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About Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)

An Overview Of The (Digital) SAT Exam

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a standardized test widely used in admissions to US universities. The SAT comprises three compulsory sections: Reading, Writing and Language and Math. These three sections are scored out of a total of 1600.


Component Time Allotted (minutes) Number of Questions/Tasks
Reading and Writing 64 (two 32-minute modules) 54
Math 70 (two 35-minute modules) 44
Total 134 98

Who needs the SAT?

US Universities

All first-year applicants

Most transfer applicants

NUS Medicine & 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

What score should I aim for?

Here are the average SAT scores of successful applicants to top-tier universities.

Composite Score Range Percentile Ranking
1550–1600 99+
1500–1550 99 to 99+
1450–1500 97 to 99
1400–1450 94 to 97
1350–1400 91 to 94
1300–1350 87 to 91
1250–1300 81 to 87
1200–1250 74 to 81
1150–1200 67 to 74
1100–1150 58 to 67
1050–1100 49 to 58
1000–1050 39 to 49

What score do I need?

Here are the average SAT scores of successful applicants to top-tier universities.

Ivy League Universities Average Total SAT Score
Yale University 1550
Harvard College 1520
Columbia University 1520
Princeton University 1520
University of Pennsylvania 1510
Brown University 1510
Dartmouth College 1500
Cornell University 1480
Top Private Universities Average Total SAT Score
California Institute of Technology 1560
University of Chicago 1540
Vanderbilt University 1530
Stanford University 1520
MIT 1520
Johns Hopkins University 1510
Northwestern University 1510
Carnegie Mellon University 1500
Top Public Universities Average Total SAT Score
Georgia Institute of Technology 1520
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1500
UC, Berkeley 1450
University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor 1450
University of Virginia 1420
UC, Los Angeles 1400
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 1390


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.

Scoring Composite score of 400–1600 Composite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)
Subjects (1) Evidence based Reading and Writing
(2) Math
(1) English
(2) Math
(3) Science Reasoning
(4) Essay (optional)
Dates Offered five times a year:
  • March
  • May
  • August
  • October
  • December
Offered seven times a year:
  • February
  • April
  • June
  • July
  • September
  • October
  • December
Math formulas Contains data analytics Contains Statistics and Probability
Math formulas Geometry formulas are provided To be memorized
Science section No Yes

Which should I take?

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.

Reading Questions 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.
Writing More focused on questions about writing style, language precision and vocabulary. More focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.
Math Focus 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.
Science No 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.
Essay No longer offered after June 2021. Analyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

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