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 By Zimaya Hugh

SAT Test Date and Format

The SAT Test is designed for US universities and colleges to select fresh students. Every year millions of people take part in the exam worldwide, and students can prepare for the test flexibly.

SAT is the most important test of high school students applying for USA universities and colleges that accept SAT scores as an objective measurement to decide if admission is offered. Of course, SAT cannot replace GPAs and high school transcripts but SAT scores allow colleges to compare applicants with the same scale fairly.

The test is to check students' knowledge learned in high school and problem-solving skills in three areas: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.

1. SAT Test Dates (2021-2022)
You can take the SAT any time and multiple times. Because 67 percent of students improve their score the second time around, we suggest you prepare SAT early so that you have enough time to take two or more SAT tests.

SAT TEST DATEREGISTRATION DATESCORES RELEASE DATE
Mar 13, 2021February 11, 2021March 26, 2021
May 8, 2021April 8, 2021May 21, 2021
Jun 5, 2021May 6, 2021June 18, 2021
Aug 28, 2021July 30, 2021September 10, 2021
Oct 2, 2021September 3, 2021October 15, 2021
Nov 6, 2021October 8, 2021November 19, 2021
Dec 4, 2021November 4, 2021December 17, 2021
Mar 12, 2022February 11, 2022March 25, 2022
May 7, 2022April 8, 2022May 20, 2022
Jun 4, 2022May 5, 2022July 13, 2022


2. SAT Test Format
The SAT is an English-focused test. Although there is a math section, its content only reaches the junior level, 9-10 grade. The test takes 3 hours and 50 minutes with 4 parts:

PartDurationQuestion number
1 Reading65 minutes52 (Multiple-choice)
2 Writing35 minutes44 (Multiple-choice)
3 Math80 minutes
25 m no calculator
55 m with calculator
45 (Multiple-choice)
13 (Student-produced answers)
4 Essay50 minutes1 essay
(It's optional, but discontinue after Jun 2021)


SAT consists of 3 question types:
  • Multiple-choice
  • Student-produced answers (mathematics only)
  • Essay (optional)
The answer sheet is machine-scored, except the essay is read by human raters. For all SAT takers, behaviors statistics are as follows:
  • On average, students answer 50 to 60 percent of questions correctly.
  • 80 percent finish nearly the entire test.
  • Almost all students complete at least 75 percent of the questions.
Practice to be familiar with the SAT format is the first step to prepare your SAT exam.

3. SAT Reading
At SAT reading sections, there is only one question type: multiple-choice. If we breakdown these questions, we can see two formats:
  • Passage-based reading
  • Sentence completions
Totally 52 questions should be finished in 65 minutes.

Passage-based reading Reading passages fits the general high school students and are taken from different fields, including:

  • Natural sciences
  • Humanities
  • Social sciences
  • Literary fiction
Theoretically, reading passages can be any English materials from various sources. Some attributes are as follows:
  • Length range from 100 to about 850 words
  • Have narrative, argumentative, or expository elements
  • Possibly paired with other related passages.
Commonly your job is to:
  • Decide the meanings of words from context
  • Show understanding of part or full passages, such as the main idea
  • Identify cause and effect in passages
  • Make inferences among full context
  • Understand the logic of analogies or arguments
  • Analyze the author's assumptions and techniques

Sentence-completion The Sentence-completion questions are relatively simpler than passage-based reading in most cases because they focus on a single sentence.

They test the abilities of students about:
  • Knowledge of the meanings of words, namely vocabulary
  • Knowledge of making sentences, namely grammar and logic
Each sentence-completion question gives you a sentence with one or more blanks, with each blank indicating that something should be placed in. You have to choose the word or phrase to complete the sentence. Your selection must be best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

4. SAT Writing
At SAT writing sections, there is only one question type: multiple-choice. Totally 44 questions should be finished in 35 minutes.

The multiple-choice questions in writing sections are designed to check students' abilities of:
  • Communicating clearly, good vocabulary, and no wordy
  • Improving existing sentence
  • Recognizing sentence-level errors
  • Syntax elements and structures for complex sentence
  • Clearly express multiple ideas within paragraphs or sentence
  • Improve coherence of ideas within and among paragraphs
The multiple-choice writing questions are presented in three formats:

Choose the best version This question type gives a sentence in which part, or all, is underlined. You then see five options to replace the underlined section.

The questions try to check the knowledge of:
  • Syntax, especially the sentence structure
  • The conventions of Standard Written English

Identifying sentence errors This question type gives a sentence with four portions underlined.

You need to select which of the underlined part is wrong, or, if no errors in your view, select the choice "No error." The questions try to check the knowledge to:
  • Recognize syntax faults
  • Recognize right sentences by conventions of Standard Written English

Improving paragraphs This question type gives a passage and asks questions about it. The questions are commonly involved with more than one sentence, and you will be asked to improve sentence structure or word choice.

The questions try to test the ability to:
  • Edit and revise sentences
  • Organize and develop paragraphs in a logical manner
  • Apply the conventions of Standard Written English.


5. SAT Math
The SAT Math has 58 questions in 80 minutes. Its questions are mainly in four major areas:
  • Numbers and operations
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Data analysis and probability
The test actually consists of 2 parts: 25 minutes is without a calculator, the rest 55 minutes are allowed to use a calucator.

In addition to multiple-choice questions, the Math section also has questions that need students to make or calculate responses. Its contents are in 9 or 10-grade math levels. In general, the math questions require you to apply mathematical concepts, knowledge, and skill in understanding and interpreting tables and charts. So it's not very difficult for high school students who are applying for colleges.

6. SAT Essay (Discontinue After Jun 2021)
SAT essay is an optional section. You have 50 minutes to complete the assignment. Reading a paper, summarize and analyze it, and write your idea or thought. The part hopefully tests a student's ability:
  • Reading skills
  • Ability to summarize and analyze
  • Developing a point of view
  • Supporting a point of view using reasoning and examples
  • Following the conventions of Standard Written English
As with all essay tests, you cannot write with whatever you favorite. Instead, you have to follow the given assignment. For most SAT test-takers, there should be no difficulty to understand the question because it is selected to:
  • Be easy understand without technical or specific knowledge
  • Be accepted by the general test-taking population, including ESL
  • Enable students to react and respond quickly
In general, a computer scores SAT sheets. But the essay is an exception. Human qualified raters will read each SAT essay and mark it. Raters consider each essay as a whole work; the total impression that the essay creates decides how many marks it will be granted.

When raters read any essay, they take into account many aspects of the essay. If you are hunting for a high score, you should pay attention to:
  • Good idea and structure
  • Good reasoning and logic
  • Good grammar and vocabulary
All SAT essays are scanned and sent to raters through the Internet. The raters are also supervised online. The College Board manages a big pool of essay raters from across the country. Every rater has been trained to be mindful of the conditions under which students write essays.

Raters must keep lots of criteria in mind when scoring essays, including:
  • Using the Essay Scoring Guide, a general rule you can see at SAT official site
  • Scanning the essay to gain an impression
  • Rereading the entire essay, then scoring immediately
  • Reading supportively, looking for and rewarding what is done well
  • Ignoring the quality of handwriting
  • Judging an essay by its quality, not by its length
  • Considering each aspect of writing equally
The SAT essay score is independent of other sections and marked from 2 to 24. An essay is scored in three categories: Reading, Analysis, and Writing, each has 2-8 marks. So 24 is the highest score an SAT essay can get.