Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)

An overview of the sat exam

What is the Sat?

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a standardized test widely used in admissions to US universities.

The SAT comprises four compulsory sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator) and Math (with calculator). These four sections are scored out of a total of 1600. The optional SAT Essay is no longer offered after June 2021.

What is on the SAT?

SECTIONNo. of QuestionsTotal Time (min)
Evidence-based Reading & Writing96100
Reading Sub-test5265
Writing and Language Sub-test4435
No-Calculator Sub-test2025
Calculator Sub-test3855

Who needs the SAT?

US Universities

All first-year applicants
Most transfer applicants

NUS Medicine & NUS Dentistry

Applicants with IB Diplomas


Applicants with a C grade or lower for:
H1 General Paper; or
H2 Knowledge & Inquiry


Applicants without any of the following:
A-Level / IB
NUS High Diploma
Polytechnic Diploma

When should i take the SAT?

We recommend that students start preparing for the SAT at least 3 months prior to the exam.
Read more on how to register for the SAT.

Next SAT Date

May 7, 2022
AUGUST 27, 2022
OCTOBER 1, 2022
DECEMBER 3, 2022

Registration Deadline

April 8, 2022
JULY 29, 2022
NOVEMBER 4, 2022

SAT Exam Format

What is tested on the SAT?



52 Multiple Choice Questions testing critical reading and thinking skills across four genres: history, literature, natural science and the social sciences.



44 Multiple Choice Questions testing fundamental conventions of grammar and effective use of the English language.



38 Questions allowing the use of a calculator and 20 without. The main topics tested are algebra, functions, data analysis and geometry.

SAT Exam Registration

How do I register for the SAT?


Sign in to your free College Board account or register for a new account.


Provide your full name and other identifying information — this must be exactly the same as seen on your photo ID.


Choose to register for the SAT with or without the Essay. (Update: The SAT Essay is no longer offered after June 2021.)


Upload a photograph that meets the College Board’s specific photo requirements.


Make payment, and check out. Click here to learn more about testing fees.


Print out your Admission Ticket. Make sure you bring it with you on Test Day!

SAT Scoring

What is a superscore?

Superscoring is the process by which colleges consider your highest section scores across all the dates you took the SAT.
Schools will take your highest section scores, forming the highest possible composite “superscore”.


Verbal Score: 760
Math Score: 700

Total Score: 1460


Verbal Score: 720
Math Score: 750

Total Score: 1470


Verbal Score: 760
Math Score: 750

Total Score: 1510

SAT Score Percentiles

What score should I aim for?

The SAT gives you a percentile ranking for your overall score (out of 1600) as well as for each of the two sections: Evidence Based Reading and Writing, and Math. Your percentile rank tells you how you did on the SAT compared to other test-takers. For example, if you have a percentile ranking of 90, it means that you scored higher than 90% of other students who took that test.

For most competitive universities, we recommend trying to score at least within the 90th percentile.

Composite Score Range

1550 - 1600

1500 - 1550

1450 - 1500

1400 - 1450

1350 - 1400

1300 - 1350

1250 - 1300

1200 - 1250

1150 - 1200

1100 - 1150

1050 - 1100

1000 - 1050

Percentile Ranking


99 to 99+

97 to 99

94 to 97

91 to 94

87 to 91

81 to 87

74 to 81

67 to 74

58 to 67

49 to 58

39 to 49


What are the differences between the SAT and the ACT?

Both tests are accepted by most universities in the US. However, as they have slight differences, it is recommended that candidates should take the test they would fare better in.

Should you be unable to decide which test might be more suitable for you, a good way to gauge your expertise is to attempt a full length practice test for both. IvyPrep offers free diagnostic tests for both the SAT and ACT. Upon completion of the tests, a detailed score report would be generated to assist with your decision in which test you should sit for.

Here are some key differences between the SAT and ACT:

ScoringComposite score of 400 - 1600Composite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)
FormatPaper and PencilComputerized
DatesOffered five times a year:

Offered seven times a year:
Math formulasGeometry formulas are providedTo be memorized
Calculator policyAllowed in one Math sub-sectionAllowed in Math section
Science sectionNoYes

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

The types of questions in each section of the SAT and the ACT vary. Ultimately, the best way to know which test is a better fit for you is to attempt both. Click here to schedule a free SAT and/or ACT Diagnostic Test.

The key differences in concepts tested on the SAT and the ACT are here:

ReadingQuestions are always in chronological order; a number line is provided. You are given approx. 13 minutes per passage.Questions are not in chronological order — being able to remember the location of exact details in passages gives you an advantage. You are given approx. 8 minutes per passage.
WritingMore focused on questions about writing style, language precision and vocabulary.More focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.
MathFocus on Algebra, along with other topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.
Wider range of Mathematical concepts — such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry functions, and matrices.
ScienceNo Science section. Scientific data and passages present in Reading and Writing sections.Comfort with scientific terms and experience gathering scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a greater advantage on the ACT.
EssayNo longer offered after June 2021.Analyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.