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What Is The SAT? A Quick Overview-San Mateo ACT SAT test prep tutoring

san-mateo-sat-prepYou have heard of the SAT and taking this exam will influence your future. It will loom somewhere in your thoughts throughout your high school career. You will devote hours to preparing this is exam. So what exactly is it?

College Board

The SAT is a test administered by the College Board. The College Board is a non-profit organization that develops the tests and administers it at high schools several times a year.

Testing Critical Thinking

The SAT is designed to measure your critical thinking skills, as well as the knowledge you have learned in high school. Reading comprehension skills are tested throughout the exam and are essential for performing well. Most universities require an SAT or ACT score for admissions. These standardized tests create a uniform criteria for comparing students. High schools can vary vastly, the SAT supplements GPA in demonstrating to universities that a student has the necessary skills to succeed in college.

Three Sections

The SAT consists of three sections, reading, writing and math. The reading section is made up of multiple choice questions that follow a passage. This section requires that you demonstrate command of evidence, understanding words in context, and analysis. The passages cover a wide range of topics including science, history and literature.

The writing section requires that you display a proper usage of English grammar, expression of ideas, analysis, understanding of words in context and a command of evidence. The essay portion of the exam is optional, but some institutions require it. You will have 50 minutes to complete an essay that analyzes a passage. You will not be required to formulate your own opinion or write about personal experience. You will be asked to discuss the argument the author is making and the methods they use to express their argument.

The math portion examines grasp of algebra, problem solving and data analysis, and advanced math concepts. The math portion is primarily multiple choice, but includes a few questions that require students to supply their own answer.


The entire test is 3 hours long and the optional essay is an additional 50 minutes. The reading portion is 65 minutes, the writing portion is 35 minutes and the math portion 80 minutes. The test proctor typically allows two breaks during the exam.


The SAT is scored between 400-1600 and the essay is scored from 2 to 8. You have the option of sending your score directly to the institutions where you intend to apply.

Prepare in Advance

Ultimately, the SAT is designed to determine whether or not you have the critical thinking skills and base knowledge to be successful in college. Universities want to know your skill level and make an appropriate choice about admissions. Start preparing for the SAT long before you take it so that you will feel confident and perform well on the exam.


San Mateo ACT SAT test prep tutoring

Mr. Test Prep has been a part of the San Mateo SAT Prep community for nearly 20 years. His experience working with students—from math wizzes to numberphobes, from novelists-in-training to kids who hate to read—has shown him that improving test results first requires improving a student’s confidence. To directly address this important facet of SAT prep, his tutoring program exposes students to the conditions of the test, while training them in subject-specific skills and teaching them testing strategies that can make the test much easier.

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