
Still others, such as Oregon State University and University of Iowa , allow students to choose which scores they submit, considering only the test date with the highest combined score when making admission decisions. Beginning in the fall of , test takers were required to submit a current, recognizable photo during registration.
In order to be admitted to their designated test center, students were required to present their photo admission ticket — or another acceptable form of photo ID — for comparison to the one submitted by the student at the time of registration.
The changes were made in response to a series of cheating incidents, primarily at high schools in Long Island, New York, in which high-scoring test takers were using fake photo IDs to take the SAT for other students. On March 5, , the College Board announced its plan to redesign the SAT in order to link the exam more closely to the work high school students encounter in the classroom.
The SAT has been renamed several times since its introduction in It was originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. According to the president of the College Board at the time, the name change was meant "to correct the impression among some people that the SAT measures something that is innate and impervious to change regardless of effort or instruction.
Test preparation companies in Asia have been found to provide test questions to students within hours of a new SAT exam's administration. The leaked PDF file was on the internet before the August 25, exam. For decades many critics have accused designers of the verbal SAT of cultural bias as an explanation for the disparity in scores between poorer and wealthier test-takers.
The object of the question was to find the pair of terms that had the relationship most similar to the relationship between "runner" and "marathon". The correct answer was "oarsman" and "regatta".
The choice of the correct answer was thought to have presupposed students' familiarity with rowing , a sport popular with the wealthy. However, according to Murray and Herrnstein, the black-white gap is smaller in culture-loaded questions like this one than in questions that appear to be culturally neutral. They further found that, after controlling for family income and parental education, the so-called achievement tests known as the SAT II measure aptitude and college readiness 10 times higher than the SAT.
The largest association with gender on the SAT is found in the math section, where male students, on average, score higher than female students by approximately 30 points. Some researchers believe that the difference in scores for both race and gender is closely related to psychological phenomenon known as stereotype threat.
Stereotype threat happens when an individual who identifies themselves within a subgroup of people, is taking a test and comes across a stereotype usually of American origin regarding their subgroup. This along with additional test anxiety, will usually cause a low test performance for that individual or group affected. This is because the individual is under increased pressure to overcome the stereotype threat and prove it wrong.
This form of stereotype can be translated into a form of gender or race bias and is found in numerous SAT tests spanning throughout the years it has existed. Gender bias of the SAT tests can happen within certain sections which include the questions or passages themselves. This bias itself is usually for that against females. For the demographics example, students are often asked to identify their race or gender before taking the exam, just this alone is enough to create the threat since this puts the issues regarding their gender or race in front and center of their mind.
For the mathematics example, a question in the May SAT test involved a chart which identified more boys than girls in mathematics classes overall. This is also based off the common general stereotype that "men are better at math than women," .
Since the passages were in the beginning it may have allowed this new information to linger in the minds of the test takers for the rest of their test taking time, especially the females who may now have the new thought as to not being intellectually competent of doing things other than house work and chores.
Studies suggest that teaching about stereotype threat might offer a practical means of reducing its detrimental effects.
It can be shown when women were informed about stereotype threat problems in standardized tests, they tend to achieve higher scores. Thus, informing women about stereotype threat may be a useful intervention to improve their performance in a threatening testing situation.
This is also known as a stereotype threat mitigation. The main study that supports these findings comes from two well-known professionals on Education known as Claude Steele and Steve Spencer.
With this test, one group from each gender would be given the test with an intro sentence. Reading, Analysis, and Writing. The scores are presented in order by domain directly preceding each sample essay. Scores for the samples provided below were assigned on a scale according to the redesigned SAT Essay Scoring Rubric.
It is important to note that although these are representative samples of student ability at each score point, the set itself does not exhaustively illustrate the range of skills in Reading, Analysis, and Writing associated with each score point.
Although all of the sample essays were handwritten by students, they are shown typed here for ease of reading. The essays have been typed exactly as each student wrote his or her essay, without corrections to spelling, punctuation, or paragraph breaks.
Learn more about how the essay is scored. Select a Question Introduction. Select a Prompt Introduction. Introduction The directions below are representative of what students will encounter on test day. Do not write your essay in this booklet. Only what you write on the lined pages of your answer booklet will be evaluated.
Explore new SAT essay prompts and examples representative of what students will encounter on test day and illustrating the changes being made to the SAT Essay.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 11 real SAT essay prompts that the CollegeBoard has released (either in The Official SAT Study Guide or separately online) for the new SAT. This is the most comprehensive set of new SAT essay prompts online today.
SAT Essay Topics Our essay topics have been closely modeled on those in the SAT. You can also do the essays given in the first section of each of the tests in the Official Study Guide. The new SAT essay is optional. In 50 minutes, you'll be required to read a text and write a logical, well-constructed analysis of the author's argument.
The education people receive does not occur primarily in school. Young people are formed by their experiences with parents, teachers, peers, and even strangers on the street, and by the sports teams they play for, the shopping malls they frequent, the songs they hear, and the shows they watch. Each SAT Essay consists of one passage between and words that you will read and then respond to. You will have 50 minutes to complete the SAT Essay. The purpose of the new SAT Essay is to assess your ability to analyze an author’s argument.