Understanding the Test
What’s on the test?
The SAT tests you on 2 different subject areas: Math and Reading (reading section consists of the Writing and Language Test). There is also an optional Essay. The Math and the Reading sections are out of 800 points each. Perfect score on the test is 1600!
Section 1: Reading [65 Minutes]
Section 2: Writing and Language Test [35 Minutes]
Section 3: Math (No Calculator) [25 Minutes]
Section 4: Math (Calculator) [55 Minutes]
** Sections 1 and 2 are out of 800 points and Sections 3 and 4 are out of 800 points.
The ACT tests you on 4 different subject areas: English, Math, Reading and Science. There is also an optional Essay. The Math section includes topics up to Trigonometry. Although "Science" is a section on the test, this section is more about being able to read tables and graphs than it is about Science knowledge.
Section 1: English [45 Minutes]
Section 2: Math [60 Minutes]
Section 3: Reading [35 Minutes]
Section 4: Science [35 Minutes]
How is the test graded?
The SATs are out of a total of 1600 points: 800 in Math, and 800 in Reading. Each correct answer is 1 point, and each omitted answer or wrong answer is 0 points. This "raw score" is curved nationally to other student's scores, with the national average generally hovering around 500 for each section (1000 total). For more detailed information, click here.
The ACT is out of a total of 36 points. Each correct answer is 1 point and each incorrect/omitted answer is 0 points. Each of the 4 sections gets its own score (e.g. Math: 32, Reading: 22, Science: 24, English: 28). Your final result is the average of those 4 scores (e.g. (32+22+24+28)/4 ≈ 27). For more detailed information, click here.
How many times should I take the test?
Most students will take the test 3 times. The first to set a benchmark, the second to significantly improve, and the third to focus on increasing a particular section.
When should I take the test?
Juniors should take their first SAT/ACT no later than January or February of their junior year. This gives students plenty of time to take the test a 2nd or 3rd time before college applications are due.
What is a "good" SAT/ACT score?
The answer to this question really depends on the colleges a student is looking at. Every student should have a few "safety schools" that they know they have a very good chance of getting into, and a couple "reach schools" that they know will be tough to get into. The chart below should give you a better idea of what scores you will need to be a competitive candidate.
||Average SAT Scores *Old Test
||Average ACT Scores
|Rutgers University - New Brunswick
|Rutgers University - Newark
When should I take the test?
Below is a very typical testing schedule for students in high school. This may vary depending on how much time a student can dedicate to studying at different times in the school year, but parents should plan ahead to give their child as many opportunities to take the test as possible.
|Start getting familiar with the format of the test
Take the PSAT
(used for National Merit Scholarships)
|Last attempt at the SAT/ACT in Aug/Oct
|Take the PSAT
||Prepare for the first SAT/ACT in March
||Application Deadlines start in November
||Prepare for the second attempt in May/Jun
When should I start preparing?
Once students have decided on which test dates fit best for their schedule, they should begin preparing at least 1 month before their test. However, most students have to balance doing school work and studying for standardized tests, so starting 2 months before a test date is ideal.
Start Getting Prepared
We know that every student has their preferred method of studying. STAFFS Prep provides services for every kind of student, from those who enjoy the interaction and discussion of a classroom setting to those who prefer 1-on-1 time to dissect and understand problems.
Check out the different services we offer to help students get prepared:
(Only available if offered through your school)
- Quality instruction at an affordable price
- Classes of no more than 12 people
- 18-hours of prep
- 150 point Score Guarantee
Online SAT Software
- Supplement to any class
- Thousands of practice questions for all levels
- Study on your own schedule
- Explanation videos for every question
Private 1-on-1 Tutoring
- Prep with an elite tutor
- Personalized lesson plans
- Flexible scheduling
- Full-length mock exam(s)
- Packages ranging from 6 hours to 24 hours of prep