SAT: Where Success Awaits

Reading SAT books, freshman Julia Koike and sophomore Rosalynn Craft review the SAT exam.

An entrance exam used by most universities and colleges to determine admissions, the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a multiple-choice test administered by the College Board.

“SAT/ACT Exams are important and necessary for admission to most 4 year universities,” junior advisor Catherine Bianchi said. “Typically, academic/merit-based scholarships are evaluated based on GPA and ACT or SAT scores.”

The SAT tests students on evidence-based reading, writing and math; an essay portion of the test is optional but recommended. A student spends three hours, plus 50 minutes for the essay, applying skills, knowledge, and understandings in order to receive an acceptable score that will give them a chance at being admitted into a university or college of their choice. 65 minutes are given for 52 reading questions, 35 minutes for 44 writing and language tasks, and 80 minutes for 58 math problems. The highest possible score a student can be presented with is 1600, 200-800 for both reading and math.

Advisors suggest that students study for the SAT through Khan Academy as this gives students personalized practice tests based on their PSAT scores. The ACT website offers practice tests of their own.

“I take the SAT on March 9,” junior Sarah Swanson said. “I’m super nervous, but I’ve been studying like crazy. I think it’s really helpful to either see a tutor who specializes in SAT studies, sign up and attend SAT prep classes, or buy an SAT study book written by College Board.”

Compared to the SAT, the only difference between both tests is the fact that the ACT also tests students on science. The length of the test is two hours and 55 minutes long or 3 hours and 35 minutes if the student chooses to take the writing portion. The maximum score a student can receive on the ACT is a 36. Most colleges and universities will accept scores from either exam and do not favor one over the other.

“It is recommended that juniors take the SAT OR ACT during the Spring of their junior year,” Ms. Bianchi said. “Red Mountain offers the SAT and the closest school that offers the ACT is Mountain View. Students apply to college Aug.-Oct. of their senior year and don’t want to worry about taking exams then.”

An SAT and/or ACT score is a key component needed for a person’s college application. For more information visit