Learn More About the SAT

From an overview of the SAT to how it is scored to upcoming test dates, learn everything you need to know about the SAT below.  


The SAT is a 3-hour and 50-minute test accepted by all major colleges and universities.  The test features the following four sections and an optional essay:

  • Reading Test: One 65-minute section testing critical reading skills across five long reading passages

  • Writing and Language Test: One 35-minute section which measures grammar and rhetorical skills 

  • Math Tests: One 25-minute no-calculator section and one 55-minute section with calculator section that test typical math skills learned throughout the high school curriculum

  • Essay: One optional 50-minute essay that requires students to read a passage and then analyze and explain how the author builds an argument 


The SAT is scored on out 1600 points.  Students receive two scores from 200-800: one in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (based on the Reading Test and Writing and Language Test) and one in Mathematics.  The total score out of 1600 is simply the sum of the two scores.  Student's scores are based on how many questions they answer correctly in each section.  There is no penalty for guessing on the SAT, so it is important that students never leave any answer blank.   

The Writing portion (Essay) is scored separately on a scale of 2-12 points.  This score is an extra score and does not have any effect on a student's overall SAT score.         

2019-2020 SAT Test Dates

Test Date 

October 5, 2019    

November 2, 2019

December 7, 2019

March 14, 2020

May 2, 2020

June 6, 2020         

Registration Deadline

September 6, 2019

October 3, 2019

November 8, 2019

February 14, 2020

April 3, 2020

May 8, 2020

Late Registration Deadline (extra fee required)

September 7-24, 2019

October 4-22, 2019

November 9-26, 2019

February 15 - March 3, 2020

April 4-21, 2020

May 9-27, 2020

When Should I Take the SAT?

Most students will take the SAT during their junior year.  Deciding when to begin preparing and taking the test depends on each student's schedule and academics.  It is important to keep in mind that most students will take the SAT two or three     times, so the full process of preparing and taking these tests usually lasts 4-6 months.  Many of our students will begin to prepare for the SAT over the summer before junior year and will begin taking the SAT in the fall.  In general, we always recommend starting sooner rather than later, as junior year is an extremely busy time for students and starting SAT Prep early can make the process much less stressful.         

Registering for the SAT

To register for the SAT, go to www.collegeboard.com to create an account and register for the test.  Students will also use this site to check scores once they are released (usually about 2 weeks after the test).  Be sure to register for the SAT early, as many of the testing locations in North County San Diego fill up quickly.