SAT exam: the all-in-one guide for everything SAT

11 Sep 2023
10 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Well done, graduate extraordinaire! You’ve conquered the high school chapter and are primed for the next thrilling adventure. The world’s your oyster, and it’s brimming with opportunities just waiting to be seized.


If your dreams involve studying in far-off lands, consider giving the SAT (aka Scholastic Aptitude Test) a friendly nod. This American-born brain teaser lets colleges globally size up candidates through the holy trifecta of reading, writing, language, and math.


But fret not, we’ve got you covered. Let us be your trusty SAT navigators, and help steer you through every SAT-related maze imaginable. From deciphering the syllabus to decoding exam dates, and even demystifying the fees – consider us your SAT sherpa. We’ll throw in practice tests, insider tips, and more, ensuring you’re armed to the teeth for that academic battleground.


Let’s kick start!


What is the SAT exam?

Let’s start with SAT exam full form – Scholastic Aptitude Test. This test is a big deal worldwide. It’s developed by the College Board and takes about 3 hours to complete. There are 150 questions in total, which will ultimately show colleges your potential.


For a long time, it was a pen-and-paper test with multiple-choice questions. But in 2023, it went digital for international students. This means it’ll be faster, around 2 hours.


SAT exam is for what purpose?

Simply put, it checks how good you are at different subjects and helps you get into college.


But remember that colleges have different preferences. Some like high SAT scores, others care about your activities. So, while the SAT is important, it’s not the only thing on the menu for college.


Benefits of the SAT exam

No doubt about it, the SAT is widely recognized for expanding students’ horizons when they step into college. But what exactly are the concrete advantages it brings?


Scoring big on the SAT exam can significantly enhance your likelihood of enjoying these perks:


Money for Scholarships

Achieving higher scores can result in rapid rewards, with the top 10% of test-takers frequently gaining access to scholarships worth approximately $20,000 annually, as mentioned by Oregon Live.


Increased Likelihood of Getting into Your Dream School

Impressive SAT scores broaden your choices as you navigate your academic path. They not only boost your chances of getting into your preferred school but also open additional options, including more affordable institutions.


Enhanced Study Skills and Confidence

Facing college exams can be a real pressure cooker for students, demanding rigorous preparation through study sessions and a transformation in habits. However, preparing for the SAT serves as a platform for students to acquire valuable life skills and refine their study techniques. This, in turn, contributes to an uplifted sense of confidence among individuals.


SAT exam subjects

The SAT might look like a brain puzzle, but take a breath. We’ve put together a mini preview of what the SAT exam syllabus looks like:


P.S. If you’re feeling extra daring, there’s also an Essay section for those who want to add a splash of writing flair!








You’ll have to answer 58 questions in 80 minutes. Some of the topics include:    

  • Algebra

  • Geometry

  • Statistics and Probability

  • Data Interpretation




This includes questions based on reading passages. Each passage consists of 11 questions with each section testing students’ ability to understand the text.

Some of the topics tested include:

  • Command of textual evidence

  • Contextual understanding of words

  • Analysis in History/Social Studies

  • Analysis in Science


This includes 11 different questions and you are expected to spot the errors. Students will also construct sentences, and show proper usage of words, and grammar

Some of the topics to be tested include: 

  • Expression of ideas

  • Standard English Conventions

  • Analysis in History/Social Studies

  • Analysis in Science


SAT exam dates

Because the SAT has different versions to thwart global cheaters, it’s important to remember that each country has its own set of SAT dates and registration cutoffs. Check out the table below, courtesy of The College Board, for the upcoming dates in your neck of the woods.


SAT Test Dates 2023 (US)

Test Date

Register by

Deadline for Registration

Score release date (Online)

3 June 2023

4 May 2023

24 May 2023

16 June 2023

26 August 2023

28 July 2023

15 August 2023

8 September 2023

7 October 2023

7 September 2023

26 September 2023

20 October 2023

4 November 2023

5 October 2023

24 October 2023

17 November 2023

2 December 2023

2 November 2023

21 November 2023

15 December 2023

SAT Test Dates 2023 (International)

Test Date

Deadline for Registration

Score release date (Online)

3 June 2023

19 May 2023

16 June 2023

26 August 2023

11 August 2023

8 September 2023

7 October 2023

22 September 2023

20 October 2023

4 November 2023

20 October 2023

17 November 2023

2 December 2023

7 November 2023

15 December 2023

SAT exam fees

Currently, the registration fee for the SAT stands at 60 USD. Yet, it’s important to note that international students have an additional regional fee of 43 USD. To give you a clearer picture, SAT exam fees in India cost about 104 USD (7700 INR), and for Filipino students, it’s 120 USD ( 6,565 PHP).


Keep in mind, that there might be other fees based on different situations. Take a look at the list below for a complete breakdown:








Change test centre


25 USD


For changing the test centre only (to change the test date, it must be cancelled, and one must register for a new test)


Cancel Fee


25 USD


For cancelling your registration by the change deadline. 
Free with fee waiver (upon cancellation, your unused fee waiver benefits will be returned)


Late Cancel Fee


35 USD


For cancelling registration after the changed deadline before the test day.


Late Registration


30 USD


For registering after the regular deadline but before the late registration deadline. 
Free with fee waiver.



Here the is breakdown for score-related services:







Additional score reports


14 USD


The first 4 score reports are free if you order them 9 days (tops) after the test date. 
Any additional reports or reports ordered after that time incur the fee.


Rush reports


31 USD


Additional score report fees apply.


Get scores by phone


15 USD per call


Available at the same time as online scores. You must pay by credit card at the time of the call.


Archived scores


31 USD

Additional score report fees apply.


SAT Question and Answer Service


16 USD


Fee waiver available


SAT Student Answer Service


16 USD

Free with fee waiver


Hand score verification


55 USD


Fee reduction available


SAT exam eligibility

The College Board keeps things simple – no fancy eligibility criteria for the SAT. As long as you’re an international student, aged 13 or above, just head to their website and get yourself signed up.


But wait… then why do we still hear about the SAT Exam age limit?

There is no SAT Exam age limit, but it tends to be a hot pick among high school dynamos, aged 16 to 19, who are revving up for their university voyage.


SAT exam sample paper

Whether you’re taking the SAT exam in India or anywhere else worldwide, the opportunities are wide open.


But before diving into the real deal, it’s a smart move to tackle some practice papers. This can give you a sneak peek at past SAT exam questions.


Check out various websites that offer practice SAT papers – it’s worth a peek.


College Board Official Website

Your SAT exam syllabus is covered –by The College Board, the mastermind behind the SAT. They also offer SAT practices on their website. This resource goldmine is a trusted go-to for students all over the globe. Take a peek at what they have to offer with sample questions.


Khan Academy

Khan Academy is joining forces with The College Board to serve up some seriously cool free SAT practice tools. Think practice papers that mimic the real SAT exam syllabus and personalized study plans that make you feel like a genius. Ready to rock? Dive into their amazing resources, like these samples: link to Khan Academy SAT practice.


SAT Prep Books

Here’s the scoop: loads of publishers whip up SAT prep books jam-packed with sample papers, guides, and practice tests. These books aren’t just pages – they’re treasure troves of clear explanations and smart strategies to supercharge your scores.


Keep an eye out for big shots like The Princeton Review, Barron’s, Kaplan, and the College Board’s official SAT study guide. Your SAT success story starts on these pages.


Which is the most accurate SAT practice?

What’s the simplest study route, you ask? Your golden ticket is probably the official tests – they’re like your secret weapon. Trust me, you won’t need to go beyond what the College Board dishes out. They’ve got over 20 released Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) tests up for grabs. And every single one was a real deal given to actual students. So, they’re all equally spot-on for practice.


SAT exam registration (2023)

Here’s the lowdown on how to register for the SAT exam and make it official.

  1. Head to the official College Board website at and set up your account.
  2. Now that you’ve conquered the College Board account creation, it’s time to dish out those personal details like a pro.
  3. Complete your student profile – share your school and academic info, flaunt your extracurricular adventures, and spill the beans on your college dreams like type, size, and majors.
  4. Choose your preferred test date and the test centre where you’ll rock the SAT.
  5. Upload your photo, then pay the SAT test fee.


As you can see, registering is a piece of cake. The real challenges? Nailing the memorization and acing those actual exams.


What is a good SAT score?

Your SAT score is a number between 400 and 1600.


It comes from adding two smaller scores together: one for Reading and Writing, and another for Math. Each of these smaller scores can go from 200 to 800.


The Reading and Writing scores are from two tests that count equally. The Math score is just from the Math Test.


How can you tell if your score is good?

Well, a good SAT score is the one that gets you into the college you want.


In 2019, most students got around 1050. Anything higher is really good and works for many colleges. If you reach 1350, you’re a top 10% star, making your college application extra strong for fancier schools.


Is the SAT exam tough?

Difficulty is all about perspective.


Considering the experiences of numerous students, tackling the SAT might feel like a maze due to time pressure and cunning question setups. It’s not about the content being “hard” regarding complex stuff, but rather, the test plays mind games. Questions are crafty puzzles, that test your cleverness. While content’s often 9th and 10th-grade stuff, question styles add unexpected flair – not your usual school fare.


But with enough practice, you will get the hang of things.


Before you go…

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.


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