• About the SAT
  • Test Dates
  • SAT vs ACT
  • FAQs
What is the SAT?

The SAT is a university admission test that is recognized globally. It measures your reading, writing and math abilities. Your SAT score helps determine which American universities you can attend in the US and internationally.

The SAT is 3 hours long (or 3 hours and 50 minutes with the optional essay) and is divided into the following sections:

  • Score is based out of 1600 points - 800 for Math; 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Optional essay will receive a separate score
  • Subscores and insight scores available.
  • No wrong answer penalty
  • 1 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test; 65-minute Reading section, 35-minute Language and Writing section
  • 1 Math test; 55-minute section with calculator, 25-minute section without calculator
  • 4 answer choices for multiple choice questions
  • 1 essay test (optional but most universities will require it; 50 minutes in length)
  • 3 hours; 3 hours 50 minutes with optional essay
  • $46 USD + Non U.S Regional Fee (without essay) / $60 USD + Non U.S Regional Fee (with optional essay)
  • Available digitally and in print
  • Questions focus on in-depth analysis of content
  • Students have 50 minutes to analyze a 650-750 word document and draft an essay
  • Tests reading, analysis and writing skills; requires students to analyze a source document and explain how the author builds an arguement
  • Optional, however most universities will require the essay. Please check with the university you want to attend.
  • Concentrated focus on problem-solving and data analysis, "The Heart of Algebra,” “Passport to Advanced Math"
  • Real-world problem-solving accompanied by informational graphics
  • Calculator permitted for 37 questions, not permitted for 20 questions
  • Multiple choice and grid-in questions, 1 enhanced grid-in question
Reading and Writing
  • Reading and Writing combined into "Evidence-Based Reading and Writing"
  • Reading section does not contain Sentence Completions
  • Tests understanding on passages from U.S. and World Literature, History/Social Studies, and Sciences (500-850 words)
  • Writing and language: tests "Expression of Ideas" and "Standard English Conventions" through passages relating to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities and Science
  • Questions pull from extended prose (400-450 words)


How can I register for the SAT?

Register online at www.collegeboard.com or by calling +1-866-756-7346. (The registration form on the College Board site can be confusing for non-US residents. The Fulbright Commission has a step-by-step guide to registering for the SAT here)

How much does it cost to take the SAT?

$46.00 USD without essay/$60.00 USD with essay (+ Non U.S Regional Fee)

SAT 2018 - 2019 Deadlines for International Registration

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Late Registration Deadline

6 October, 2018

22 August, 2018

7 September, 2018

1 December, 2018

17 October, 2018

2 November, 2018

9 March, 2019

23 January, 2019

8 February, 2019

4 May, 2019

20 March, 2019

5 April, 2019


First, you will need to decide whether to take the SAT or ACT

Most American universities don't have a preference for which exam you take - however you should check with the university itself for clarity. Below is a comparison of both the tests:





Test Length

3 hours, 25 minutes

3 hours, 50 minutes (including optional 50-minute essay)

Test Sections

5 sections

3 sections

Science Content

Tests science reasoning (analysis, interpretation, problem solving)

Science not included

Math Content

25% of the overall score; entirely multiple choice

33% of overall score; trigonometry and fill-in questions


Last section - optional

Last section - optional


3 scores of 1-36 per subject area
Writing score: 2-12

2 scores of 200-800 per section
Total: 1600  


No penalty for wrong answers

No penalty for wrong answers

Score History

Students decide which score is sent

A student's entire score history is sent (depending on university requirements).

Test Fee

$46.00 (No Writing) + $47.50 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
$62.50 (Plus Writing) + $47.50 Non-U.S. Regional Fee

$43.00 + $40.00 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
$60.00 (With Essay) + $40.00 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
Register for the test (Please note students must register themselves for the test)




Can't decide which test to take? Enroll on both of our Live Online Practice Tests & Score Review!

ACT Online Practice Test & Score Review

SAT Online Practice Test & Score Review


When should you take the exam?

We suggest students in the UK sit the SAT in the autumn/winter of Year 12 and outside the UK in the spring of junior year. This allows time to re-sit the tests if needed.

Can you take the exam multiple times?

Yes. At least half of all students take the SAT twice to try to improve their score the second time around.

How does the scoring work?

The SAT score is based out of 1600 points - 800 points for the Math section and 800 points for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The optional essay will receive a separate score.

How do you register for the exam?

You can register at collegeboard.org

How much does it cost to take the exam?

$46 without essay or $60 with essay + Non-U.S Regional Fee.

Where can students take the exam?

The SAT can be taken in countries all over the world. To find your local SAT test center, please visit the college board site.

Does the SAT have an essay section?

Yes. College Board will no longer require the essay section however many school districts and colleges will require students to complete the essay. Please check first with the universities you will be applying to.

Will wrong answers lower SAT scores?

No, students will simply get points for the questions they answer correctly. Rights-only scoring encourages students to give the best answer they have to every problem.

Do you have to take the SAT Subject Tests

Ivies and other top universities usually request SAT Subject Tests as part of the application process. When in doubt, call the university in question and speak to someone in the admissions department. Please note that even if you are taking the ACT you'll still likely be required to complete SAT Subject Tests.

You may sit either the Reasoning Test or up to three Subject Tests on one testing date. Therefore, students applying for the most competitive US universities will need to plan for two SAT testing dates to complete the Reasoning Test and Subject Tests in time.

Do I really need test prep?

ABSOLUTELY! Especially if you have not been taught in the US or don't have the same experience of taking standardized tests as US educated students. The good news is that at Kaplan we're especially gifted at helping international students prepare for these exams. 

Test scores are one of the top three factors to getting into an American university, and often a key different between a rejection or acceptance letter. 

How long do I need for test prep?

First, decide which standardized tests you are taking and when. Allow a minimum of three months prep time prior to the test date. Do not wait until the last minute. No one ever wished they'd started later. Begin customizing a plan that works best for your schedule, lifestyle and study habits.