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What does SAT stand for?

Written by Shefali Sundram

Updated on: 07 Dec 2023

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  • The test was originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and later became the Scholastic Assessment Test. 
  • The acronym SAT no longer stands for anything but is the actual name of the test. 

If you are a high school student thinking about going to college after graduation. You would be aware of the different exams for admission into the college of your choice.

One of these exams is the SAT.

What does the SAT stand for? In this article, we will explore what does the SAT stand for and what is the purpose of the SAT?

What’s the purpose of the SAT?

Colleges in the United States require a score from the SAT as part of your admissions process. The score you receive on this exam is a major component of your college application.

The score you get on your exam is a major component of your college application. The score helps the college determine who they will accept. The SAT measures how well the test-takers can analyze and solve problems which are skills that are learned while in school and will be needed in college. 

Why take the SAT?

The SAT is an admission test that is accepted by U.S college and many international colleges and universities.

SAT scores help college compare students from different high schools. Your score shows your strengths and readiness for college work.

The scores are one of the parts of the college application along with the grades, course rigor and recommendations

Who can take the SAT?

There is no age limit for the SAT. The SAT can be taken by students in 11th or 12th grade in preparation for college applications.

The College Board may waive the requirement for people over certain ages. If you are 12 years old and younger read about SAT registration for younger students or 21 years old and older,  SAT registration for test-takers over the age of 21.

When is the SAT administered?

The SAT is conducted seven times a year, in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. There are also SAT School Days conducted in the fall and spring which happens in schools on a weekday.

Recommended Reading: When should you take the SAT

How many times can you take the SAT?

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want. The College Board recommends that the students take it at least twice. Once in the spring of their junior year and then again in the fall of their senior year.

How to register for the SAT?

Students can register to take the SAT through their College Board account.  They can select the test dates and test center that works for them.

Although an increasing number of students are participating in the SAT School Day.  It takes place during the week instead of on the weekend.

For these SAT administrations, the school selects the test date and either registers students online or has them fill out the registration information o their SAT answer sheet.

Where do you take the SAT?

If your school isn’t part of the SAT School Day program, you can sign up to take the SAT on a Saturday- at a testing center.

Many public schools and private schools function as testing centers for the Saturday administration.

Find your nearest SAT testing center.

How long is the SAT?

The SAT is a three-hour test. If we include the breaks, the SAT is exactly 3 hours and 15 minutes long.

If you sign up for the optional essay section, the test takes 3 hours 50 mins and if you include breaks it would be 4 hours 5 mins. 

Look up our detailed resource on: How long is the SAT


The SAT, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, holds immense significance for college admissions in the United States.

Understanding its purpose and the registration process is crucial for high school students. By scoring well on the SAT, you can enhance your college application.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between SAT & PSAT?

The PSAT is a practice SAT taken by the juniors while the SAT is a college entrance exam. The SAT is more challenging than the PSAT. 

The fee for PSAT is $18 and the fee for SAT is $55. While the PSAT is scored between 320 and 1520, the SAT is scored between 400 and 1600.

What is the main purpose of SAT? 

SAT score help colleges compare students from different high schools. Your scores show your strengths and readiness for college work. 

What is more important GPA or SAT score?

The SAT is considered a more valuable admission tool than your GPA. The most obvious is that the SAT is a standardized test. While your GPA compares you to the rest of your school, your SAT score compares you to the rest of the country.

Although both play an important role in your college admission. 


  1. Study in the States- What is the SAT?. (n.d.).Retrieved on 30th May 2023, from https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2012/07/what-sat
  2. What Does SAT Stand For?- The Complete Story. (n.d.). Retrieved on 30th May, 2023 fromhttps://blog.prepscholar.com/what-does-sat-stand-for
  3. Mometrix Blog- What Does SAT Stand For? (n.d). Retrieved from 30th May,2023 from https://www.mometrix.com/blog/what-does-sat-stand-for/
  4. College Board Blog- What’s the Difference Between the SAT and PSAT?(n.d). Retrieved on 30th May,2023, fromhttps://blog.collegeboard.org/difference-between-sat-and-psat

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Shefali Sundram

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