Everything you need to know about the SAT Test.

By Lissette Gonzalez

The SAT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. The SAT, pronounced “S-A-T”, is an acronym for Scholastic Assessment Test. Due to differences in funding, curriculum, and grading among U.S. high schools, the SAT was created in 1926 to fairly assess students’ readiness for college on a national level. The SAT is administered by The College Board, a non-profit organization. Most recently updated in 2005, the SAT now includes three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. The full-length test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. Most of the questions on the SAT, except for the essay and the grid-in math responses, are multiple-choice questions.

Tip: If you can eliminate one or more answers- guess!

How is The SAT Scored?

A student earns 1 point for each correct answer, is deducted 1/4 point for each incorrect answer (except for grid-ins), and earns 0 points for each omitted answer. Although a student does not lose points for unanswered questions; too many omissions will result in an overall lower score.

The score for each of the three sections ranges between 200-800 points with the average score being a 500.  Therefore, a 1500 is an average composite score and the maximum score is 2400.  The essay is given a score between 2-12, whereby two graders each give the essay a score from 1-6. A study from MIT’s professor of writing, Les Perelman, found a strong positive correlation between the length of the essay and the essay’s score.

Tip: Make your essay long by using lots of relevant supporting details and utilize infrequently used words like “plethora” and “myriad” instead of “a lot” or “many.” 

What do Colleges Require?

When applying to colleges, it is important to understand what college admissions officers are looking for.  Most colleges place great importance on a student’s cumulative high school GPA (Grade Point Average), rigorous coursework, SAT/ACT standardized test scores, application essay, and letters of recommendation. In addition, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, ethnicity, work experience, and state residency are also strongly considered.

Tip: Research the colleges of your choice so that you can set a goal for your SAT score. You can search for this information on https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search

Florida International University (FIU)

16,600 applicantsà 6,500 admitted

Average SAT Scores: Critical Reading 560 + Math 570 + Writing 550 = Composite Score 1680

Average ACT Score: 26


Florida State University (FSU)

28,300 applicantsà 16,500 admitted

Average SAT Scores: Critical Reading 580 + Math 600 + Writing 590 = Composite Score 1770

Average ACT Score: 26.5


University of Florida (UF)

27,300 applicantsà 11,800 admitted

Average SAT Scores: Critical Reading 620 + Math 640 + Writing 630 = Composite Score 1890

Average ACT Score: 27


Boston University (BU)

41,800 applicantsà 20,600 admitted

Average SAT Scores: Critical Reading 620 + Math 660 + Writing 640 = Composite Score 1920

Average ACT Score: 28

 What do Florida Bright Future Scholarships Require?

All students in the state of Florida may be eligible to receive Florida Bright Future Scholarships if they meet the requirements below.

The Florida Academic Scholar, which pays 100% tuition for a 4-year public university in Florida, requires a 3.5 GPA, 100 hours of community service, and a minimum score of 1280 or 28 on the SAT (Critical Reading and Math sections only) or ACT, respectively. 

The Florida Medallion Scholar, which pays 75% tuition for a 4-year public university in Florida, requires a 3.0 GPA, 75 hours of community service, and a minimum score of 1020 or 22 on the SAT (Critical Reading and Math sections only) or ACT, respectively.

 When Should I Take the SAT?

Most students take the SAT for the first time in the Spring of their junior year and again, for a second time, in the Fall of their senior year.

Tip: Take the SAT only two times because the best score from each section will be combined. If you take the SAT three or more times, your scores will be averaged and this will less likely increase your score.

What Should I do to Prepare? 

In order to prepare for the SAT, make sure to take several practice tests. There are a wide variety of SAT practice books available in bookstores and online. Discipline yourself each week by setting aside time to practice. Being familiar with the test format and instructions beforehand will help you save time and feel more confident on the day of the exam. Additionally, make sure you are timing yourself as you practice. The test allows about 1 minute per question. The CollegeBoard.org has a free online SAT practice test that will provide you with a detailed report identifying your specific areas of strengths and weaknesses. You may also choose to take an SAT preparation course, which provides content review, test-taking strategies, and practice. 

How do I register?

You can register for upcoming SAT tests online at www.collegeboard.org at least three weeks prior to the test date. The registration fee is $50.

 If you are interested in registering for an SAT preparation course go to www.doralSATprep.com. Mention this article and save $25 off any class!



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