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SAT I: Reasoning Test Information

Frequently asked questions:

What is the SAT I?

What is the content of the SAT I?

How do I register for this wonderful testing extravaganza?

Should I have my parents check the registration form?

How much do these tests cost?

Do I need a social security number?

Are these testing services really uptight about registration deadlines?

How should I register for SAT I exams?

Where should I take the SAT I?

Should I register for the "Student Search Service"?

Should I have my scores reported to 4 colleges of my choice free of charge?

How will I be able to verify my testing date and admission to the test?

Should I take the SAT I or the ACT Exam?

Test dates and deadlines

What is the SAT I?

The SAT I: Reasoning Test measures general verbal and mathematics reasoning abilities important to doing college work. It assesses knowledge and skills that you develop through your classes and through your experiences outside the classroom. The test measures your ability to reason with facts and concepts rather than your ability to recall and recite them. SAT I scores are useful to college admissions officers in comparing your preparation and ability with applicants from different high schools having widely varying courses and grading standards.

What is the content of the SAT I?

The SAT I: Reasoning Test has seven sections: two thirty-minute and one fifteen-minute verbal sections, two thirty-minute and one fifteen-minute mathematics sections, and one thirty-minute section of equating questions. The College Board (publisher of this test) uses the equating section, which does not count in your score, to evaluate test questions. The same sections are not in the same order in each test book.

The total test takes three hours plus an additional forty minutes or so for directions and completing the personal information section of the answer sheet.

The SAT I verbal sections consist of...

78 questions that focus on your ability to read critically. They take a total of seventy-five minutes to answer. Questions are of three types:

1.Sentence completion's 2. Analogies and 3. Critical reading questions.

Critical reading questions make up fifty percent of the verbal test, and more than three-fourths of the verbal testing time is spent on reading passages and questions. The sentence completion and analogy questions are selected from four broad content areas: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and human relations.

  • Sentence completion: 19 questions. Sentence completion questions measure your knowledge of the meanings of words and your ability to understand how the different parts of a sentence logically fit together.

  • Analogies: 19 questions. Analogy questions test your knowledge of the meaning of words, your ability to see a relationship in a pair of words, and your ability to recognize a similar or parallel relationship.

  • Critical reading: 40 questions. These questions are based on reading passages of 400 to 850 words. Reading questions measure critical reading skills and knowledge of vocabulary in context. Reading selections are taken from a variety of fields including social sciences, natural sciences, and the humanities. In addition, narrative passages are included, either fiction or nonfiction. One set of reading questions ask you to think about what is going on in the passage or the pair of related passages. The critical reading is designed to measure your ability to analyze and evaluate ideas, opinions and arguments.

The SAT I mathematical sections consists of...

  • 60 questions designed for the student who has had a year of algebra and some geometry. Most of the questions are classified as arithmetic, algebra, or geometry. There are approximately equal numbers of questions in each category. The test takes seventy-five minutes.

  • Arithmetic: Simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; percent; data interpretation (including mean, median, and mode); odd and even numbers; prime numbers; divisibility.

  • Algebra: Negative numbers; substitution; simplifying algebraic expressions; simple factoring; linear equations; inequalities; simple quadratic equations; positive integer exponents; roots of numbers; sequences.

  • Geometry: Area and perimeter of a polygon; area and circumference of a circle; volume of a box, cube, and cylinder; Pythagorean Theorem and special properties of isosceles, equilateral, and right triangles; 30-60-90 degree and 45-45-90 degree triangles; properties of parallel and perpendicular lines; simple coordinate geometry; slope; similarity; geometric visualization.

  • Other: Logical reasoning; newly-defined symbols and operations that are based on commonly-used symbols and operation; probability and counting.

  • There is an emphasis in the mathematics reasoning sections upon your ability to apply mathematical concepts and interpret data.

  • The test is made up of: Standard five-choice, multiple choice questions: 35 questions. Quantitative Comparison questions (Multiple-choice): 15 questions. Student-Produced Response questions: 10 questions.

  • In addition to multiple-choice and quantitative comparison questions, ten questions require you to produce your own answers, not just select one from a set of multiple-choice alternatives. You respond by filling in your own answers on special grids on the answer sheet.

  • The College Board recommends that you bring your calculator to the SAT I: Reasoning Test. While no question will require a calculator to determine its answer, recent studies indicate that students who use calculators do somewhat better on the test than those who do not. Any four function, scientific or graphing calculator is permitted. Calculators will not be supplied at the test site.

How do I register for this wonderful testing extravaganza?

The official SAT Program Registration Bulletin is available in your counseling office. This bulletin contains the needed registration form and return envelope. This document also includes helpful information about the test, sample questions and tips about how to register efficiently.

Should I have my parents check the registration form?

It is always a good idea to have someone proof read registration and application forms. So, ask your parents to double check to make sure you have everything. (This gives them the chance to feel involved in the process too).

How much do these tests cost?

The SAT I will set you or your parents back $21.50 at the time of registration (2002-03). Low income waivers are available through your counselor.

Do I need a social security number?

It is not required but it is strongly recommended by the folks at Educational Testing Services. It makes the scoring and reporting of your scores much easier. If you have not gotten a social security number yet, get one now.

Are these testing services really uptight about registration deadlines?

Yes! Don't mess around with the deadlines! Standard deadlines for the SAT I and II are generally 5 weeks before the test date. Late registration is offered for a $15.00 late fee. A last ditch opportunity to take the test is offered on the day of the test at the test site. You can wait to see if you can register as a "stand by" and pay a $30.00 fee. In short, avoid hassles and get registration materials now and complete them.

How should I register for SAT I Test?

Although the exam is administered 7 times a year, most high school students take the SAT I in the spring of their junior year and/or the fall of their senior year. Registration deadlines tend to fall approximately five weeks before each test date.

To register by mail, simply fill out the registration form in the College Board's Bulletin for the SAT Program. Free copies of this publication can be obtained from the school's guidance counselor. Or students can call ETS at 609-771-7600 and they will send copies free of charge. Registration can also be done online at-

Where should I take the SAT I: Reasoning Test?

Take it at a site close to home that you are familiar with. (Hopefully, the test will be offered in your home town) The closer to home, the more comfortable you will probably be on the test day. The registration bulletin provided at your counseling center provides a listing of all test sites in addition to suggestions about what to do if you live more than 75 miles from a test site or if you have to change testing dates.

Should I register for the "Student Search Service"?

Consider checking the box on the registration form for this service if you want to be placed on a mailing list for colleges using the service. If you don't want more information coming in the mail, then don't check the box!

Should I have my SAT I scores reported to 4 colleges of my choice free of charge?

You might as well take advantage of the opportunity to have scores reported through the Score Reports to Colleges and Scholarship Programs option. The Educational Testing Service offers you the opportunity to send out FREE reports about your scores to 4 schools that you choose. Some students worry that if their scores are not "good" enough then it will hurt their chances of admission if the schools receive the "low" scores. Don't worry about this. If you do have to re-take the SAT to raise your scores, the schools in question will get a report from ETS that includes your PREVIOUS "low" score anyway! So -- you might as well take advantage of the 4 FREE reports the ETS offers you. Have the scores sent to 4 of the primary schools you think you would like to attend. You will be able to send out additional score reports once you have received your test scores in the mail.

How will I be able to verify my testing date and admission to the test?

A week or two before the test date you signed up for, you will receive an "Admissions Packet" in the mail. This packet will include your Admission Ticket that will be checked at the site. You will not get in without it. Remember to bring a picture identification and social security card. Read your Admission Packet Material thoroughly for complete information about your test.

Should I take the SAT I or the ACT?

You might want to take both the ACT and SAT I: Reasoning Test. Since the tests are somewhat different in purpose, content and structure, you may find that you score better on one than the other. Many students find that they perform differently on the two tests. Review the descriptive information provided in the sample booklets that you receive with your testing applications to determine which test might be best for you. Consult with your guidance counselor or Career Center Specialist to see if they can help you make a decision. If your grades are not strong enough to give you a good chance of admission at the college of your choice, test scores might make a difference. Therefore, it may be to your advantage to try both tests to maximize your admission chances.

Most colleges accept scores from either the SAT I:Reasoning Test, or the ACT. However, some schools prefer one test over the other, and may only accept one of the tests. Generally, the SAT I:Reasoning Test is more widely used. Use the College Research service in this program to help find specific information about which of these tests is accepted by your potential college choices.

SAT and ACT Test Dates

Date of
Test Register
Get Scores By
Web Mail
Sep. 11, 2011
ACT Aug. 6, 2011
(8/20 with late fee)
Sep. 27, 2011 Oct. 9, 2011
Oct. 9, 2011
SAT & SAT Subject Sep. 10, 2011
(9/24 with late fee)
Oct. 28, 2011 Nov. 5, 2011
Oct. 23, 2011
ACT Sep. 17, 2011
(10/1 with late fee)
Nov. 9 , 2011 Nov. 20, 2011
Nov. 6, 2011
SAT & SAT Subject Oct. 8, 2011
(10/22 with late fee)
Nov. 23, 2011 Dec. 3, 2011
Dec. 4, 2011
SAT & SAT Subject Nov. 5, 2011
(11/19 with late fee)
Dec. 21, 2011 Jan. 3, 2012
Dec. 11, 2011
ACT Nov. 5, 2011
(11/19 with late fee)
Dec. 27, 2011 Jan. 8, 2012
Jan. 22, 2012
SAT & SAT Subject Dec. 23, 2012
(1/7 with late fee)
Feb. 10, 2012 Feb. 18, 2012
Feb. 12, 2012
ACT Jan. 7, 2012
(1/21 with late fee)
Feb. 28, 2012 Mar. 12, 2012
Mar. 12, 2012
SAT only Feb. 11, 2012
(2/25 with late fee)
Mar. 31, 2012 Apr. 8, 2012
Apr. 9, 2012
ACT Mar. 4, 2012
(3/18 with late fee)
Apr. 25, 2012 May 7, 2012
May 7, 2012
SAT & SAT Subject Apr. 8, 2012
(4/22 with late fee)
May 26, 2012 June 3, 2012
June 4, 2012
SAT & SAT Subject May. 6, 2012
(5/20 with late fee)
June 23, 2012 July 1, 2012
June 11, 2012
ACT May 6, 2012
(5/20 with late fee)
June 27, 2012 July 9, 2012