The SAT (// ess-ay-TEE) 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, non-profit organization 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 was originally designed not to be aligned with high school curricula, but several adjustments were made for the version of the SAT introduced in 2016, and College Board president, David Coleman, has said that he also wanted to make the test reflect more closely what students learned in high school.
On March 5, 2014, the College Board announced that a redesigned version of the SAT would be administered for the first time in 2016. The current SAT, introduced in 2016, takes three hours to finish, plus 50 minutes for the SAT with essay, and as of 2017 costs US$45 (US$57 with the optional essay), excluding late fees, with additional processing fees if the SAT is taken outside the United States. Scores on the SAT range from 400 to 1600, combining test results from two 800-point sections: mathematics, and critical reading and writing. Taking the SAT, or its competitor, the ACT, is required for freshman entry to many, but not all, colleges and universities in the United States. However, many colleges and universities are starting to experiment with test-optional admission requirements, and potential alternatives to the SAT and ACT. Starting with the 2015–16 school year, the College Board also announced it would team up with Khan Academy, a free, online education site to provide SAT prep free of charge.
he ACT (/
The ACT originally consisted of four tests: English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Natural Sciences. In 1989 however, the Social Studies test was changed into a Reading section (which included a social sciences subsection) and the Natural Sciences test was renamed the Science Reasoning test, with more emphasis on problem-solving skills as opposed to memorizing scientific facts. In February 2005, an optional Writing test was added to the ACT, mirroring changes to the SAT that took place in March of the same year. In 2013, ACT announced that students would be able to take the ACT by computer starting in the spring of 2015; however, by the fall of 2017, computer-based ACT tests were available only for school-day testing at limited school districts in the US, with greater availability not expected until at least the fall of 2018.
The ACT has seen a gradual increase in the number of test takers since its inception, and in 2011 the ACT surpassed the SAT for the first time in total test takers; that year, 1,666,017 students took the ACT and 1,664,479 students took the SAT. All four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. accept the ACT, but different institutions place different emphases on standardized tests such as the ACT, compared to other factors including class rank, GPA, and extracurricular activities.
The main four sections are individually scored on a scale of 1–36, and a composite score (the rounded whole number average of the four sections) is provided.