sat without essay 2023

Which Colleges Require SAT Essay in 2022-2023?

If you’re wondering which colleges require sat essay in 2022-2023, this guide has all you need to know — including how to decide whether to take the essay..

Updated by TCM Staff on 3rd September 2022

3rd September 2022

College Board has recently made major changes to the SAT essay that can affect your application

If there’s one thing that many college applicants tend to feel intimidated by, it’s the need to do well in standardized tests like the SAT. Although fewer colleges and universities continue to require the submission of standardized test scores, many still do require them. And if doing well in the SAT wasn’t stressful enough, some colleges also require the SAT essay — so there’s an additional bit of pressure to do well in that, too. If you’re one of the thousands of applicants wondering which colleges require SAT essay scores to be submitted, this comprehensive guide is for you.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a centralized examination that evaluates examinees on four grounds: critical reading, writing, mathematics, and the optional SAT essay. 

However, College Board announced in January 2021 that it would stop offering the SAT essay effective immediately. This means that no more colleges require you to take the SAT with an essay.

Read on to find out everything you need to know, including what the SAT essay is, how it is scored, what schools require the SAT essay, and more information about the news from College Board.

What is the SAT Essay?

The SAT Essay is a supplementary segment of the centralized Scholastic Aptitude Test. 

If you’ve heard about the SAT and the essay before, then you might be asking the question “is the essay required on the SAT?” The answer is simple. 

There was a time when an essay was a required portion of the test and everyone simply had to take it as part of sitting for their SATs. Because it was pretty much a required section of the SAT during that time, all colleges that required the SAT also required the SAT essay.

The essay evaluates the candidate’s comprehensive, writing, and time management skills. An argumentative passage is laid out for the applicant to study, analyze, and summarize. College Board usually assembled sample  SAT essay prompts for assistance. During the essay, examinees are allotted 50 minutes to read the prompt, analyze it, and write their responses in essay form.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that College Board made the essay optional in 2016. For this reason, many colleges and universities began dropping it from their application requirements. Even then, many colleges and universities continued to require the essay or at least recommend students to take it and submit their scores alongside their application.

Editor’s note: College Board has made a big announcement in 2021 that renders this information invalid. See their announcement below.

How is the SAT Essay Scored?

To understand how the SAT essay is scored, we must first take a closer look at the essay itself.

Every SAT Essay is comprised of a passage around 650-750 words long. You are given 50 minutes to read, analyze, and then respond to this prompt. The primary purpose of these essays is the assessment of your analysis skills. Strong essays focus on how you use evidence and reasoning alongside any other rhetorical techniques in building your convincing argument.

Essays are the same in every test. The only thing that will change is the passage or prompt you’ll be tasked to respond to.

Once you’ve completed your essay, two scorers will evaluate it. These scorers must assign a score between 1 to 4 in the three categories of reading, analysis, and writing. Once the scorers give you their ratings, scores are added up to give you a total between 2 and 8 for each of the three categories. But what do the scores mean?

  • Reading - Graders will score you based on how well they think your essay showed your understanding of the passage and whether you used textual evidence to demonstrate this understanding.
  • Analysis - Your score in this section is determined by how well you have analyzed the text. It also considers how you performed in explaining this analysis with reasoning, evidence, and other rhetorical techniques for persuasion.
  • Writing - Your writing score is effectively based on how well you’ve used language. It takes into consideration factors such as how skillful you were in crafting responses, how clear your essay’s structure is, how clear your essay’s point or thesis is, and so on.

Do Ivy League Schools Require the SAT Essay?

It may seem surprising, but if you look at which colleges require the SAT essay, you may notice that most top schools do not make it a requirement. 

In recent years, no Ivy League schools have required applicants to submit their SAT scores with the essay. The same applies to other prestigious top-notch schools such as Caltech, Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, NYU, MIT, and more. 

Many liberal arts colleges also did not require or recommend you take the SAT with the essay.

However, it’s not just the essay that a good number of schools have been dropping as a requirement.

Many Schools Have Been Dropping the SAT Requirement

Many colleges and universities have begun dropping the standardized test requirement entirely, including some highly prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, and Princeton University. These three institutions, among many others, have made SAT and ACT scores entirely optional in their application process. Submitting your scores will get them considered during these schools’ holistic admissions process, but your SAT scores will not put you at an advantage over others who have chosen not to submit theirs.

The trend of dropping standardized test scores as a requirement was noted even as early as 2018. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has accelerated this process and prompted plenty of other institutions to make their testing policies more lenient overall. This trend is welcomed by critics who have for a long time expressed how standardized testing might put underprivileged and underserved students at a disadvantage.

To compensate for dropping the standardized testing requirement, colleges and universities have instead started placing more weight on the other factors comprising a student’s application. For example, to test a student’s writing ability, colleges will look more closely at the applicant’s personal statement or their grades in subjects like English.

Editor’s note: It’s worth mentioning that some institutions, such as Harvard, have simply suspended the requirement for the coming years. However, there is no telling whether Harvard will actually reinstate this requirement after this suspension period.

College Board’s Massive Announcement in January 2021: No More SAT Essay

In a surprise announcement on January 2021, College Board stated that they are no longer offering SAT Subject Tests and the optional SAT essay. As such, both were discontinued effective immediately and were completely phased out from the SATs. Moving forward from that point, the SAT essay is no longer available — unless in circumstances outlined below.

Students from certain states may still be required to sit for the essays if it is a part of their SAT School Day administrations . 

Through SAT School Day administrations, College Board allows schools, districts, and states to offer their juniors and seniors an equalizing opportunity: sit for their SATs during a regular school day in their home school. 

Few states continue to require the essay during SAT School Day administrations. 

States that continue to require it in the academic year 2021 to 2022 include:

  • New Hampshire

College Board advises that if you are scheduled to take your SATs on a school day, you should inquire with your school if the essay will be required.

Why Did College Board Discontinue the SAT Essay?

According to College Board in its FAQ , they chose to discontinue the SAT essay simply because they are adapting to students’ and colleges’ changing needs. College Board believes that discontinuing the essay allows for the streamlining of the entire process, especially for students who have more relevant methods or opportunities to show their reading, analysis, and writing skills.

College Board states that despite this discontinuation, they will continue measuring students’ writing and editing skills in other ways. An example would be the tasks on the SAT’s reading, writing, and language sections. If you wish to demonstrate your skills in reading, analysis, and writing, it may benefit you to prepare better for the pertinent SAT sections.

Should I Take the SAT Essay? How to Decide

At this point, you are no longer given the decision of whether to take the SAT essay or not. Unfortunately, since the essay has been entirely discontinued, you will not be able to sit for it anywhere. The exception, of course, is if the essay is included as part of your SAT School Day administration. And again, if the essay is included, you are simply required to take it, with no option to avoid it.

For this reason, if you are scheduled to take your SAT on a school day, you may want to check with your school guidance office and find out whether the essay will be required. Doing so well ahead of time can help you prepare well for the SAT essays so you can up your chances of getting a good score.

Which Colleges Require SAT Essay in 2022?

After all that news, you may still be wondering “which universities require SAT essay?”

In light of College Board’s huge announcement in January 2021 that eliminated SAT subject tests and essays entirely, it is no longer possible to take the SAT essay unless in certain circumstances. It is for this reason that no more colleges or universities require students to take the SAT essays .

However, if you do take the essay, you can continue to submit your scores alongside your application. Admissions officers may choose to consider your essay scores along with the rest of your application, though the choice to do so is almost always up to their discretion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do any colleges require sat with essay.

There was a time that there were indeed colleges and universities that required applicants to submit their SAT scores with an essay. However, since January 2021, College Board no longer offers the SAT essay. If you’re wondering about colleges requiring SAT essay, as of today there are no longer any.

Is the SAT essay still required?

If you’re wondering what colleges require the SAT essay, the answer is none. In January 2021, College Board discontinued SAT subject tests and the otional SAT essay, which means no more schools require it.

Does UCLA require SAT with essay?

UCLA was previously one of the schools that require SAT essay from their applicants. However, this is no longer the case since the essays have been completely discontinued.

Is SAT essay required for Harvard?

For the past couple of years, Harvard has suspended its requirement for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT in their applications to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. Harvard has pushed this suspension to the 2026 application cycle. Harvard no longer requires the SAT essay either, but if you have managed to take it you can still submit your scores for consideration .

Does SAT essay affect your score?

Since the SAT essay became optional, it no longer affects your overall SAT score. Essay scores are shown separately on your report. Note that the optional essay has been discontinued since January of 2021, and you can only take the essay under rare special circumstances discussed in the article above.

If you’re in the middle of preparing your applications for your dream schools, it only makes sense to wonder which colleges require SAT essay. Only a year or so ago, there would’ve been a big list of colleges that require the SAT essay, despite it being an optional section of the standardized test. 

However, since College Board discontinued SAT subject tests and the optional essay in January of 2021, there are no longer any colleges requiring you to submit your essay scores with your application.  

If you have managed to take the essay, you may still be able to submit your scores for consideration. Good luck!

Taking the SATs soon? Find out when you’ll get your SAT results .

Blogs you might be interested in

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The Optional SAT Essay: What to Know

Tackling this section of the SAT requires preparation and can boost some students' college applications.

Elementary school student series.

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Even though an increasing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements, students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so.

Although the essay portion of the SAT became optional in 2016, many students still chose to write it to demonstrate strong or improved writing skills to prospective colleges.

In June 2021, the College Board opted to discontinue the SAT essay. Now, only students in a few states and school districts still have access to — and must complete — the SAT essay. This requirement applies to some students in the SAT School Day program, for instance, among other groups.

How Colleges Use SAT, ACT Results

Tiffany Sorensen Sept. 14, 2020

High school students having their exam inside a classroom.

Whether or not to write the SAT essay is not the biggest decision you will have to make in high school, but it is certainly one that requires thought on your part. Here are three things you should know about the 50-minute SAT essay as you decide whether to complete it:

  • To excel on the SAT essay, you must be a trained reader.
  • The SAT essay begs background knowledge of rhetoric and persuasive writing.
  • A growing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements.

To Excel on the SAT Essay, You Must Be a Trained Reader

The SAT essay prompt never comes unaccompanied. On the contrary, it follows a text that is about 700 words long or approximately one page. Before test-takers can even plan their response, they must carefully read and – ideally – annotate the passage.

The multifaceted nature of the SAT essay prompt can be distressing to students who struggle with reading comprehension. But the good news is that this prompt is highly predictable: It always asks students to explain how the author builds his or her argument. In this case, "how” means which rhetorical devices are used, such as deductive reasoning, metaphors, etc.

Luckily, the author’s argument is usually spelled out in the prompt itself. For instance, consider this past SAT prompt : “Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved.”

Due to the essay prompt’s straightforward nature, students should read the passage with an eye toward specific devices used by the author rather than poring over “big ideas.” In tour SAT essay, aim to analyze at least two devices, with three being even better.

The SAT Essay Begs Background Knowledge of Rhetoric and Persuasive Writing

Since your SAT essay response must point to specific rhetorical devices that the author employs to convince the reader, you should make it a point to intimately know 10-15 common ones. The more familiar you are with rhetorical devices, the faster you will become at picking them out as you read texts.

Once you have read the passage and identified a handful of noteworthy rhetorical devices, you should apply many of the same essay-writing techniques you already use in your high school English classes.

For instance, you should start by brainstorming to see which devices you have the most to say about. After that, develop a concise thesis statement, incorporate quotes from the text, avoid wordiness and other infelicities of writing, close with an intriguing conclusion, and do everything else you could imagine your English teacher advising you to do.

Remember to always provide evidence from the text to support your claims. Finally, leave a few minutes at the end to review your essay for mistakes.

A Growing Number of Colleges Are Dropping Standardized Test Requirements

In recent years, some of America’s most prominent colleges and universities – including Ivy League institutions like Harvard University in Massachusetts, Princeton University in New Jersey and Yale University in Connecticut – have made submission of ACT and SAT scores optional.

While this trend began as early as 2018, the upheaval caused by COVID-19 has prompted many other schools to adopt a more lenient testing policy, as well.

Advocates for educational fairness have long expressed concerns that standardized admissions tests put underprivileged students at a disadvantage. In light of the coronavirus pandemic , which restricted exam access for almost all high school students, colleges have gotten on board with this idea by placing more emphasis on other factors in a student’s application.

To assess writing ability in alternative ways, colleges now place more emphasis on students’ grades in language-oriented subjects, as well as college application documents like the personal statement .

The fact that more colleges are lifting their ACT/SAT requirement does not imply that either test or any component of it is now obsolete. Students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so, especially those who wish to major in a writing-intensive field. The essay can also demonstrate a progression or upward trajectory in writing skills.

The SAT essay can give a boost to the college applications of the few students to whom it is still available. If the requirement applies to you, be sure to learn more about the SAT essay and practice it often as you prepare for your upcoming SAT.

13 Test Prep Tips for SAT and ACT Takers

Studying for college entrance exam

Tags: SAT , standardized tests , students , education

About College Admissions Playbook

Stressed about getting into college? College Admissions Playbook, authored by Varsity Tutors , offers prospective college students advice on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, SAT and ACT exams and the college application process. Varsity Tutors, an advertiser with U.S. News & World Report, is a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. The company's end-to-end offerings also include mobile learning apps, online learning environments and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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How Long Is the SAT?

Last Updated on April 20, 2023

The SAT booklet is the same length and width as standard U.S. Letter paper. So, the SAT is about 11 inches long (and 8.5 inches wide) … Ha!

Now that we’re all smiling, let’s dive into the two closely interrelated meanings of “How long is the SAT?” that you came here for:

  • Duration: How much time does the SAT take ?
  • Total volume: How many questions are on the SAT?

We’ll also touch on other factors related to SAT timing, including scheduled start time, breaks, and proctors’ warnings.

Here are the topics we’ll cover:

What is the total testing time, how long does the sat last, start to finish, how long will i spend in the test center.

  • What Warnings Will My Proctor Give?

When Should I Get to the Test Center?

Who completes the essay, what is the length of the sat with essay, what’s next.

Let’s start by taking a look at how long each section of the SAT is.

How Long Are the SAT Test Sections?

The 2022-2023 SAT will have four sections. As shown on the College Board website , the sections will always appear in the same order, with the following durations:

The total testing time for all four sections of the 2022-2023 SAT (without the essay)—for the test sections only, NOT counting breaks—is 180 minutes.

The total testing time for the 2022-2023 SAT (without the essay) is exactly 3 hours.

When Are the Breaks During the SAT?

There are two scheduled breaks between sections:

  • Between Sections 1 and 2 , the two verbal sections, you’ll get a 10-minute break .
  • Between Sections 3 and 4 , the two math sections , you’ll get a 5-minute break .

Pay attention to the designated areas where you need to stay during the SAT. During these two breaks, you’ll most likely be restricted to the testing area, restrooms, and the adjoining hallway. If you stray from the designated areas, or if you’re overheard discussing any part of the exam with others, you’ll be dismissed and your scores will be voided!

Including breaks, the 2022-2023 SAT will last 195 minutes, or 3 hours and 15 minutes.

This is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint! So, at home before the test, be sure to eat a nutritious, well-balanced meal that is rich in both protein and complex carbohydrates. (But don’t stuff yourself.) This type of meal will be the ideal breakfast to fuel your brain for the duration of the SAT, so you’re unlikely to ‘crash’ partway through the test or experience big swings in your alertness. A balanced breakfast can also help regulate your stress levels during the SAT .

From start to finish, including breaks, the 2022-2023 SAT lasts for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

The entire duration of your 2022-2023 SAT experience on test day will include the time needed for preliminary procedures: filling out your personal information on the answer sheet, signing and dating your forms, and going over rules and procedures with your proctor.

These initial formalities should take about half an hour, for a grand total of 3 hours and 45 minutes of closed-door time inside the test center.

Since you can be admitted up to 15 minutes early, you could be inside the test center for up to 4 hours.

How Can I Track Time During the SAT?

Your testing area should have at least one clock prominently displayed where you can easily see it without having to wheel around or crane your neck.

In addition, your proctor will issue a predetermined set of time cues out loud for all test-takers to hear.

What Time Warnings Will My Proctor Give?

Here is the entire slate of time cues that your proctor will be instructed to speak aloud.

SECTION 1: Reading (65 minutes)

At the beginning: Time starts now.

After 30 minutes: You have 35 minutes remaining in Section 1.

After 60 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 1.

After 65 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

10-Minute Break

The proctor should post the clock time that ends the break, when testing will resume. The proctor will not be required to give any time cues out loud during the break.

SECTION 2: Writing & Language (35 minutes)

After 15 minutes: You have 20 minutes remaining in Section 2.

After 30 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 2.

After 35 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

SECTION 3: Math, No Calculator (25 minutes)

After 10 minutes: You have 15 minutes remaining in Section 3.

After 20 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 3.

After 25 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

5-Minute Break

The proctor should post the time when testing will resume. The proctor will not necessarily issue any cues aloud.

SECTION 4: Math, With Calculator (55 minutes)

After 25 minutes: You have 30 minutes remaining in Section 4.

After 50 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 4.

After 55 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

Your proctor will issue spoken time warnings on the schedule above. These will be valuable no matter what, but especially if there is any issue with the clocks in your testing room.

For Saturday administrations of the 2022-2023 SAT, the doors at your test center will open by 7:45 AM. The doors will close at 8:00 AM sharp.

Don’t be late! If you arrive after the doors close, you’ll be turned away and your test will be canceled.

What About the Optional Essay?

The optional SAT essay of previous years is no more. The weekend administrations of the 2022-2023 SAT, on nationwide test dates, will not offer an essay section.

However, there is a small group of test-takers in certain states who will, in fact, see an essay on their 2022-2023 SAT. If you’re one of these test-takers, you’ll write the essay as an additional section, after you finish the four sections that make up the SAT without essay.

The only 2022-2023 SAT administrations with an essay will be given during school hours, in states that have adopted the SAT as part of their mandatory statewide 11th grade public-school assessment testing. These states are Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

If you’re a rising junior at a public high school in one of these states, you’ll take the SAT with essay at school sometime in March or April 2023. If that’s you, please check with your high school guidance counselor or your college admissions advisor for exact test dates and times.

If you’re one of the “chosen few” who will take the 2022-2023 SAT with essay, you’ll have all the same timings and proctor cues as above, plus an additional 2-minute break and a 50-minute period during which to plan and write your essay.

Therefore, for these in-school administrations, the following times apply:

  • The total testing time will be 230 minutes (3 hours and 50 minutes).
  • The total duration from start to finish will be 247 minutes (4 hours and 7 minutes).
  • Your total time spent inside the testing area will be at least 277 minutes (4 hours and 37 minutes).

Good luck, and enjoy your test prep!

Now that you know everything about SAT testing time, check out some tips for motivating yourself to study for the SAT .

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About The Author

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Ron is an inveterate strategist who has always delighted in discovering ‘hacks’ in every corner of his life—cracking standardized tests, charting optimal routes through Southern California's infamous traffic, finding and negotiating bargains, tweaking his own diet and sleep patterns, and more. And in his very first teaching job, back in high school sharing SAT strategies with his own classmates, Ron found the same passion for paying his accumulated knowledge forward. Since those days, Ron has taught in high-school and college classrooms, coached youth track-and-field athletes, and, of course, made a career in test preparation. Ron enjoys long trips on the open road; a bewildering variety of music, from classical to hip-hop to forró to electrocumbia; sharp, well-fitted, and slightly idiosyncratic outfit choices, on himself and others alike; 105-115ºF (40-45ºC) summer days with endless sunshine; and, most of all, building a life with his wife, muse, and kindred spirit, Sarah.

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sat without essay 2023

SAT Changes 2023-2024: What You Need To Know

sat without essay 2023

The SAT, a widely recognized standardized test used for college admissions in the United States, is undergoing changes in 2023 and 2024. These changes aim to improve the test and provide students with a fair and accurate measure of their college readiness. If you're planning to take the SAT during these years, it's crucial to stay informed about the updates to ensure you're well-prepared.

Here's what you need to know about the SAT changes in 2023-2024.

Content changes:.

The SAT will have some adjustments to its content starting in August 2023. The College Board, which administers the SAT, has indicated that the changes will focus on streamlining the test and aligning it more closely with what students are learning in school. While specific details of the content changes have not been released yet, it's important to be aware that there may be adjustments to the test's structure, question types, and emphasis on certain topics.

Optional Essay:

The SAT Essay, which was made optional in 2021, will no longer be offered starting in June 2023. This means that students taking the SAT will no longer have the option to complete the Essay section as part of their test. However, some colleges and universities may still require or recommend the SAT Essay as part of their admissions process, so it's essential to check the requirements of the schools you're interested in.

Digital Testing

The College Board has been gradually transitioning the SAT from a paper-and-pencil test to a digital format. By 2024, the SAT will be predominantly administered digitally, with paper testing options limited to certain circumstances. This means that students may need to take the test on a computer or other digital device, and it's important to familiarize yourself with the digital testing format and practice using it beforehand.

Score Reporting Changes

The College Board has introduced a new policy called "Score Choice" that allows students to choose which scores they want to send to colleges. Starting in September 2023, students will have the option to send only their best scores from individual sections of the SAT, rather than sending their entire test scores. This policy change provides more flexibility for students to strategically send their best scores to colleges, and it's important to understand how it may affect your score reporting strategy.

Fee Waivers

The College Board has also expanded access to fee waivers for eligible students, starting in the 2022-2023 school year. Fee waivers can help reduce or eliminate the costs associated with taking the SAT, including registration fees, late fees, and additional score reports. Students from low-income backgrounds or who meet other eligibility criteria may be eligible for fee waivers, and it's crucial to explore these options to ensure that cost is not a barrier to taking the SAT.

Test Dates and Deadlines

The SAT test dates and deadlines may also change in 2023-2024. It's essential to check the College Board's website for the most up-to-date information on test dates, registration deadlines, and other important dates related to the SAT. Planning ahead and registering early can help ensure that you secure a spot on your desired test date and avoid late registration fees.

Preparation Strategies

With the changes to the SAT, it's important to adapt your preparation strategies accordingly. As the test content may change, it's crucial to stay updated with the latest information from the College Board and adjust your study materials and strategies accordingly. Additionally, practicing with digital test formats, familiarizing yourself with the online tools and features, and taking practice tests in a digital format can help you prepare for the digital SAT.

When Are the SAT Changes 2023? 

The College Board has announced that the SAT changes for 2023 will be implemented starting in August 2023. This means that the updated content and format of the SAT, including the elimination of the optional Essay section and the introduction of digital testing, will be in effect from the August 2023 test administration onwards. It's important for students planning to take the SAT in or after August 2023 to familiarize themselves with the changes and prepare accordingly. It's also recommended to regularly check the College Board's website for the most up-to-date information on SAT test dates, registration deadlines, and other important updates.

Why Is the SAT Changing? 

The SAT is changing in response to feedback from students, educators, and colleges. The College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, aims to create an exam that is more relevant to students' learning and that reflects the skills needed for success in college and beyond. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the college admissions process, leading to adjustments in standardized testing requirements and formats. The changes to the SAT aim to address these challenges and to provide a fair and accurate assessment of students' abilities.

What Are the Main Changes to the SAT? 

The main changes to the SAT in 2023 include:

Test format

The SAT will move from a paper-based test to a computer-based test. This means that students will take the test on a computer, rather than filling in a bubble sheet with a pencil.

Test content

The SAT will focus more on knowledge and skills that are important for college and career readiness. This includes a greater emphasis on math, as well as more advanced math topics like trigonometry and statistics.

The optional essay section of the SAT will be removed. This means that students will only take the main SAT test, which includes reading, writing and language, and math sections.

The overall test time will be reduced from 3 hours and 50 minutes to 3 hours. This includes removing the essay section and reducing the number of questions in other sections.

The SAT will return to the 1600-point scale, with separate scores for the math and reading/writing sections. The scoring system will also include subscores and cross-test scores to provide more detailed information about a student's performance.

Tips for Prepping for the Digital SAT

Preparing for the digital SAT requires some adjustments compared to preparing for the paper-based SAT. Here are some tips to help you effectively prep for the digital SAT:

Familiarize yourself with the digital format

Get comfortable with the computer-based testing environment by taking practice tests on a computer or a similar device. Familiarize yourself with the navigation tools, features, and functions of the digital SAT platform.

Practice time management

The digital SAT has a reduced overall test time, so practice managing your time effectively during the test. Pace yourself and make sure you are able to complete each section within the allocated time.

Enhance your digital skills

Since the digital SAT is taken on a computer, it's important to develop and improve your digital skills. Practice typing and using the on-screen tools effectively, such as highlighting, underlining, and flagging questions for review.

Practice with official digital SAT practice tests

College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, provides official digital SAT practice tests on their website. Utilize these practice tests to get a feel for the digital format and to practice your skills in a realistic testing environment.

Review test content thoroughly

Although the digital format may be different, the content of the SAT remains the same. Review all the test content thoroughly, including reading, writing and language, math, and any other sections that may be part of the SAT you are taking.

Use reliable study materials

Choose reputable study materials that are specifically designed for the digital SAT. Look for materials that closely mimic the format, content, and difficulty level of the actual test.

Take breaks

Just like with the paper-based SAT, taking breaks during your digital SAT prep can help you maintain focus and concentration. Take regular breaks during your study sessions to avoid burnout and to keep yourself refreshed.

Practice under test-like conditions

When taking practice tests, try to simulate test-like conditions as much as possible. Sit in a quiet environment, time yourself, and avoid distractions to create a realistic testing environment that closely resembles the actual test.

Analyze your practice test results

Review and analyze your practice test results to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on areas that need improvement and adjust your study plan accordingly.

Seek additional help if needed

If you're struggling with certain concepts or sections of the test, don't hesitate to seek additional help. Consider getting a tutor, attending test prep classes, or utilizing online resources to reinforce your understanding of the material.

Preparing for the digital SAT requires adjusting to the computer-based format, but with practice and preparation, you can perform well on test day. Utilize these tips to effectively prep for the digital SAT and increase your chances of achieving a high score.

In conclusion, the SAT changes in 2023-2024 aim to make the exam more relevant, accessible, and equitable for all students. The key changes include a reduced number of questions, an optional essay section, and a focus on essential skills like analysis, problem-solving, and data analysis. The new digital format will also offer more flexibility and features for test-takers. To prepare for the new exam, students can take advantage of practice tests and resources available online, and work on developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Overall, the SAT changes are designed to better align with the needs and expectations of today's students and higher education institutions.

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SAT Discontinues Subject Tests And Optional Essay


Elissa Nadworny

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Eda Uzunlar

No more tests in order to enter.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

The College Board announced on Tuesday that it will discontinue the optional essay component of the SAT and that it will no longer offer subject tests in U.S. history, languages and math, among other topics. The organization, which administers the college entrance exam in addition to several other tests, including Advanced Placement exams, will instead focus efforts on a new digital version of the SAT.

In the announcement, the organization cited the coronavirus pandemic for these changes: "The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to reduce and simplify demands on students."

College entrance exams have had a hard go of it during the pandemic. Many in-person testing dates for the SAT were canceled because of social distancing needs and closed high school buildings; a previous digital version of the SAT was scrapped in June after technical difficulties; and hundreds of colleges have removed the exam from admissions requirements , in some cases permanently.

Few colleges require the optional writing portion of the SAT or the subject tests, though students can still submit them to supplement their college applications. The AP exams have become far more important in demonstrating mastery of subjects and, in some cases, providing college credit.

Colleges Are Backing Off SAT, ACT Scores — But The Exams Will Be Hard To Shake

The Coronavirus Crisis

Colleges are backing off sat, act scores — but the exams will be hard to shake.

"Removing the subject tests can remove a barrier for students," says Ashley L. Bennett, director of college counseling at KIPP Sunnyside High School in Houston. But, she adds, "I believe that standardized testing in general needs to be less emphasized in the college search process."

Elizabeth Heaton advises families about college admissions at College Coach in Watertown, Mass. She thinks the changes could help put some students on a more level playing field. "For students who aren't getting great advising, it is nice to see that they haven't been eliminated from competition just by virtue of not having a test that they may not have known about."

But Catalina Cifuentes, who works to promote college access in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, has reservations. She worries that removing the SAT subject tests will create more barriers for her students, rather than less.

"Hundreds of my students take the subject tests in Spanish and other languages because it provides them an opportunity to show their understanding of a second language," explains Cifuentes.

Many of her students speak a second language at home and would be the first in their family to go to college.

She says her college-bound students often enroll in the University of California and California State University systems, which both require two years of coursework in another language for admission. The SAT foreign-language tests sometimes filled that requirement, but the removal of these exams means Cifuentes will have to shift gears.

"We will need to work closely with our world language teachers to expand on ideas ... for students who already read, write and speak another language," she says.

Her job is all about helping school districts adapt to decisions from colleges and organizations like the College Board, Cifuentes explains.

"Every decision they discuss — there's real repercussions. There's no right or wrong decision, but with everything they do, it should be students first."

Eda Uzunlar is an intern on NPR's Education Desk.

Correction Jan. 20, 2021

A previous version of this story misspelled Ashley L. Bennett's name.

What To Know About The New Digital SAT

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In December 2023, the College Board held the last pen and paper Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) in the United States. Going forward, the SAT will exclusively be administered in a digital format. This significant shift in the standardized testing landscape requires students and families to strategize and prepare for the exam differently than they would have for the on-paper test. Applying the right strategy is particularly critical, as some colleges are shedding test-optional policies and reconsidering the importance of the test in the application process.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Digital SAT:

What’s staying the same on the Digital SAT?

First and foremost, it is important to note that some elements remain the same as the test transitions to its digital form. Like the written test, the digital version is still scored on a 400-1600 point scale and generally covers the same material. Additionally, the test is still administered by proctors at official testing sites and offers the same support for students requiring accommodations, with the addition of a paper test accommodation.

What’s different on the Digital SAT?

1. The Digital SAT is taken completely on the computer.

Of course, the biggest difference between the paper test and the digital test is that the latter is taken entirely on a laptop, iPad, Chromebook or tablet. Students should practice taking the test online through the Bluebook app so that they know what to expect from the digital testing experience.

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A video of usvs sinking a russian ship illustrates u.s. navy concerns, if these ‘very dangerous’ apps are on your phone, delete them now, 2. the digital sat is shorter and combines the reading and writing sections..

The digital iteration of the SAT lasts only 2 hours and 14 minutes and features 98 questions. By contrast, its traditional paper-and-pencil counterpart lasted over 3 hours and asked students to answer a more extensive set of 154 questions. While the paper exam included four sections—Reading, Writing, Math without Calculator, and Math with Calculator—the Digital SAT offers a simplified structure. It comprises two sections: a consolidated Reading and Writing section and a standalone Math section.

3. The Digital SAT allows the use of calculators for the whole Math Section.

Unlike the former SAT, which had a math section for which students could use a calculator to solve problems and one for which students could not use a calculator, the digital SAT allows students to use their calculators throughout the entirety of its singular math section. In addition, the test includes Desmos , a built-in graphing calculator students can use if they prefer not to bring their own calculator.

4. The Digital SAT features shorter reading comprehension passages.

Not only does the Digital SAT combine the Reading and Writing sections, but it also requires students to read materials that are shorter in length than those on the paper SAT before answering reading comprehension questions. The new materials typically span around a paragraph. While several question types will be familiar to students who have taken the paper test—such as inquiries about the main idea, author's purpose, grammar/punctuation, and vocabulary—the test incorporates a variety of new question formats. Notably, passages now explore a broader spectrum of topics, and incorporate elements like poetry. Furthermore, students now encounter questions that task them with synthesizing conclusions from a provided fictional set of student notes.

5. The Digital SAT uses multistage adaptive testing.

This means that the test is designed to dynamically adapt to a student's proficiency, adjusting its difficulty based on performance as students answer questions. Both test segments—Reading and Writing as well as Math—are divided into two distinct modules. The difficulty of questions in the second module is contingent upon the student's performance in the initial module. As a result, the digital test offers a more individualized testing experience.

In addition to these differences, some distinctives of the Digital SAT have the potential to make test-taking easier for students. For instance, the digital test provides the means for students to flag questions and return to them later, allowing a more strategic approach to testing. It also features a countdown clock that will alert them when they’re running out of time, which students can choose to show or hide at the top of their testing screen.

While test-taking can be a source of anxiety for students, approaching the test with preparation and strategy will help students build their confidence and achieve their goal scores. Understanding the nuances of the test and experiencing the format through practice tests are critical steps toward achieving success on one of the upcoming test dates .

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The SAT Announces Cancellation Of Essay & Subject Tests

  • Updated On December 15, 2023
  • Published In SAT 👩‍🎓

The results of the SAT, a standardised test, are essential for your entry to some of the most prestigious universities in the USA and Canada. It assesses an individual’s ability to solve mathematical equations and speak the English language. Over the years, the SAT has seen its fair share of alterations. Since the coronavirus hit our lives, we’ve been left to adapt to the realities of the world, especially students wanting to get admission into well-known universities.  The College Board, the organisation which administers the SAT test , is also ensuring the universities adapt to the times. That is why they’re making some changes to reduce the demands of students as well. One of the major changes from their end is cancelling the SAT Easy test. This decision by the Board was taken last year. In this blog, we’ll cover this new change, what it means for the students, and how the SAT Essay Cancelled affect college admissions.

Table of Contents

SAT Essay Cancelled

As per the notification by the College Board, they will no longer offer the SAT Essay to high school students. It means that school students will no longer be able to schedule to take the SAT Essay exam. However, there’s an exception to this rule. If a student is required to take the SAT Essay exam as part of the high school graduation requirements, they may take the test. Although, there’s a good chance that the states requiring this will drop the requirement in the future. As a student, you must be up to date with the latest updates by staying in touch with your guiding counsellors or high school administrators.

SAT Subject Test Discontinued

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The SAT Announces Cancellation Of Essay & Subject Tests

Like the SAT Essay, the College Board has also decided to cancel the SAT Subject Test. As per the Board, this test doesn’t offer the same value that it once did. The Board used to offer subject tests on topics like grammar, world history, Latin, modern Hebrew, and math.

Reasons For Discontinuing SAT Essay

As mentioned above, the Covid-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone. However, it was especially tough on high school students and the College Board. The SATs were cancelled repeatedly, while many institutes dropped the SAT requirement entirely in the 2020-2022 phase of admissions. The College Board felt that dropping the SAT essay would help reduce the demands for students for now and in the future. Many experts feel that this decision is also a timely and practical one because most universities don’t require SAT Essay scores as part of the admissions process. Many students had already started dropping the SAT Essay test before this notification. In 2020, hardly 57% of students took the essay section with the SAT exam. That is why it’s believed the College Board may have dropped the SAT essay for operational and financial reasons, as well. Getting rid of the essay portion makes the SAT test entirely multiple-choice, allowing automated grading to occur. As a result, the Board would not have to pay the essay scorers. Moreover, it would also pave the way for a level playing field. Many felt that SAT only catered to the privileged and affluent students. Getting rid of the SAT Essay and subject test requirements may enhance perceived accessibility in standardised testing. For similar reasons, the ACT might end up cancelling the ACT Essay, as well.

Reasons For Discontinuing SAT Subject Test

The main reason behind discontinuing the SAT Subject test is the expanded reach of AP exams. With each passing year, AP tests have become more widespread and cover a range of subjects. Moreover, eliminating the subject tests will open seats to students who need to take the SAT and haven’t had the chance to do so due to the coronavirus pandemic. The widespread availability of the AP exam had led to most universities eliminating the subject test requirements. Plus, the language subject tests were mainly being taken by native speakers. So, colleges were not getting vital information in making admission decisions through this test.

Impact of Cancellation on the Students

To put it simply, students wouldn’t be able to take the SAT Essay test unless it is a part of an SAT School Days Requirements. This notification is most impactful for students who had planned to use their essay scores to make their applications stand out from the crowd. For instance, there have been students in the past who’d hoped their essay scores would help overcome a low overall GPA or math score. However, that wouldn’t be an option for the students anymore.

Impact of Cancellation on Admission Process

If your college required the SAT essay in the past, there are going to be various changes that one may see in the admission process. While some universities or schools may drop the essay requirement, others may ask you to submit additional writing samples to fulfil that requirement. Something similar is also possible with departments that used the SAT Essay for the selection process. So, students applying to literature degrees or programmes that require lots of writing (rigorous writing skills) may have to submit additional college essays samples or take a department-specific placement test. However, this decision likely wouldn’t change anything for students applying to universities where the SAT Essay wasn’t a college admissions process requirement in the first place. The reason is that the admission process isn’t affected by the College Board’s policies.

Next Moves to be Made by the Students

Students should check with their potential universities and schools about the admission process. It’ll allow them to see how the new SAT Essay policies will affect their chances and college application. In such a scenario, admission counsellors can be a great help. Some colleges might ask for AP subject test scores or minimum grades in place of subject tests in specific courses from an applicant. SAT Exam For 2022

Encouraged by the coronavirus pandemic, the College Board has been making substantial investments in making the SAT more inclusive and relevant. That is why last year, the College Board announced to discontinue the SAT Essays and Subject Test. This decision was made by the board to reduce the demand on students for both the present and the future. Plus, they feel that these sections do not offer the same value that they once did. Many colleges had already removed SAT essays scores as a selection criterion some years back. Moreover, AP tests have become widely available and cover various subjects, making them a potent replacement for SAT subject tests. They are of greater importance than ever. While the SAT Essay was an optional essay, the decision of discontinuing it is a major one. For further info on the SAT, like the registration deadline and test date information, book a free counselling session on LeapScholar today.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Will colleges still consider Essay scores if I submit them? 

They might. It will vary from college to college. That is why it is best to check with the colleges that you are interested in studying about their application process. Some may consider or require an optional SAT essay as part of their holistic review process.

How can I show my skills in specific subject areas without the opportunity to take SAT subject tests? 

Many colleges use AP scores as an indicator of a student’s ability and interest in a particular subject area. Plus, colleges also have access to the performance of an applicant in specific subjects areas through SAT scores, ACT scores, and high school transcripts, amongst others. So, you can check directly with the colleges you will apply to for alternative ways to support your application.

How can I make my college application stand out now that the SAT Essay is discontinued? 

Some ways to make your college application or registration stand out are showcasing a potent GPA, strong test scores, extracurricular experience, work experience, compelling LORs, and volunteering experience.

Is the SAT Essay Cancelled? If yes, what is the main reason behind it?

As per the College Board, the primary reason for cancelling SAT Essay was to reduce the demand on students. However, reducing finances and making the SAT more accessible for students are also key reasons.

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Lalitha Manjunath

My 8-year long journey as a SAT trainer has been paved with considerable success, excellent feedback, and extremely satisfactory learning outcomes.

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What Colleges Require the SAT Essay?

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If you’re going to be applying to college soon, there’s a good chance that you’re already thinking about the SAT. Most colleges still require standardized test scores, and millions of students across the country tackle this exam each year. 

As you begin your college search, it’s important to understand the exact standardized test requirements of the colleges on your list. Some will be test-optional . Others require scores from the SAT or ACT. In addition, some will require that you submit scores from the optional essay portions of these tests. There may also be schools that require or recommend SAT Subject Tests. Knowing the exact testing policy at each school you’re considering will help you plan your test taking strategy, and begin test prep well in advance. 

If you’re planning to take the SAT, you won’t want to miss this complete overview of what colleges require the SAT essay. 

What is the SAT Essay? How is it Scored?

Before we dive into which schools require it, let’s take a closer look at what exactly the SAT essay is, and how it is scored. 

On the SAT Essay, students are provided with a written argument that they must read and analyze. Students have 50 minutes to read the passage, plan the essay, and write their response. Most successful responses stick to the standard five-paragraph essay format. To see an example prompt and scoring rubric, check out the Essay Sample Questions on the College Board website. 

It’s important to note here that the SAT Essay score is separate from your overall composite SAT score. It does not impact the score ranging from 400-1600 as reported on your score report. Instead of being included in your composite score, it is provided in addition to it. 

The Essay is scored on a scale from 2-8 in three areas of evaluation—Reading, Analysis, and Writing. Each essay is reviewed by two scorers, and scores between 1-4 are awarded in each dimension. These scores are then added together so that you’ll receive three scores for the SAT Essay—one for each dimension—ranging from 2–8 points. A perfect score on the essay would be 8/8/8, but the mean score on the essay is a 5 for Reading and Writing, and 3 for Analysis. This means if you can achieve any score over 5/3/5, you have scored above average on the essay. For a more complete look at how the test is scored, don’t miss our post What is a Good SAT Essay Score?

Should I Take the SAT Essay?

First of all, the SAT essay is technically an optional section, so no, you are not required to take it. That being said, some colleges do require applicants to take the SAT with Essay. If you choose not to take the essay portion of the test, you will not be an eligible applicant for any of these schools. 

The SAT Essay used to be required at many top colleges, but it has become optional at many schools. Now, among elite schools, only the University of California schools require the Essay. Other selective colleges like Duke University, Amherst College, and Colby College recommend the Essay, but it’s not required. 

Take a look at the colleges on these lists, and see if there are any you plan to apply to. Also be sure to double-check on your schools’ webpages, as these policies can change. 

If you think you might change your mind about which schools you want to apply to, you should take the SAT Essay to leave those doors open. This is why we generally recommend taking the essay, regardless of whether or not it’s required. After all, you can’t go back and just take the SAT Essay if you decide to change your mind and apply to a school that requires it—you’d have to retake the entire SAT.

Some colleges don’t require the essay, but do recommend it. In these cases, we always direct students to do what the college recommends. 

That being said, there is currently no option to withhold your essay score if you do terribly on it. Your essay scores will always be reported with your other test scores from that day, even to colleges that don’t require them. 

What Colleges Require the SAT with Essay?

There colleges request scores from the SAT with Essay in order to apply.

Schools that Require the SAT Essay:

  • All of the University of California schools
  • Benedictine University
  • City University London
  • Delaware State University
  • DeSales University
  • Dominican University of California
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Howard University
  • John Wesley University
  • Kentucky State University
  • Martin Luther College
  • Molloy College
  • Schreiner University
  • Soka University of America
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture
  • Texas A&M University—Galveston
  • United States Military Academy (West Point)
  • University of North Texas
  • West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  • Western Carolina University

sat without essay 2023

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These schools do not require the SAT Essay, but do recommend that students submit it. At CollegeVine, our best advice is to always follow a college’s recommendations. 

Schools that Recommend the SAT Essay:

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Allegheny College
  • Amherst College
  • Art Institute of Houston
  • Augsburg University
  • Austin College
  • Caldwell University
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • Colby College
  • College of Wooster
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  • Corban University
  • Cornerstone University
  • Dallas Christian College
  • Duke University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Eastern Nazarene College
  • Easternn University
  • Endicott College
  • Five Towns College
  • Gallaudet University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Highlands College
  • Greenville University
  • Gwynedd Mercy University
  • High Point University
  • Hofstra University
  • Holy Family University
  • Husson University
  • Indiana University South Bend
  • Indiana University Southeast
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Inter American University of Puerto Rico: Barranquitas Campus
  • Juilliard School
  • Keiser University (West Palm Beach)
  • Lehigh University
  • Madonna University
  • Manhattan College
  • Marymount California University
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • McMurry University
  • Mercy College
  • Modern College of Design
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • Morehouse College
  • Mount Saint Mary College
  • Mount St. Joseph University
  • National-Louis University
  • New Jersey City University
  • Nichols College
  • North Park University
  • Occidental College
  • Ohio University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University Northwest
  • Randall University
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Reading Area Community College
  • Rowan University
  • Rutgers University—Camden Campus
  • Rutgers University—Newark Campus
  • Saint Michael’s College
  • Sciences Po
  • Seton Hill University
  • Shiloh University
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Silver Lake College of the Holy Family
  • Southern Illinois University of Carbondale
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Spring Hill College
  • Sul Ross State University
  • SUNY Farmingdale State College
  • SUNY University at Stony Brook
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M International University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas State University
  • The King’s College
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • University of Evansville
  • University of La Verne
  • University of Mary Hardin—Baylor
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Minnesota: Twin Cities
  • University of New England
  • University of Northwestern—St. Paul
  • University of the Virgin Islands
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Washington Bothell
  • VanderCook College of Music
  • Virginia Union University
  • Wabash College
  • Webb Institute
  • Webber International University
  • Wesleyan College
  • William Jewell College

If any of the schools you are considering appear on either of the lists above, we recommend taking the SAT with Essay. In fact, we recommend that most, if not all, students take the SAT essay since it leaves more doors open in your college search. However, if you’re absolutely sure you won’t be applying to colleges that require or recommend the SAT with Essay, you can skip it.

Regardless, as you consider which colleges to add to your list, you’ll want to be certain you know what colleges require the SAT essay so that you can plan ahead for this part of your test. 

For help figuring out which schools might be a great fit for you, don’t miss our customized and innovative Chancing Engine and School List Generator . Here, we use a proprietary algorithm backed by over 100,000 data points to develop a school list based on your real admissions chances and preferences.

Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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The Definitive Guide to the SAT 2024

Dec 12, 2023 | Articles , SAT , Standardized Tests

sat without essay 2023

What is the SAT?

The Digital SAT is a standardized test created by the College Board and has been completely redesigned beginning with the March 2024 test. You’ll take the test on the SAT Bluebook™ app (unless you have paper-based accommodations) which you’ll want to download and practice with before test day. Typically, juniors and seniors take the test for college admissions, scholarship awards, and school assessments. The test takes about two and a half hours, including two short breaks. For some students in particular states, an optional Essay portion adds an extra fifty minutes at the end.

sat without essay 2023

What are the sections of the SAT? 

The Digital SAT includes two sections with two modules each, Reading & Writing and Math . Each section counts for 50% of your composite score. This newly adaptive test contains a mix of easy to difficult questions in the first module for each section, then offers an easier or tougher second module depending on how well you answer the questions in the first section.  No Science section exists on the SAT as on the ACT, but knowledge of interpreting charts, tables, and graphs is assessed throughout all test sections. The SAT provides 68% more time per question than the ACT, and there’s no penalty for guessing.

Reading & Writing

The Reading & Writing section includes short (25-150 words) reading passages (or passage pairs) on subjects from literature, history/social studies, the humanities, and science.  Each multiple-choice question that follows a passage covers one of four domains:

  • Information and Ideas.  Measures comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills and knowledge and the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, and integrate information and ideas from texts and informational graphics (tables, bar graphs, and line graphs).
  • Craft and Structure.  Measures the comprehension, vocabulary, analysis, synthesis, and reasoning skills and knowledge needed to understand and use high-utility words and phrases in context, evaluate texts rhetorically, and make connections between topically related texts.
  • Expression of Ideas.  Measures the ability to revise texts to improve the effectiveness of written expression and to meet specific rhetorical goals.
  • Standard English Conventions.  Measures the ability to edit text to conform to core conventions of Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.

The Math section requires a deep understanding of algebra, but the test provides basic geometry formulas. The Bluebook app includes a built-in calculator, or you can still choose to bring your own from an approved list . Most (approximately 75%) questions are multiple-choice; but for some questions, you’ll need to provide a specific answer. These student-produced response (SPR) format questions may have multiple correct responses, but you’ll only provide one answer. Questions measure your ability to apply essential math concepts and about 30% of questions ask you to evaluate an in-context (worded) scenario and determine how to apply your math skills to find the answer. Each question covers one of four content areas:

  • Algebra. Algebra measures the ability to analyze, fluently solve, and create linear equations and inequalities as well as analyze and fluently solve equations and systems of equations using multiple techniques. (13-15 questions)
  • Advanced Math. The Advanced Math area measures skills and knowledge central for progression to more advanced math courses, including demonstrating an understanding of absolute value, quadratic, exponential, polynomial, rational, radical, and other nonlinear equations. (13-15 questions)
  • Problem-Solving and Data Analysis. Problem-Solving and Data Analysis measures the ability to apply quantitative reasoning about ratios, rates, and proportional relationships; understand and apply unit rate; and analyze and interpret one- and two-variable data. (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry and Trigonometry. Problems to solve include area and volume formulas; lines, angles, and triangles; right triangles and trigonometry, and circles. (5-7 questions)

How long is the SAT? 

How long is the SAT?

How many questions are on the SAT? 

The SAT includes 154 questions. 

  • Reading & Writing includes 54 questions in 64 minutes (average 71 seconds per question)
  • Math  has 44 questions in 70 minutes (average 95 seconds per question)

What are the SAT dates? 

The SAT is offered seven times each year in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December. This provides multiple opportunities to take the test and increase your scores. Many schools, especially in states where the SAT is mandated for all high school juniors, also offer the test during the school day for students, generally in the spring. Check with your school to see if and when they offer the SAT. 

What is the average SAT score?

SAT scores range from 400 to 1600. The average SAT score for the class of 2023 was 1028 , down 22 points from 2022. ( Curious what that would be on the ACT? ) A ccording to the College Board’s latest score report , only 7% of all test-takers scored higher than 1400. No one scored below 590, and 12% of test-takers scored between 600 and 790. The Digital SAT (March 2024 onward) may be difficult to compare with the previous version of the SAT.

How do you register for the SAT?

Register for the SAT at . Test centers can be found on the SAT website , where you can search by state and test date. B ring a photo ID with your admission ticket on test day. You can use a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued photo ID. If you don’t have any of these IDs, the SAT offers alternative methods to prove your identity.   When you register, you can choose to include information to allow colleges and scholarship organizations to contact you. 

On test day, you are expected to bring your fully-charged device with the Bluebook testing app already loaded. You can also bring a pen/pencil and use the scratch paper provided at the test site.

How much does the SAT cost? 

For 2023, taking the SAT costs $60. Add $30 if you register late, after the regular deadline. You can send up to four free score reports up to nine days after the test date. Additional score reports or reports ordered after you take the test are $14 per report. The SAT offers fee waivers to eligible test-takers (free & reduced lunch, receiving public assistance, etc.). Students can use the waivers to take two free SATs (with or without the essay) and send unlimited score reports. If you think you may be eligible, work with your school counselor to submit your request. 

When should you take the SAT?

Taking the PSAT is a good introduction to the format and content of the SAT, during the sophomore or junior year of high school. You may only qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program by testing during your junior year. Register for the PSAT through your school. After taking the PSAT, consider taking the SAT at least four times. No one gets their best score the first (or even second) time. Try taking the test twice in your junior year and twice in your senior fall. This increases the chances of scoring your best and boosting potential scholarships and financial aid! 

Should you take the SAT or ACT? 

All colleges accept both the ACT and SAT, so try both, then decide where to focus your effort. The SAT has two Math sections compared to only one for the ACT. The ACT, however, has a Science and Data Interpretation section.   In general, the content on the SAT is more challenging, but more time is given per question, compared to the ACT. Th e most important thing is to take either test multiple times. Improve your scores through practice.

How long does it take to get SAT scores? 

SAT multiple-choice scores are usually reported within 2-3 weeks of your test date. A schedule for individual test dates is available. The College Board sends a ll score reports to your selected colleges within ten days. 

How do you improve your SAT scores?

Practice and preparation are two of the biggest ways you can improve your SAT score. Find SAT prep that’s fun and engaging but also gives you strategies to help take the test. Not all test prep is created equal, so research, read reviews, and look past flashy guarantees.   OnToCollege offers an effective video course that not only gives you strategies but also practice tests and solution videos to help you learn from your mistakes. Use actual SAT practice tests as you study, (three are included in our course) to learn the format of the test. Then take the actual SAT multiple times, ideally twice your junior year and twice your senior year. 

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sat without essay 2023

The New Digital SAT: 4 Important Details Educators Need to Know

sat without essay 2023

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The digital version of the College Board’s college admissions standardized test known as the SAT officially launches across the United States this spring.

The test still measures students’ abilities in math, reading, and writing but is now shorter, more adaptive to students’ performance, and more secure from possible cheating, said Priscilla Rodriguez, who leads the SAT and related PSAT programs for the College Board.

The SAT went digital abroad in March 2023, with over 300,000 students participating. The new digital PSAT, through which students may be eligible to receive scholarship opportunities, and its related PSAT 8/9 for 8th and 9th graders, both went live in the United States in October 2023.

“We were hearing increasingly from students and schools, districts, and states, that they were ready to have our assessments be delivered digitally,” Rodriguez said. “By and large, these students are learning and testing and living digitally.”

Juniors and seniors will be eligible to take the new digital SAT starting in March either on a Saturday or a school day.

Here are four important details for educators to keep in mind as they help prepare students for the exam, including how to contact the College Board for technical support.

1. The test is now adaptive

One of the unique aspects of a digital test students can access via an application on a computer is how it can adapt to student performance.

In the case of the SAT, there are still two standard sections: math, and reading and writing. Each section is split in two.

For example, say a student is working on the first half of the reading and writing section. Within a given time frame they can work on all the questions, go and back forth to check their work, or change answers if needed. Once that first half is done, the testing system evaluates what they got right and wrong. Then the system offers the second half of the reading and writing section with questions that are either slightly harder or easier depending on how the student performed in the first half, Rodriguez said.

Specifically, Rodriguez said that “students are given material on the second half of the reading and writing section and the second half of the math section based on what they showed they know on the first half of those sections, and their score is based on how they perform across all of the questions they answered. We’ve done studies that show that a student’s score would be the same regardless of whether they went to the harder or the easier module.”

(The PSAT is similarly adaptive.)

With this change to the test format, Rodriguez said that students “aren’t seeing content that is so challenging as to be demotivating to them, or that they’ve already shown they have mastery of. We hear from students who get discouraged by seeing so much very hard content that they disengage and give up on the test, and we want to combat exactly that.”

This adaptive format also makes the test shorter: down to about two hours instead of three.

“In a paper test, because you’re testing everyone across every level of performance, you have to have a lot of questions at each level of performance on each skill to make sure you’ve adequately honed in on each student’s knowledge. That’s why the test is much longer on paper,” Rodriguez added.

Students at St. Albans High School in West Virginia have welcomed the news of a shorter test because the previous length would discourage students, even though they had the skills to perform well, said Richard Tench, a school counselor at St. Albans and member of the board of directors for the American School Counselor Association.

Rodriguez added that “higher education institutions will not see how a given student’s test is adapted. They will only know the final score, which our studies have shown would be the same regardless of which path the student saw.”

2. Test content formatting has changed a bit

Smaller changes were made to each of the test sections. In math, for instance, students can now use their calculator for the entire section as opposed to only certain questions and the test app has a built-in graphing calculator so students no longer need to bring their own, Rodriguez said.

The passages for the reading and writing section are now much shorter.

In the previous paper test, students would read a long passage and answer multiple questions related to the passage. To avoid students having to scroll through multiple screens, the passages are now brief and with one question tied to each.

“It feels a lot less scary to have a shorter passage with a single question tied to it,” Rodriguez said. “So if you don’t understand that passage, all it’ll cost you is one question on the SAT, not nine to 12.”

Tench said that his students were previously concerned about having to engage with long passages knowing they were on the clock to get through as many questions as possible.

3. Solutions to technical issues are available

While the new digital SAT testing app doesn’t require much by way of bandwidth, the College Board was cognizant of potential technical issues that could arise, particularly in rural schools, Rodriguez said.

It’s why for the PSAT suite of exams rollout last fall, the organization set up a bandwidth support program which continues into this spring. If a school or district feels it doesn’t have the fundamental minimum bandwidth to administer digital exams to hundreds of students at a time, the College Board can connect it with technicians to test the internet and figure out how many students could test at one time, in a given room, in a given building, Rodriguez said.

The organization even sent internet routers to eight schools that requested them to reliably administer exams.

Tench’s district in West Virginia was proactive in compiling data and running tests on its bandwidth. The district was able to successfully administer the PSAT for grades 8, 9, 10, and 11 all on the same day, with only iPads having some technical issues that were quickly resolved.

“By the end of the day, there was no student that wasn’t able to completely submit their exam that day,” Tench said.

If schools or districts come across any additional technical issues moving forward regarding the digital SAT, they can reach out to (877) 348-5728 or [email protected] . For questions regarding the digital PSAT, educators can reach out at [email protected] and (888) 477-7728.

Rodriguez added that now, if needed, educators can break up how many students take the digital exams on a given day or across multiple days because the tests now pull from a bank of questions for each student. So while everyone is still tested on the same skills, the individual questions might be worded differently or have different numbers.

4. Equity, anxiety relief found in test prep

Rodriguez acknowledged research that has found gaps in SAT performance related to factors such as a student’s family income.

She said that “inequities, in access to high quality education, support, resources, go back to birth and are present and are measured in many, many ways. The SAT is just one of the ways that those differences and inequities get measured and are made visible.”

To address this issue, the College Board in 2016 partnered with the nonprofit Khan Academy to offer a free online SAT prep course to all students.

At St. Albans, all juniors take this course and College Board practice tests because much of SAT test anxiety stems from lack of familiarity with the test setup, Tench said. That’s why the school is offering test prep for the digital SAT to current seniors who completed test prep last year for a paper exam.

“The most important thing for us is the accessibility that we’re giving to our students and parents to have a firsthand look at the new platform,” Tench said.

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Your Guide: How Long is the SAT Without Essay?

how long is the sat without essay

Are you wondering about the duration of the SAT without the essay section? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the length of the SAT, its sections, and effective preparation strategies. Taking the SAT is an important step in your academic journey, and understanding the timing and structure of the test can help you maximize your performance. Let’s dive in!

  • The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks.
  • The test consists of three main sections: reading, writing and language, and math.
  • The reading section is 65 minutes, the writing and language section is 35 minutes, and the math section varies depending on whether a calculator is allowed.
  • The essay section is optional and adds an additional 50 minutes to the test duration.
  • Time management is crucial; prioritize easier questions first and utilize guessing strategies as there is no longer a penalty for guessing.

Now that you have a general understanding of the SAT duration without the essay section, let’s delve deeper into each section and explore effective strategies for success. By familiarizing yourself with the format and optimizing your time management skills, you can approach the SAT with confidence and achieve your desired results. Let’s get started!

Understanding the SAT Format

The SAT without the essay section lasts approximately 3 hours, excluding breaks, and features different sections with specific time allocations for reading, writing and language, and math. Let’s take a closer look at each section of the exam to understand the duration and format.

Reading Section:

The reading section of the SAT without the essay is 65 minutes long and consists of 52 questions. It assesses your reading comprehension skills through a variety of passages, such as literary fiction, social sciences, and natural sciences. The questions test your ability to analyze, interpret, and draw inferences from the given information.

Writing and Language Section:

The writing and language section allows 35 minutes for you to answer 44 questions. This section evaluates your ability to identify grammatical errors, improve sentence structure, and revise passages for clarity and coherence. It covers topics like grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills necessary for effective writing.

Math Sections:

The math portion of the SAT is divided into two sections: one without a calculator and the other with a calculator. The section without a calculator gives you 25 minutes to solve 20 questions, testing your ability to apply mathematical concepts and solve problems without the aid of a calculator. The section with a calculator provides 55 minutes to answer 38 questions, allowing you to use a calculator for more complex calculations.

These sections provide a breakdown of the SAT without the essay, highlighting the time limits and question counts. It is essential to manage your time effectively during the test to ensure you complete each section within the allocated duration.

SAT Exam Duration Without Essay

To optimize your performance, prioritize answering easier questions first and allocate sufficient time for more challenging ones. Remember, there is no longer a penalty for guessing, so make sure to answer as many questions as possible. Preparing for the SAT with practice tests, understanding the test format, and getting enough rest are all key factors in performing well.

In the next section, we will delve into the reading section of the SAT without the essay, providing tips and strategies to tackle this part of the exam effectively.

Breakdown of the Reading Section

The reading section of the SAT without the essay consists of 65 minutes and includes 52 questions, testing your comprehension and critical analysis skills. This section evaluates your ability to understand and interpret various types of texts, such as passages from literature, social sciences, and natural sciences. It also assesses your ability to draw inferences, analyze arguments, and identify main ideas and supporting evidence.

During this section, you will encounter different question formats, including multiple-choice questions and passage-based questions. The passage-based questions require you to refer back to specific parts of the text to answer questions accurately. It is crucial to read the passages carefully and actively engage with the content to grasp the author’s main points and arguments.

To excel in the reading section, it is advisable to practice reading and analyzing complex texts regularly. Developing strong reading comprehension skills and effective strategies, such as skimming and scanning, can significantly improve your performance. Remember to manage your time wisely, as pacing yourself is essential to complete all the questions within the given time frame.

SAT Reading Test

Key Takeaways:

  • The reading section of the SAT without the essay lasts for 65 minutes and contains 52 questions.
  • You need to demonstrate your comprehension and critical analysis skills.
  • Practice actively engaging with various types of texts to improve your performance.
  • Develop effective reading strategies and manage your time wisely during this section.

Strategies for the Writing and Language Section

With 35 minutes and 44 questions, the writing and language section of the SAT without the essay demands strong grammar and editing skills. Here are some strategies to help you excel in this section:

  • Read the Passage Carefully: Before diving into the questions, take the time to read the passage thoroughly. Pay attention to the main idea, tone, and structure of the writing. This will help you better understand the context and make informed decisions.
  • Focus on Grammar: This section tests your command of grammar rules. Pay attention to subjects, verb agreement, tenses, pronouns, and modifiers. Brushing up on grammar rules beforehand can greatly improve your performance.
  • Manage Your Time: Time management is crucial in this section. Aim to spend no more than a minute on each question. If you’re stuck on a particular question, don’t dwell on it. Make an educated guess and move on to maximize your chances of answering all the questions.

Additionally, here’s a breakdown of the question types you might encounter in the writing and language section:

SAT Writing and Language Section

By implementing these strategies and familiarizing yourself with the question types, you can approach the writing and language section of the SAT without the essay with confidence. Remember to practice regularly, review grammar rules, and manage your time effectively to optimize your performance.

Navigating the Math Sections

The SAT without the essay includes two math sections, one without a calculator lasting 25 minutes with 20 questions, and another with a calculator lasting 55 minutes with 38 questions. Let’s explore how you can tackle these sections successfully.

When approaching the math sections, it’s important to manage your time effectively. Start by scanning through the questions and identifying those that you feel confident answering. Prioritize these easier questions to ensure you score valuable points early on. Remember, there is no penalty for guessing, so if you’re unsure about a particular question, make an educated guess and move on.

For the math section without a calculator, you’ll need to rely on mental math skills and problem-solving techniques. Utilize the scratch paper provided to perform calculations and work through complex problems. It’s crucial to double-check your work and ensure accuracy, as even a small error can lead to an incorrect answer.

When you reach the math section with a calculator, use it strategically. While a calculator can be a useful tool, avoid over-reliance on it. It’s still important to possess strong mathematical skills and understanding. Use the calculator for complex calculations, but be cautious not to waste time inputting simple calculations that you can solve mentally. Additionally, be sure to familiarize yourself with the calculator’s functions before the exam to maximize efficiency.

Math Sections Overview

By managing your time, leveraging problem-solving strategies, and practicing with sample questions, you can approach the math sections of the SAT without the essay section confidently. Remember, preparation and practice are key to achieving success on the test. Good luck!

The Optional Essay Section

While the essay section is optional on the SAT, it adds an additional 50 minutes to the test duration, but only in certain states where it is required. Let’s examine the importance of this section and whether it is necessary for your college admissions.

For students considering taking the optional essay section, it’s crucial to understand the requirements and expectations. The essay portion of the SAT allows you to showcase your analytical and writing skills, providing colleges and universities with an additional piece of information about your abilities. It tests your ability to critically analyze a given passage and construct a well-organized, coherent response within a limited timeframe.

While some colleges may require the essay portion, many have made it an optional component of their admissions process. It’s important to research the specific requirements of the institutions you’re interested in to determine if the essay section is necessary for your application. If you’re unsure, it’s recommended to take the optional essay section, as it provides an opportunity to demonstrate your writing proficiency and showcase additional skills that may enhance your application.

Remember, even if the essay section is not required for your top-choice colleges, it’s always beneficial to have strong writing skills. The ability to construct a well-argued, coherent essay is a valuable asset in college and beyond. Taking the optional essay section can help prepare you for the writing demands you may encounter in higher education and other aspects of your academic journey.

SAT essay section

As you prepare for the SAT, consider your strengths in writing and time management. Reflect on the requirements of your target colleges and decide whether taking the optional essay section aligns with your goals. Remember to practice under timed conditions and review sample essay prompts to familiarize yourself with the expectations of this section. Taking the time to prepare will ensure that you can make an informed decision and perform your best on test day.

Time Management and Test Strategies

Proper time management is crucial for success on the SAT, and understanding how to utilize the allocated time efficiently can significantly impact your overall score. Let’s explore some key strategies for managing time effectively during the test.

1. Prioritize Easier Questions: When you first encounter a section, quickly scan through the questions and identify those that you find easier or more familiar. Answering these questions first will help you build confidence and save time for more challenging ones later.

2. Pace Yourself: The SAT is a timed test, so it’s essential to keep track of the time and allocate it wisely. Divide the time available for each section, and aim to complete the questions within the designated time frame. Remember, spending too much time on a single question can cost you valuable time on others.

3. Utilize Guessing: Since there is no longer a penalty for guessing, it’s in your best interest to answer every question, even if you’re unsure of the correct answer. Use strategic guessing techniques, such as eliminating obviously wrong options or making an educated guess based on partial knowledge.

SAT time management

4. Take Advantage of Breaks: The SAT includes breaks between sections, so make use of this time to recharge and refocus. Stretch your legs, have a snack, or take a few deep breaths to relax. These short breaks can help alleviate test anxiety and enhance your concentration for the next section.

By implementing these time management strategies and practicing them during your SAT preparation, you can optimize your performance and maximize your chances of achieving your desired score. Remember, preparation, practice tests, and getting enough sleep are also key factors in performing well on the SAT.

Important Considerations and Changes

When planning for the SAT without the essay, it’s important to factor in breaks, travel time, and any special accommodations that you may require. Additionally, recent changes to the test structure, including the optional essay and subject tests, are important to keep in mind.

The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks. The reading section consists of 52 questions and lasts for 65 minutes. Following this, the writing and language section, with 44 questions, is allocated 35 minutes of test time. The math section without a calculator requires 25 minutes to answer 20 questions, while the math section with a calculator grants 55 minutes for 38 questions.

It’s worth noting that the essay section is only available in certain states where it is required, adding an additional 50 minutes to the test duration. To ensure an accurate schedule, there are breaks included in the test: a 10-minute break between the reading and writing sections, and a 5-minute break between the two math sections. Furthermore, test time may be extended by an additional 20 minutes for a pre-tested section.

Students should aim to complete the SAT between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m., considering travel time and potential special accommodations for those with medical conditions or exceptional circumstances. With recent changes to the test, the SAT no longer includes subject tests and the optional essay section will no longer be required after June. Time management is crucial for success on the SAT, so students should prioritize easier questions first and avoid spending too much time on any one section. Additionally, there is no longer a penalty for guessing, encouraging students to answer as many questions as possible within the given time limit. Adequate preparation, practice tests, and sufficient rest are pivotal factors in performing well on the SAT without the essay.

Updated SAT Test Structure

SAT test taker

“The path to success on the SAT without the essay lies in careful planning. Consider your need for breaks, travel time, and any special accommodations you may require. Stay informed about the recent changes, such as the optional essay no longer being required after June. Prepare well, manage your time effectively, and remember to rest. Success awaits!”

To excel on the SAT without the essay, it is crucial to understand its duration, sections, and test-taking strategies, while also prioritizing preparation, practice tests, and getting sufficient rest. By implementing these strategies, you can maximize your performance on this important college admissions exam.

The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks. It consists of several sections, each with its own time limit and number of questions. The reading section lasts for 65 minutes and includes 52 questions, while the writing and language section is 35 minutes long with 44 questions. The math section without a calculator is 25 minutes with 20 questions, and the math section with a calculator is 55 minutes with 38 questions.

It’s important to note that the optional essay section is available in certain states and adds an additional 50 minutes to the test. However, after June, the SAT essay section will no longer be required. Additionally, breaks are provided during the test, including a 10-minute break between the reading and writing sections, as well as a 5-minute break between the two math sections. The test time may also be extended by an additional 20 minutes for a pre-tested section.

In order to make the most of your SAT experience, consider travel time and any special accommodations required due to medical conditions or other circumstances. Remember, the new SAT has a total duration of 3 hours, or 3 hours and 50 minutes with the optional essay section. Time management is key to success on the SAT, so prioritize easier questions first and don’t spend too much time on any one section. With the removal of the guessing penalty, feel free to answer as many questions as possible within the given time limits.

Ultimately, preparation, practice tests, and ensuring you get enough sleep are crucial factors in performing well on the SAT. By understanding the test structure, managing your time effectively, and implementing smart test-taking strategies, you can increase your chances of achieving a high score and opening doors to future educational opportunities.

Q: How long is the SAT without the essay section?

A: The SAT without the essay section is about 3 hours long, not including breaks.

Q: What is the breakdown of the SAT without essay sections?

A: The reading section is 65 minutes with 52 questions, the writing and language section is 35 minutes with 44 questions, the math section without a calculator is 25 minutes with 20 questions, and the math section with a calculator is 55 minutes with 38 questions.

Q: Is the essay section mandatory?

A: The essay section is only available in certain states where it is required and adds an additional 50 minutes to the test.

Q: Are there breaks during the SAT without the essay?

A: Yes, there is a 10-minute break between the reading and writing sections, and a 5-minute break between the two math sections.

Q: Can the test time be extended?

A: Test time may be extended by an additional 20 minutes for a pre-tested section.

Q: What time should students aim to finish the SAT without the essay?

A: Students should aim to finish between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m., but travel time and special accommodations should also be taken into account.

Q: How long is the new SAT without the essay section?

A: The new SAT without the essay has a total duration of 3 hours, or 3 hours and 50 minutes with the optional essay section. The reading section is 65 minutes, the writing and language section is 35 minutes, and the math section is 80 minutes.

Q: Are there any penalties for guessing on the SAT without the essay?

A: There is no longer a penalty for guessing, so students can answer as many questions as possible within the time limit.

Q: What are some tips for success on the SAT without the essay?

A: Preparation, practice tests, and getting enough sleep are important factors in performing well on the SAT. Students should prioritize easier questions first and not spend too much time on any one section.

Q: Are there any recent changes to the SAT without the essay?

A: The SAT essay section will no longer be required after June, and optional subject tests have also been discontinued.

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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, sat test dates: full guide to choosing (2023, 2024).

SAT Logistics , SAT General Info


The SAT is offered seven times a year, but which SAT test dates will work best for you and your schedule? What essential factors should you consider before creating an SAT schedule? What are the best SAT dates for juniors? For seniors?

In this comprehensive guide, we offer you the most current info on SAT test dates (domestic and international) for 2023-2024. We also give you our top tips for choosing the best SAT test dates for you as well as tons of resources to help you navigate the complicated web of SAT/ACT test dates.

SAT Dates and Deadlines 2023-2024

In general, the College Board administers the SAT on Saturdays, with more tests offered in the fall. If you can't take the test on a Saturday for religious or other reasons, Sunday alternate dates are usually available.

Below, we give you SAT test dates, normal registration deadlines, late registration deadlines, and score release dates for the 2023 and 2024 test dates. 

We've listed international test dates in separate tables since the registration deadlines are different. These dates are all administered digitally.

SAT Test Dates and Deadlines (2023)

The following dates are confirmed  by the College Board . The score release dates are projections and those for the international tests (now digital) are especially prone to change.

SAT Test Dates 2023 (US)

*All dates with an asterisk are projections and not yet confirmed by The College Board.

SAT Test Dates 2023 (International)

Sat test dates and deadlines (2024).

Some of the following dates are confirmed  by the College Board . However, the late registration score release dates are projections and subject to change. Starting with the March 2024 test date, all SATs will be administered digitally .

SAT Test Dates 2024 (US)

Sat test dates 2024 (international).


SAT Test Dates: 2023-2024 Visual Calendar and Trends

When it comes to choosing SAT dates, you don't want to simply register for the next available date. To help you select the best SAT test dates for you personally, we've created an easy-to-use visual calendar for the 2023-2024 SAT test dates. This infographic allows us to look at trends in SAT dates and see whether certain dates and deadlines overlap with others.

SAT Test Dates 2023-2024 OW

As you can see on this visual calendar, SAT test dates are tightly clustered in the late summer and fall. This is due to the fact that most college application deadlines are in the late fall and early winter. Essentially, the College Board is giving seniors multiple shots at hitting their SAT goal scores right before their applications are due.

In the spring, SAT dates are more spread out, with the exception of May and June. This is, again, due to the fact that there are fewer college application deadlines in spring than there are in fall and early winter. These dates are also geared more toward juniors and other students who'd like to take the SAT early.

Next, we can see that because of the high number of test dates in the fall, it's difficult to take two SATs in a row. By the time your score for one test comes out, the late registration date for the next test will have often already passed!

Even if you were to go ahead and register for another test without knowing your scores, you might end up ultimately wasting money on a retake if your scores are higher than you thought they'd be. Likewise, if you don't sign up for the following test, you might miss your only shot at raising your scores before your application deadlines.

Taking back-to-back SATs also doesn't give you enough time to make the most out of your retake; you'll likely see little, if any, improvement in your scores due to the lack of adequate prep time in between tests.


Choosing the Best SAT Test Date for You: 5 Essential Factors

It's critical you choose an SAT test date that'll work well for not just anyone but you specifically. Below are five major factors you'll want to consider before committing to a test date.

#1: When Are Your College Application Deadlines?

By far the most important factors are your college application deadlines. In the US, most deadlines fall around January 1 (for regular decision) and November 1 or 15 (for early action / early decision ).

The College Board sends SAT scores to schools (for your four free score reports ) within 10 days after you receive your exam scores , or approximately three to five weeks after the exam. However, not all schools process scores straight away; in fact, some might take a week or so to report scores . As a result, you might have to wait at most around six weeks after your test date for your schools to officially process your SAT scores.

And this doesn't even include the extra time needed to process orders for additional score reports (if you have more than four schools you want to send scores to). Ordering these reports will add at least another week or two once scores are released.

Therefore, as a rule, don't take the SAT less than five or six weeks before your college apps are due. If you'll be ordering additional score reports after your scores come out, stick with test dates more than seven or eight weeks before your deadlines.

Remember that if your schools don't receive or process your SAT scores in time, your application could get disqualified! So plan accordingly.

#2: Are You Applying for SAT Scholarships?

Another factor is SAT scholarships . Generally, school-based SAT scholarships will use the same deadlines as college applications. If you're not sure when your SAT scores are due, contact your schools directly to ask whether your scores should arrive earlier than or with your application.

#3: How Many Times Will You Take the SAT?

You should also consider whether you might want to retake the SAT if you're not getting the scores you need for college.

We typically recommend taking the SAT at least twice, possibly three times, depending on your score goals. Here's our suggested SAT schedule :

  • Take the SAT in the fall of your junior year
  • Take the SAT a second time in the spring of your junior year
  • Take the SAT a final time in the late summer/early fall of your senior year

If you took your first SAT in the spring of your junior year instead of in the fall, you still have plenty of opportunities to take the SAT once or twice more. You could, for example, take the SAT a second time in June or August and a third time in October or November.

That said, avoid registering for back-to-back SAT test dates, especially in the fall of your senior year. Squeezing in too many SATs gives you barely any time to study and probably won't raise your score by any noticeable margin.

Furthermore, trying to balance so much prep during the school year—and as you're applying to college, no less!—is an incredibly stressful endeavor. So spread out your tests as best you can.


#4: How Much Study Time Will You Need?

Before you register for the SAT, decide how much time you'll need to dedicate to studying . We normally recommend setting aside three to six months for SAT prep. This amount of time allows you to space out your study sessions so that you're studying consistently without burning yourself out.

More importantly, though, you'll want a sufficient number of study hours. The number of hours you'll have to spend studying depends on the number of points you'd like to improve your baseline SAT score by. (A baseline score is the score you get on an official SAT practice test before you begin any SAT prep.)

Below are the (approximate) number of study hours required to make the following total point improvements on the SAT:

  • 0-30 point improvement: 10 hours
  • 30-70 point improvement: 20 hours
  • 70-130 point improvement: 40 hours
  • 130-200 point improvement: 80 hours
  • 200-330 point improvement: 150 hours+

As you can see, the bigger the point increase you want, the more hours you'll have to study.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a ton of time to devote entirely to SAT prep. At a minimum, try to clock in at least 10 hours of prep.

If you only have a month or so before test day , you can still make large score increases—so long as you're willing to put in the effort. You can also use our last-minute SAT tips and strategies to help you get the score you want.

#5: Will You Have Any Obligations or Conflicts?

Finally, consider your own obligations. Is there anything you can't reschedule that'll be taking place on a certain test date? Do you have any ongoing commitments (school or otherwise) that could prevent you from being able to focus on your SAT prep? Obligations can be anything , from school plays and AP tests to sports tournaments and family vacations.

Before you choose a test date, make sure that you're keenly aware of your schedule. I suggest using a planner to take note of any big chunks of time during which you'll be too busy to study for the SAT.

Ultimately, if a certain test date feels overwhelming, choose another one for which you'll have far fewer obligations in the period leading up to it.


Quick Guide: What's the Best SAT Test Date for Juniors? For Seniors? For Early Action?

In reality, the "best" SAT test date varies for each student; however, sometimes you just want to know what a good test date is, generally speaking. Here, we give you a brief look at the best SAT test dates for four common scenarios.

Scenario 1: You're a Junior

  • For 1st SAT: October, November, December
  • For 2nd SAT: March, May, June

You should always take your first SAT as a junior, ideally in the fall. The October and November test dates offer lots of flexibility and plenty of time to study and prepare for round two should you want to take the SAT again.

In the spring, try to take the SAT in March or May—or at the latest, June. These dates ensure you'll have the entire summer to evaluate your scores, finalize your list of colleges, and decide whether you'd like to take the test again in August or autumn.

Scenario 2: You're a Senior

  • Best Dates: August, October, November
  • Riskier Dates: December

As a senior, you have up to four possible SAT test dates (for regular decision deadlines): August, October, November, and December.

As with all college prep, the earlier the better! Try to take the SAT in August, October, or November. These three test dates should have little trouble getting your scores to colleges in time, assuming your earliest deadline is somewhere around January 1.

Although you can opt for the December test date, too, I would only do so if your deadlines are January 10 or later. December scores aren't usually released until late December, so January 1 might be playing it a little too close for some colleges. Check with your schools directly to verify whether they'll accept SAT scores from the December test date before you register for it.

If your regular decision deadline happens to be especially early, like the University of California's November 30 deadline, opt for the August or October test dates instead.

Scenario 3: You're Applying Early Action/Early Decision

  • Best Dates: June, August
  • Riskier Dates: October

Most early action deadlines are November 1 or 15. A June or August test date (before your senior year) is an excellent choice since scores from either test date should definitely get to your schools in time. These dates also give you the fall to focus entirely on your college applications instead of on SAT prep.

The October deadline is a bit riskier, though, as its scores aren't normally released until the end of October. So if your deadline is November 1, October probably won't work. If your deadlines are November 15 or later, however, October should be fine.

Scenario 4: Your College Applications Aren't Due Until February or Later

Many schools have later-than-normal deadlines in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and even September . So which SAT test dates will work for these late decision schools?

Below are the latest SAT test dates you can choose depending on your college application deadline. The latest recommended dates are pretty much guaranteed to get your SAT scores to schools in time, whereas the riskier dates might not get your scores in before the deadlines.

SAT Test Dates May Change Sign up to Receive Free Updates


Additional Resources for Info on SAT Test Dates

Need extra assistance with choosing SAT test dates? Our top resources below will help you pinpoint the best SAT dates for you:

  • When Should You Take the SAT or ACT? Best Test Dates: Our popular guide to SAT/ACT test dates zeroes in on the four most important factors you'll need to consider when selecting a test date. You can also check out our more general guide to the other major factors that come into play when choosing a test date .
  • SAT/ACT Test Dates & Study Plan for Sophomores and Juniors : Seeking advice on when to take the SAT or ACT your sophomore or junior year? This guide walks you through a typical SAT/ACT test-taking schedule and offers targeted tips for honing your weaknesses.
  • 5 Step SAT/ACT Test Dates & Study Plan for Summer Before Senior Year : This step-by-step guide explains how to structure a personalized SAT/ACT study plan before your senior year.
  • The Best SAT and ACT Test Dates for Senior Fall : Looking for a guide geared specifically toward seniors? Here, we lay out the SAT/ACT test dates in autumn and provide you with tips on how to choose the best date for you.
  • Can I Get an Alternate SAT Test Date? : If there's a conflict with your current SAT test date, you might be able to schedule an alternate test date for the following week. Read our guide to learn everything you can do to ensure your request is successful.

The Final Word: What to Know About SAT Test Dates

Although exact SAT test dates change each testing year, the exam will always be administered a total of seven times across the following months (in the US):

For the most part, international test dates are identical to US ones, although the registration deadlines and score release dates can vary. Also, this year the international dates will all be administered in the new digital format .

To choose a test date that's right for you, consider the following four factors:

  • When your college application and scholarship deadlines are
  • How many times you want to take the SAT
  • How much time you're willing to study
  • Whether you'll have any obligations that might prevent you from taking the SAT on a certain date

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you now have a clearer and more confident sense as to which SAT test dates will work for you!

What's Next?

Planning ahead for 2024 or 2025? Then take a look at our handy (and updated!) compilation of future SAT test dates .

You've chosen an SAT test date—your next step now is to get online and register for the SAT . Our detailed guide offers easy-to-follow instructions to help walk you smoothly through the registration process.

Ready to get a great SAT score ? Consider the many different ways you can prep for the exam by reading our free eBook . And if you're hoping for a perfect score , check out our in-depth guide to getting a 1600 on the SAT , written by an expert full scorer!

Disappointed with your scores? Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

Fred is co-founder of PrepScholar. He scored a perfect score on the SAT and is passionate about sharing information with aspiring students. Fred graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor's in Mathematics and a PhD in Economics.

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Yale has extended a test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants in the 2023-24 admissions cycle. Review details below.

Standardized Testing Requirements & Policies

Yale evaluates each applicant as an individual. standardized test scores are just one of many factors yale may consider when reviewing applications..

Yale will extend its test-optional admissions policy to the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. All applicants for undergraduate admission for fall 2024 enrollment may apply with or without ACT or SAT scores. The admissions office plans to announce a long-term policy on standardized testing in winter 2024. The decision will be informed by the data and insights generated from the most recent admissions cycles.

Applicants who have successfully completed one or more ACT or SAT exams should consider including scores, even if those scores are below the ranges listed below. Yale’s internal research has consistently shown that standardized test scores are a significant predictor of a student’s undergraduate academic performance. When students include scores with their applications, the Yale Admissions Committee evaluates them within each student’s unique context and uses them to augment other academic indicators throughout the application. 

For applicants without scores, the Admissions Committee places greater weight on other parts of the application, such as high school transcripts, recommendation letters, and essays. Competitive candidates with or without scores are those whose applications clearly demonstrate a high degree of academic preparedness, a consistent record of scholastic success, and genuine intellectual curiosity.

Continue reading for more information about

ACT and SAT overview and policies

Additional exams, testing deadlines, sending scores after applying, testing for non-native english speakers.

During the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, applicants to Yale College may opt to report results from the ACT and/or the SAT.

The Common and Coalition Applications will include the following question: “Yale is providing applicants the option to have their applications reviewed with or without ACT or SAT scores. Do you wish to have ACT or SAT scores considered with your application?” 

  • Applicants who respond “Yes” may not change their response. Any official or self-reported ACT or SAT scores included with a student’s application will be considered during the review process.
  • Applicants who respond “No” may change their response to “Yes” by using the Application Update Form on the Yale Admissions Status Portal to self-report ACT or SAT results at any time after applying.

Applicants who submit the QuestBridge Application will respond to the above question via the Yale Admissions Status Portal shortly after applications are received.

Standardized test results, when included, are just one component of a student’s application and are viewed within the context of the student’s entire file. There is no minimum score required for admission, nor is there a score that will guarantee admission.

The middle 50% of test scores (the 25th to the 75th percentiles) for enrolled first-year students in fall 2020 were as follows:

  • SAT-Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 720-780
  • SAT-Math: 740-800
  • ACT Composite: 33-35

The middle 80% of test scores (the 10th to the 90th percentiles) for enrolled first-year students in fall 2020 were as follows:

  • SAT-Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 680-790
  • SAT-Math: 690-800
  • ACT Composite: 31-36

Note: the above data reflect score ranges before Yale temporarily adopted a test-optional policy. While Yale’s test-optional policy is in effect, the admissions office will not report data on the test scores or test-sharing choices of applicants, admitted students, or enrolling students.  

ACT and SAT policies:

  • SAT vs ACT: The Yale Admissions Committee does not prefer one test over the other, and students who submit both the SAT and ACT are not at an advantage.
  • The ACT Writing section is optional. Applicants who opt to complete the Writing section may self-report their Writing subscore on the application.
  • Self-Reporting Scores: Students who opt to include ACT and/or SAT scores with their application may self-report scores on the application and/or via the “Update Application” form, available on the Yale Admissions Status Portal after an application has been received. Applicants who are offered admission and choose to matriculate at Yale will be required to provide official results of all self-reported scores prior to enrolling. Discrepancies between an applicant’s self-reported scores and official scores may result in the withdrawal of an offer of admission. 
  • Multiple Tests & Test Dates: Applicants who opt to include scores may choose to report scores from one exam date or multiple exam dates, but they must include a complete set of subscores - e.g. Mathematics and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing for the SAT; English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science for the ACT.
  • Superscoring: When assessing SAT results, admissions officers will focus on the highest individual section scores from all test dates. For example, if an applicant took the SAT twice, the highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math scores will be considered individually. When assessing ACT results, admissions officers will focus on the highest ACT Composite from all test dates while also considering individual ACT subscores.

Students who have completed AP Exams, IB Exams, or AICE Exams prior to submitting their applications may self-report scores in the testing section of the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge National College Match Application. Students who have completed any of these exams and who feel that their results demonstrate strength in specific academic areas may want to self-report those scores, but reporting them is entirely optional. As in other parts of the application, exam results will be considered as one component among many of a whole-person review process.

Students enrolled in IB and AICE curricula at the time they are offered admission are expected to have completed their exams and to submit final results prior to enrolling.

SAT Subject Tests have been discontinued. Results from these exams will not be considered. 

The last possible test dates are:

Applicants who complete a standardized exam or receive a new exam score after submitting their application may use the “Update Application” form available on the Yale Admissions Status Portal to self-report new scores, or list Yale as an official score recipient either on or in advance of the test date. Yale’s CEEB code for the SAT is 3987; the ACT code is 0618.

Yale requires that non-native English-speakers who have not taken at least two years of secondary education where English is the medium of instruction submit the results from any of the proficiency tests listed below.

TOEFL   Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL requires pre-registration for available testing dates. Yale’s most competitive applicants have scores of at least 100 on the internet-based TOEFL.

IELTS  International English Language Testing System

The IELTS offers proficiency tests in locations around the world. Pre-registration is required. Yale’s most competitive applicants have IELTS scores of 7 or higher.

Cambridge English Qualifications

Cambridge English exams are available at testing locations around the world. Pre-registration is required. Yale’s most competitive applicants have Cambridge English scores of 185 or higher on the C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency, or B2 First exams.

DET   Duolingo English Test

Applicants may submit the Duolingo English Test (DET), which combines an English proficiency test with a brief video interview. Duolingo’s technology and format allows applicants to complete the test at any time or place with internet access. Yale’s most competitive applicants have DET scores of at least 120.

InitialView   InitialView

InitialView provides live, unscripted video interviews that candidates may submit to colleges for consideration with other application materials. Interview times must be reserved in advance. There is no scoring associated with these interviews.

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sat without essay 2023

The SAT Essay 2022-2023: What to Expect

Last updated: March 2022

How to write the SAT essay:

  • Read the prompt to understand the task.
  • Read the sample passage, underlining the examples and evidence.
  • Come up with a thesis statement.
  • Outline your SAT essay.
  • Write a draft.
  • Edit it: check arguments and evidence, make sure there’s a logic in the essay.
  • Proofread your SAT essay: check grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.

Good news for those afraid of SAT essays:

This section is optional now. It means they won’t require you to write the SAT essay this year.

Many colleges still recommend it to see your writing and critical thinking skills.

What are those colleges that require SAT essays? How long is the SAT with essays? How to write it? And what is the SAT essay, after all?

Keep on reading to find out all the details, and get ready to earn the highest score for your essay this year.

sat without essay 2023

Source: Unsplash

That’s what you’ll learn in this guide:

Table of Contents:

  • Organization
  • The SAT essay: to take or not to take?
  • How to decide when to take the SAT
  • How to register for the SAT
  • Top changes to SAT essays in 2022
  • How to write SAT essay?
  • SAT essay tips
  • Colleges that require SAT essay

What is the SAT?

Invented by Carl Brigham in 1923 , the SAT is owned and developed by College Board. It’s a not-for-profit organization in the USA, with over 6,000 schools, colleges, and universities being its members.

SAT Purpose

The purpose of the SAT is to measure your readiness for college. It’s focused on the knowledge and skills you’ve got in high school, and it provides colleges with one common score to compare all applicants.

College admission officers review the SAT score alongside with your other achievements such as:

  • Your high school GPA.
  • The admission interview.
  • Your personal essay .
  • Letters of recommendation from your teachers.
  • The classes you took in school.
  • Your extracurricular activities.

The higher your final score, the more options you’ll have for admission.

SAT Organization

The SAT includes three mandatory parts: Reading, Writing, and Math. As per 2016, an SAT essay is optional for applicants to take, though many colleges still require it.

You’ll have three hours to complete your SAT (without the essay). If you write the essay, you’ll have 3 hours 50 minutes to finish the whole test.

To succeed with the test, you should complete its all sections. If you leave some questions unanswered, your scores will be canceled.

The total you can get for your SAT is on a scale of 400–1600, with 200–800 for each of two sections: Reading and Writing + Math.

Sounds difficult?

Okay, here’s a kinda SAT score calculator for you:

If you write an SAT essay, you can get an extra 2–8 points for each of three criteria. What are these criteria, and what is a good essay score?

Two graders from College Board score each SAT essay on a scale of 1-4 across three criteria:

  • Reading: it should be clear from your essay that you’ve understood the material. So, cover its main points and show how they interrelate.
  • Analysis: an essay should include persuasive claims about the text’s main points. So, evaluate them and provide supporting evidence for its claims.
  • Writing: an essay should be structured well. So, present your arguments logically, vary sentence structure, state a thesis, and avoid grammar/spelling mistakes.

Summed together from two graders, your SAT essay score can range between 2 and 8 for each criterion.

In 2018, the average SAT essay score was 5 out of 8 for Reading, 4 out of 8 for Analysis, and 5 out of 8 for Writing. ( Source )

As you see, the analysis was the most challenging part for students. That’s because it differs from what you do in standard essays:

In high school, you mostly write persuasive essays to give your personal opinion on the topic. In the SAT essay, they ask you to analyze the author’s opinion. It’s more like writing an expository essay . And although the structure of SAT essays doesn’t differ from that of a standard essay, it may be difficult for you to logically link the arguments and evidence of another person in a new paper.

SAT Dates in 2022-2023

As a rule, the SAT takes place on the first Saturday of November, December, May, and June. Other dates include late January, March or April, and late August or October.

In other words, you can take the exam almost every month. Just make sure you are ready and don’t miss a registration deadline for your chosen data.

Here are the SAT dates for 2022-2023:

The SAT Essay: to Take or Not to Take?

As you’ve read already, an SAT essay is optional now. However, there are many colleges and universities in the USA that still require it from applicants. So, if you decide not to write the SAT essay, you won’t be able to apply to these schools.

Later in this article, you’ll find the list of colleges that require the SAT essay. Make sure yours is not there; otherwise, you’ll have to write an essay. If you are still unsure of what college to apply, writing the essay would come in handy anyway.

The SAT with essay costs $57 as opposed to the $45 for the SAT without an essay section.

Pros and cons of taking the SAT essay:

sat without essay 2023

How to Decide When to Take the SAT

Think strategically when choosing the date for taking your SAT:

  • How much time do you need to prepare? Map it out, set goals, visualize your plan – and you’ll know what SAT date fits you best.
  • How busy are you with other tasks at the moment? With tons of other assignments and commitments to complete, you’ll hardly find enough time for preparation. So, choose the season when your schedule is not that crazy.
  • What is your college application timeline? You’ll need the SAT completed before you submit the application, so time accordingly.

How to Register for the SAT

First of all, choose the date, based on the tips above. Try to complete your SAT registration as soon as possible, because the late registration usually needs an extra fee.

Also, decide if you take the SAT essay. For that, find out if your chosen colleges require such essays. Also, check if they ask applicants to take SAT Subject Tests (they are given by College Board on individual subjects).

You can complete the registration on the College Board website , or fill in the Student Registration Booklet and send it by email. ( Ask your school counselor for this booklet .)

You’ll need to upload a picture of yourself and provide all your personal data. Make sure the photo and info match with those in your ID. Also, pay a registration fee.

Once your registration is complete, print out the Admission Ticket: you’ll need it when come to take your test.

Top Changes to SAT Essays in 2022

In case you don’t know, the SAT has changed since 2016. Many educational blogs and websites wrote about it because it was the year of the biggest change to this test, and it impacted students greatly.

Time, format, scores, sections… Everything is different now!

Here go the most significant changes to SAT essays in 2020 and later:

  • The SAT essay is optional now.
  • Students have 50 minutes for writing it. (The old SAT gave them only 25 minutes.)
  • This essay is argumentative now, and it asks you to analyze another essay. (The old SAT required to answer a theoretical prompt in your essay.)
  • The SAT essay is scored separately now. (The old SAT had an essay as a part of the Writing section, and the score range for it was 200-800.)

More changes to the overall SAT test are gathered and turned into the infographic by Student Tutor. Check here for details.

Or, let’s turn to SAT essay examples!

That’s what an SAT essay task looked back in 2016:

sat essay sample task 2016

As you see, it’s focused on a more theoretical response. Graders didn’t estimate any analytical skills.

And that’s the example of a new SAT essay task:

sat essay sample task 2019

It requires a more argumentative and analytical approach from students. Graders can see your critical thinking skills, not just your personal opinion on a given theoretical prompt.

Both examples are taken from Allen Cheng’s article at PrepScholar. He shared the complete guide to the SAT new rules and its most meaningful changes for students.

How to Write SAT Essay?

Below, you’ll find SAT essay tips that can help to improve your scores. But now let’s turn to an essay structure and your step by step tutorial on how to write SAT essays.

Lucky you are, the SAT essay structure is similar to any standard academic paper teachers asked you to write in class. Known as a 5-paragraph essay , its basic parts are:

  • Introduction: 2-3 sentences with a hook and a thesis statement.
  • Thesis statement: a central argument of your essay, so take your time to craft it.
  • Supporting paragraphs (two or three, if time) : each of them should include a topic sentence, evidence, and a concluding sentence to demonstrate how it refers to your thesis statement.
  • Conclusion: 3-4 sentences, summarizing your arguments in a concise manner.

sat essay outline by bid4papers

Given that you have 50 minutes for writing the SAT essay, make sure to allocate this time like a boss:

  • Read the prompt: 1 minute .
  • Read the passage, annotating the core info: 15 minutes .
  • Outline the essay: 5 minutes .
  • Write an essay: 25 minutes .
  • Check an essay: 4 minutes .

Don’t hurry up to read the passage: pay attention to the task (prompt) itself, as it will help you understand what information and evidence to concentrate. So, here we have the first step to writing a good SAT essay: read the prompt before the passage .

After that, read the sample passage carefully . Underline the evidence and examples you can use to answer the prompt in your essay. Remember, that your SAT essay will be scored for Reading , so you’ll need to demonstrate that you understand the text’s main points.

To get a high score for Analysis , you’ll need to explain and evaluate the author’s arguments. So, when reading the passage, identify his central claim and instruments he uses to support it (reasoning, evidence, stylistic elements). Focus on the most relevant and persuasive ones.

State your thesis . It should sum up your assessment of the author’s argument. Make it concise and clear, but don’t add any personal attitudes. Remember: you analyze the author’s view rather than share your own. Stay objective when reading the passage and then creating your central claim.

Now it’s time for outlining your essay. Map out it briefly in the introduction, then specify topic sentences and evidence for each paragraph of your essay’s body. Write the draft , with an essay conclusion restating your thesis and summarizing the whole paper.

Check your SAT essay: make sure to use effective language and word choice. Use a variety of sentence structures but stay clear and informative. Your essay gets scores for Writing too, and high scores go to works that are “cohesive and demonstrate highly effective use and command of language.” ( Source )

Source: Giphy

So, avoid low-level vocabulary, correct all spelling and grammar mistakes, and check if you use the right transitional phrases to describe relationships between the arguments in your essay.

words to avoid in sat essay

SAT Essay Tips

Everyone loves tips, especially if they help to achieve goals and conquer new peaks. And when your goal is a high score for an SAT essay, you need tips more than ever. No wonder:

Who doesn’t want to get a magic bullet to hit the target at one stroke, right?

We asked our team of professional academic writers to give readers their recommendations on essay writing, and here go the essay tips they’ve shared:

What you can do to earn high scores for the SAT essay:

  • Understand the scoring system.
  • Study essay samples; analyze their structure.
  • Practice a lot: take sample prompts and spend 50 minutes on writing essays based on them.
  • Learn to analyze texts and see central claims and evidence in them.
  • During the SAT, read the prompt before the passage. Always.
  • Use accurate facts: support your points with evidence from the passage.
  • Be objective: answer the prompt but don’t add any personal opinion or points.
  • Take your time to organize the SAT essay, and don’t forget to revise it.
  • Make your essay longer than one page: though they say length doesn’t matter, your short response might be not enough for graders to see your writing skills — and you score for the Writing criterion will suffer.
  • Follow standard tips for essay writing: use straightforward language, give a clear thesis, structure your essay logically.
  • Use a timer when practicing your SAT essay: remember that you’ll have 50 minutes only, so make time for analyzing, planning, writing, and revising it.

Colleges That Require SAT Essay

Your decision to take the optional SAT essay might heavily depend on which college you are going to apply.

So, let’s check what colleges require SAT essays. If yours isn’t in the list, feel free to catch a break: you won’t have to prepare for this writing test and spend money on taking it. However, we would recommend you to double-check with each school at their official websites. (Rules change, you know, and the information tends to go out of date in time.)

We took the most popular colleges among US students only. If your school isn’t on the list, check SAT essay policies of all educational institutes at the official College Board website.

SAT Essay Examples

As mentioned, you need to practice a lot to write the SAT essay worth a high score. That’s true. But what else you can do is pre-plan the examples and evidence you’ll use in the essay! For that, analyze SAT essay examples available online.

Yes, the specifics of your prompt will differ; but they can help choose the types of examples you’ll use to explain the author’s argument.

College Board shares many SAT essay examples with detailed analysis and explanations of why they gave these or those scores to students. They’ll help you understand what to expect from your essay and what writing weaknesses of yours to improve.

This is the SAT essay example that has got 2/1/1 from graders.


(Oops, you better don’t write like that!)

And this work has got 4/4/4 points! See the difference:


(c) College Board

Additional Resources to Check:

  • The SAT Student Guide 2022, College Board
  • SAT Essay Practice on Khan Academy
  • Practice With a Redesigned SAT Essay Prompts
  • Best Books to Prepare for SAT
  • SAT Essay Prompts: The Complete List

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SAT® Practice Test #1 SAT® Practice Test #3 SAT® Practice Test #5 SAT® Practice Test #6 SAT® Practice Test #7 SAT® Practice Test #9 SAT® Practice Test #10 Digital SAT®

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If you’re looking for free help as you start your SAT® prep, be sure to explore our SAT® sections for more review articles ( Math , Reading , Writing )

How do you calculate SAT® scores for Fall 2023 testing?

In fall 2023, schools will administer the SAT® as a paper and pencil test. When calculating your SAT® score for this test, there are a few key components: 

First, there is your reading test raw score. This raw score equals the number of SAT® Reading questions you get correct on the test (o ut of 52). From your raw score, a Reading Test Score is calculated between 10-40. 

Next, there is your writing and language test raw score. This equals the number of questions you get right out of the 44 questions in this section. From your raw score, a Writing and Language Test Score is calculated between 10-40. 

Adding your Reading Test Score and Writing and Language Test Score becomes your Reading and Writing Test Score (which ranges from 20-80). This number is multiplied by 10 to get your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score (between 200-800). 

Finally, there is your math score. For this section, you add the raw score (the number of correct answers) from both the no calculator and calculator sections to get your math section raw score. This is then converted using a scoring chart to output your Math Section Score (between 200-800). 

This means your total SAT® score can range from 400-1600. 

What is the Digital SAT®? When is the SAT® going digital?

The Digital SAT® represents a significant evolution in how the College Board administers and scores the SAT®. Starting in Spring 2024, this new format leverages the benefits of digital testing and adaptivity to assess a student’s capabilities better. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming test format:

Reading and Writing Modules:

  • Module 1: You will answer 27 questions, and your raw score will be the number of correct answers.
  • Adaptive Component: Your performance in Module 1 influences the difficulty of the questions in Reading and Writing Module 2, which also contains 27 questions. Your raw score here again depends on the number of correct answers.
  • Scoring: The raw scores from both modules are combined and converted to your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score, ranging from 200 to 800.

Math Modules:

  • Module 1: This section includes 22 questions, with your raw score reflecting the number of correct answers.
  • Adaptive Component: As with reading and writing, your performance in Math Module 1 determines the question set in Math Module 2, which also has 22 questions. Your raw score is based on correct answers.
  • Scoring: The raw scores from both Math modules are combined and converted into your Math Section Score, ranging from 200 to 800.

Revised SAT® Score Calculation:

With the introduction of the Digital SAT®, the calculation of scores will adapt to the new format:

  • Reading and Writing: The raw scores from both Reading and Writing modules are added and converted to the section score.
  • Math: Similarly, the raw scores from both Math modules are totaled and then converted to the section score.

The total SAT® score will still range from 400 to 1600, combining the Reading and Writing and Math Section Scores.

What’s the difference between SAT® raw scores and SAT® scale scores? How are they calculated?

Raw Scores: These are simply the number of questions you answer correctly across the modules. There is no penalty for guessing, so your raw score is the total count of correct responses.

Scale Scores: The raw scores are then converted to scale scores for each section. These are between 200-800 for the two sections, to give you a total SAT® score between 400-1600. 

Understanding Raw Scores and Scale Scores in the Digital SAT®

In the digital format, this conversion will take into account the adaptive nature of the test, ensuring that scores are comparable across different test forms and levels of difficulty.

The new Digital SAT® is adaptive. This means that the difficulty of the questions in the second module will be based on your performance in the first module. This ensures a more personalized test experience and allows for a precise measurement of your skills and knowledge.

As we prepare for the launch of the Digital SAT®, we’ve updated our SAT® score calculator to reflect these changes. This tool will continue to be an invaluable resource for students to assess their readiness and predict their potential performance on the actual test.

What is a good SAT® score? Decent score? Bad score?

A good SAT® score really depends on the student and their aspirations. For example, if you’re applying to Harvard and have a 1200 SAT® score, it’s unlikely you’ll get in since Harvard’s average score is typically over 1500. That being said, if you’re applying to Michigan State University with that same score, that would be competitive for your college application. 

Generally, in our opinion, anything that falls into the top 30% of graduating high school students should be considered a good SAT® score. When you review the 2019 SAT® score trends , you see the nationally representative sample average SAT® score is 1120. The 70th percentile SAT® test taker is 1170. 

The former number compares how students did on the SAT® to an overall sample of all students grades 11-12, regardless of whether or not they took the SAT®. The latter number applies the actual scores of students in the past three graduating classes to the latest SAT®. 

A decent SAT® score would probably be something around the 50th percentile. Using the nationally representative sample, you’d find this to be a 1010. Looking at just SAT® test takers, the 50th percentile SAT® score would be between a 1050 and 1060. 

A bad SAT® score is quite subjective, but if you were looking at it from a percentiles standpoint, it could be any score below the 25th percentile. Looking at the nationally representative sample, this is between 870 and 880. For just SAT® test takers, it’d be a 910. 

Is 1600 a good SAT® score?

Yes! 1600 is not just a good SAT® score; it’s a perfect SAT® score. Just like the ACT® , depending on the particular test, there is sometimes leeway on how to get a perfect SAT® score. In other words, there are edge cases where you may be able to get one Reading question wrong and still get an 800 for your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score. 

How hard is it to get a 1400 on the SAT®?

It can be pretty tough to score a 1400 on the SAT®. Scoring a 1400 means you’re in the 97th percentile for the nationally representative sample and the 94th percentile among SAT® takers.

Furthermore, if you were to assume you wanted to score a 700 in both sections and you play around with the score calculator above, you’d see that to score a 700 in math, you can only miss around eight questions on average. 

Then, to score a 700 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, you’d only be able to miss around eight questions in SAT® Reading and five questions in SAT® Writing. 

Is 1200 a good SAT® score?

A 1200 is a good SAT® score. Reviewing the 2019 SAT® score trends, you’ll see that 1200 equates to the 81st percentile for the nationally representative sample and the 74th percentile for SAT® test takers. This means scoring 1200 on the SAT® puts you in the top quartile of high school students taking the test. 

What is the average SAT® score?

The average SAT® score is typically between 1010 and 1060. This is pulled from the SAT® score trend data in which the 50th percentile for the nationally representative sample was a 1010, and among SAT® test takers, the 50th percentile fell between a 1050 and 1060.

Why is the SAT® exam curved?

The SAT® exam itself is not curved relative to test takers. That being said, the College Board does put each test through a process referred to as equating. This process ensures no student receives an advantage or disadvantage from taking a particular for on the SAT® on a particular day. 

In other words, it ensures a test score of 500 equals a test score 500 on an SAT® from another day. 

The equating process is also why you’ll notice that when you use our SAT® score calculator, there are sometimes variances in how you might have scored on one practice test versus another. There can be cases, for instance, where getting a perfect score in Math was necessary for an 800, while you could get one question wrong in another. 

How do I read my SAT® Score Report?

The College Board provides a helpful short video on how to understand your SAT® score report here .

The first step is navigating to . 

Upon logging in, you’ll see your total SAT® score, which combines your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section and Math Section score. 

In your SAT® Score Report, you’ll also find specifics on your test scores (number correct and incorrect in each section), cross-test scores (how you analyze texts and solve problems that are interdisciplinary with Science and History) and subscores (how you performed on specific key concepts). 

These sections will be color coded so you know exactly where you need to improve. 

If you took the essay, you’ll see how you did on reading, writing, and analysis. 

If you prefer not watching a video on this, you can review the College Board’s PDF resource on reading SAT® Score Reports here .

Why should I use this SAT® score calculator?

Albert’s SAT® score calculator is crafted to align with the latest official practice test curves provided by the College Board. This ensures our calculations are as accurate and current as possible. Whether you’re gearing up for the traditional SAT® or adapting to the new Digital SAT® format launching in 2024, our calculator is updated to reflect these changes and provide you with reliable score estimates.

We developed this SAT® score calculator to go beyond the static tables typically used by others. Our interactive tool, complete with sliders, offers a more dynamic and engaging way to visualize your scoring potential. It’s not just about crunching numbers; it’s about providing a motivational and insightful experience to help you identify where you can make the most impactful improvements in your SAT® preparation. With our calculator, you can experiment with different scenarios and see how changes in each section could elevate your overall score to meet your SAT® aspirations.

How do you figure out your SAT® superscore?

To figure out your SAT® superscore, you’ll need to first compile all of the test days you took the SAT®. Next, look for your highest scores for SAT® Evidence-Based Reading and SAT® Math.

So for example, if you got a 700 on one SAT® Math test, and a 750 on another, you’d choose the 750.

Finally, total your highest scores — this is your SAT® superscore.  

Looking for extra SAT® practice?

Albert provides hundreds of SAT® practice questions with detailed explanations and full-length practice tests. We have subjects for the traditional SAT® and the new digital format coming out in spring 2024.

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Should SATs Be Optional?

Readers discuss an article by David Leonhardt about research showing the tests’ usefulness.

A blue multiple-choice bubble sheet with three gray miniature ships from the board game Battleship arranged, as in the game, over series of bubbles. The largest ship has red pegs in all its slots, while the other two ships each have only one red peg in position.

To the Editor:

Re “ Colleges Fled SAT in Spite of Its Utility ,” by David Leonhardt (news analysis, front page, Jan. 12):

Mr. Leonhardt helpfully reminds us that standardized exams can improve access for high-performing, underrepresented minority students. But using this research to call recent movements toward test-optional admissions policies misguided not only oversimplifies college readiness, but also disregards students whose access to college is hindered by mandatory test submission.

These students — neurodiverse students with learning disabilities, differences and anxiety issues — often struggle with standardized exams, and the College Board’s accommodations system does little to help. These students’ high school experience often involves the development of strategies that will enable them to self-advocate and succeed in a college setting, in spite of their disabilities. But these skills do not often surface on standardized exams.

Moreover, students who might not excel in the generalized metrics of the SAT often exhibit strengths in more specialized areas. College, unlike previous educational settings, offers the opportunity for them to specialize and thrive in these specific domains via choice of major. The SAT’s broad and generalized approach fails to capture this nuanced aspect of student potential.

At best, a college application tells a compelling narrative about a student’s qualifications for higher education. If a high SAT score strengthens a student’s narrative, by all means a student should submit it. But an emphasis on SAT scores overlooks the diverse ways students manifest their readiness for college. A shift to test optional was a godsend for many students, and it would be a big mistake to roll that back.

Chris Wiebe West Hollywood, Calif. The writer is head of school at TREE Academy.

David Leonhardt clearly proved that SAT scores are predictive of success in college. Instead of bemoaning the lower scores that many disadvantaged children achieve as a result of “biased” tests, we should heed the results as a call to demand the resources necessary to make sure that every child, no matter where they live, receives the same high-quality education.

Ina Rubenstein San Diego

It would be easy to take aim at David Leonhardt’s article on standardized testing, because his data sets come solely from elite institutions. More interesting, however, is the fact that although he repeatedly states that SAT scores are a better predictor of success, his charts appears to equate success with attending an elite graduate school, working at a prestigious firm and getting grades above 3.0.

But in 2023, is our definition of success still limited to elite graduate schools and prestigious firms? Might an M.I.T. graduate become an incredible high school physics teacher or a creative coder? Might people who get B’s at Harvard or U.C.L.A. be capable of having fulfilling, productive, dare I say successful lives?

If the data showed that students with lower SAT scores who are admitted to elite colleges are dramatically more likely to fail their courses, drop out or die by suicide, I would take his concerns more seriously. But I’m guessing most of those students get great educations and do wonderful things with their lives.

Maybe what we need to reconsider is the elite-centric definitions of success that these schools and Mr. Leonhardt continue to promulgate.

Rebecca Steinitz Arlington, Mass.

David Leonhardt claims that test scores are far superior to high-school grades in predicting how students will perform in college. Analysis of data from our own institution , the University of California, shows that the claim is spurious, the statistical artifact of a classic methodological error.

Compared with high school grades, test scores are more strongly correlated with student demographics like family income, education and race/ethnicity — factors that are also correlated with student outcomes in college. As a result, when student demographics are omitted from prediction models, the utility of test scores is artificially inflated.

Controlling for demographics, high-school grades are actually the stronger predictor of U.C. student outcomes.

In the three years since U.C. eliminated the SAT requirement, it has seen no diminution in the academic performance of entering students. As the U.C. faculty’s Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools concluded in its 2023 annual report , “Though not initially endorsed by BOARS, elimination of standardized tests has demonstrated a way in which U.C. can lead in advancing access and opportunity for the state’s students.”

Saul Geiser Richard C. Atkinson Mr. Geiser is a senior associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at U.C. Berkeley. Mr. Atkinson is a president emeritus of the University of California.

I was never one to do well on standardized tests. More than 50 years ago, I scored a whopping 400 out of 800 on my English SAT. Thankfully, my high school average (92) was a game changer, since between that and a phone call from my high school headmistress I was admitted as a freshman to a college in New York City.

The irony is that ever since I graduated, I’ve made a comfortable living as a writer, abysmal SAT score notwithstanding. I thought of adding it to my cemetery headstone, but I digress.

Let’s just say that there’s more to indicate talent and academic excellence than one’s SAT scores — although I’m kind of proud of that 400.

Barbara Shields Rockville Centre, N.Y.

David Leonhardt advocates that elite colleges and universities return to standardized testing as a part of their admissions process. He points to research showing that standardized test scores are a better predictor of college performance than any other measure, noting that grade inflation has made the high school transcript an unreliable indicator of academic performance.

What Mr. Leonhardt says is true, but he doesn’t go far enough. Another important element of the admissions process is the letter of recommendation. In our litigious environment, high school teachers and guidance counselors are understandably uncomfortable about saying anything about a student that might be construed as critical. Admissions officers also look closely at the essays students provide as a part of the application process. But given the prevalence of artificial intelligence, fabricating a phony college essay these days is relatively easy.

I once discussed the college application process with a highly regarded dean of admissions. He acknowledged that the SAT test was flawed, but said that it was the only common currency we have. That was many years ago, but his opinion is truer today than ever before.

Henry Von Kohorn Princeton, N.J.


  1. College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT with Essay

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  3. Which Colleges Require SAT Essay in 2022-2023?

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  4. Which Colleges Require the SAT Essay? Complete List

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  5. The Optional SAT Essay: What to Know

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  6. How Long is the SAT Test?

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  7. Khan Academy

    This means for U.S. students, the last administration of the pencil-and-paper SAT will be in December 2023, and all students will take the Digital SAT starting in 2024. The move to digital will result in a shorter test (2 hours instead of 3 hours) and faster delivery of results.

  8. SAT Changes 2023-2024: What You Need To Know

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  11. What To Know About The New Digital SAT

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  13. What Colleges Require the SAT Essay?

    First of all, the SAT essay is technically an optional section, so no, you are not required to take it. That being said, some colleges do require applicants to take the SAT with Essay. If you choose not to take the essay portion of the test, you will not be an eligible applicant for any of these schools.

  14. The Definitive Guide to the SAT 2024

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  17. How Long Does the SAT Take?

    Last Updated March 13, 2023 The total time for the paper and pencil SAT is about 3 hours, not including breaks and consists of: Reading: 65-minute section with 52 questions (75 seconds per question) Writing and Language: 35-minute section with 44 questions (about 48 seconds per question)

  18. SAT Essay Scoring

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  19. Your Guide: How Long is the SAT Without Essay?

    Baron | Updated October 2, 2023 | Published October 2, 2023 Are you wondering about the duration of the SAT without the essay section? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the length of the SAT, its sections, and effective preparation strategies.

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  21. Standardized Testing Requirements & Policies

    Yale will extend its test-optional admissions policy to the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. All applicants for undergraduate admission for fall 2024 enrollment may apply with or without ACT or SAT scores. The admissions office plans to announce a long-term policy on standardized testing in winter 2024.

  22. The SAT Essay 2022-2023: What to Expect

    Write a draft. Edit it: check arguments and evidence, make sure there's a logic in the essay. Proofread your SAT essay: check grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. Good news for those afraid of SAT essays: This section is optional now. It means they won't require you to write the SAT essay this year. Bad news:

  23. SAT® Score Calculator for 2023 and Digital 2024

    In fall 2023, schools will administer the SAT® as a paper and pencil test. When calculating your SAT® score for this test, there are a few key components: First, there is your reading test raw score. This raw score equals the number of SAT® Reading questions you get correct on the test (o ut of 52). From your raw score, a Reading Test Score ...

  24. why does it say "sat without essay"? : r/Sat

    SAT essay is discontinued since years so, usually you don't need to take the SAT with essay that's why the status is there SAT without essay and it is completely fine. 33 mesii10_ OP • 1 yr. ago Thanks 5 [deleted] • 1 yr. ago Anytime! Feel free to reach out me for further help if you need. 7 RichInPitt • 1 yr. ago

  25. Opinion

    To the Editor: Re "Colleges Fled SAT in Spite of Its Utility," by David Leonhardt (news analysis, front page, Jan. 12): Mr. Leonhardt helpfully reminds us that standardized exams can improve ...

  26. PDF Spring 2024 SAT Suite of Assessments Michigan Test ...

    Students taking the SAT with Essay, PSAT 10, or PSAT 8/9 with an extended time EL support may also test with students with a time and one-half extended time accommodation. Students approved for extended time for reading will receive that extended time on all sections of the test. Students with extended time also receive extra breaks between ...

  27. Why does registration always say "without essay"? Aren't ...

    I think the april date was make up. The following states will be administering the SAT with Essay in the 21-22 academic year as part of their spring state-wide assessment system: Colorado Delaware Illinois Michigan New Hampshire Oklahoma. CB just has poor technology infrastructure, shown in many ways.