The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. Introduced in 1926, its name and scoring have changed several times; originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it was later called the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT I: Reasoning Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, and now, simply the SAT. The SAT is owned, developed, and published by the College Board, a private, not-for-profit corporation in the United States. It is administered on behalf of the College Board by the Educational Testing Service, which until recently developed the SAT as well, The test is intended to assess students’ readiness for college.
The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. The College Board states that the SAT measures literacy, numeracy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in college. They state that the SAT assesses how well the test takers analyze and solve problems—skills they learned in school that they will need in college. However, the test is administered under a tight time limit (speeded) to help produce a range of scores.
The SAT has four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (calculator allowed). The test taker may optionally write an essay which, in that case, is the fifth test section. The total time for the scored portion of the SAT is three hours (or three hours and fifty minutes if the optional essay section is taken).
SAT test results are typically released within 4-5 weeks of the test administration and can be viewed online. Students can choose to send their test scores to colleges of their choice. They also have the option to cancel their test score or withhold them from being sent to certain colleges.