The Most Frequently Asked Questions About The SAT
These are the most frequently asked questions about the SAT and SAT Subject Tests that we have been asked by students and parents. Note, we have not answered questions related to registration, cost, and administration because the answers to these can be easily obtained from the College Board website.
1. How many questions can you get wrong on SAT Physics or Math Level 2 and still score an 800?
According to the only official paper released by College Board you can
- get a raw score of 43/50 on Math 2C and still score a 800
- get a raw score of 66/75 on Physics and still score a 800.
Keep in mind here that these are raw scores which means that the negative marks are deducted from this so the real number of questions will not be same. So you can get 5 questions only to get a 800 on Maths and 8 questions wrong to get a 800 on Physics. (This is assuming that you attempt all the questions)
2. I changed my subject test on test day. Will the College Board score all the tests I worked on?
This happens often to students. Don’t worry, you will be fine. Here is the exact quote from College Board’s website on this issue:
Changing Subject Tests on Test Day
In general, you can take a different test from the one you signed up for — the test booklet contains all Subject Tests available that day, so just take the ones you want. But you can’t switch to a Language with Listening Test that you’re not registered for, because they require special equipment.
If you decide to take fewer tests than you signed up for, just turn in your answer sheet before the next test begins. Remember, though, that once you start answering a test, you can’t decide not to take it — you’ll have to cancel all tests taken that day to avoid having it scored.
You can also add a test on test day, if it’s being given on that day — but you can’t add a Language with Listening Test. You’ll be billed for the tests you add.
3. Which are some of the best online places to study for the SAT?
Khan Academy is a great place to start. You can visit our blog for the breakdown of the SAT math section, free SAT math practice tests, advice, tips, and more. We even have free downloadable notes in the notes section of our site that reviews specific concepts such as systems of linear equations, quadratic functions, etc.
4. What is a good SAT score?
On the New SAT: A score of 1000 is the national average
The standard deviation is most likely around 100 points. So, 2 standard deviations would put you at a score of 1200 and around 75th percentile. So, if you can manage a score of 1200+, then you will be competitive for many colleges.
Of course, the more competitive colleges will require even higher scores. Check the colleges you are interested in for competitive score ranges.
5. What math concepts are most important for the SAT?
We analyzed every test and question released by College Board for the new SAT and broke down the entire SAT Math section on our blog post a while ago:
Rock The SAT Math Test: The Most Commonly Tested Concepts
It is a long and detailed post. But, I will post the results of our analysis here for you and anyone else who may be interested:
- Just 6 Heart of Algebra concepts account for 32% of all tested concepts.
- Just 4 Problem Solving and Data Analysis concepts make up 25% of all tested concepts.
- Just 7 Passport to Advanced Math concepts make up 28% of all tested concepts.
- So, 18 concepts make up 88% of all tested concepts. This is equal to about 51 questions out of 58.
- 17 of these concepts make up 85% of all tested concepts. This is equal to about 49 questions out of 58.
- The 11 most common concepts make up 68% of all tested concepts. This is equal to about 40 questions out of 58.
6. Do universities prefer SAT over ACT?
No, they are accepted equally.
7. Are the practice full-length SAT’s on Khan Academy like the real SAT in difficulty?
Yes, they are similar to the real thing.
8. Can I cancel my test scores?
Yes, you can cancel them right after you complete the test. Ask the proctor for a form to cancel your scores and fill it out. College Board must receive your cancel request before the Wednesday after the test day.
9. What is Score Choice?
Score choice is a College Board feature that allows you to choose which SAT and SAT Subject Test scores you would like to send to universities and colleges. This service is provided at no additional cost. Universities and colleges have different score choice practices, so make sure you check with the institutions you are applying to. Some schools require only the single highest test date score, some schools state that they combine the highest scores from different sections across test dates, and some schools require you to send all of your scores.
10. How many times can I take the SAT?
You can take the SAT and SAT Subject tests as many times as you want. Colleges will only see the scores you want to send them! However, almost no student ever feels the need to attempt it more than three times.
11. When should I start studying for the SAT?
You can start studying for the SAT by the time you are half-way through Grade 10. The reason for this is that you will start to learn the algebra and math that is covered on the SAT. You can attempt the SAT in the summer as a first ‘run-through’ to get an idea of how it is.
12. What level of math is tested on the SAT?
The majority of the math on the SAT is at the grade 10 and 11 level. Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry are the main topics. There will be very few questions that will require grade 12 math knowledge.