What Exactly Is The SAT Test ?

Have plans to study abroad? If so, then you must know that many universities in the United States and several other countries include SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) test scores as one of the entry requirements. But what does this test actually test, how much does it cost, and what is the structure of the SAT test like? Just read the following explanation from the Hotcourses Indonesia team.


The SAT test is a standardized exam created by the College Board, a US-based nonprofit. This test is generally taken by students who have completed 12 years of education and wish to enter higher education. The SAT has been recognized globally and has become a reference for various overseas universities when it comes to accepting new students.

Unlike the TOEFL and IELTS which test fluency in English, the SAT test tests your readiness to take undergraduate courses abroad. A good SAT score can also be a plus if you want to get a scholarship.


As mentioned above, you must take this test if you want to apply to a university in the United States for an undergraduate degree. Many universities in other countries also accept SAT test scores, but these are not mandatory. These countries include the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia.


Prior to 2021, the SAT test is divided into 2 types:

• SAT Reasoning Test: A test that aims to test students’ abilities in reading, writing and mathematics.

• SAT Subject Test: A test that aims to test students’ skills in certain fields of study.

However, in 2021, the College Board decided to discontinue the SAT Subject Test. This termination was made as part of an effort to reduce and simplify the academic demands placed on students.

Want to know what things are tested in the SAT Reasoning Test? Take a peek at the leak below.


The SAT test is divided into 3 sections: Reading, Writing & Language, and Math Test. Some of the types of questions you will encounter on the SAT are:

  • Multiple choice
  • Write/fill in the answers

In previous years, the SAT also had an optional SAT Essay component. However, starting in 2021, the SAT Essay has been abolished. This is because the College Board understands that there are other recognized pathways to measure students’ writing skills.

Let’s explore the parts of the SAT test again.

1. Reading

Number of Questions: 52 (multiple choice)

Duration: 65 minutes

This section focuses on the skills and knowledge you’ve learned in high school, especially those you’ll need to successfully attend an undergraduate study abroad. In this section, you will be asked to answer questions based on information from the reading text and also tables or graphs. The ability to understand the reading is very important to be able to pass with a satisfactory score in this section.

2. Writing & Language:

Number of Questions: 44 (multiple choice)

Duration: 35 minutes

Just like the Reading section, you will be given various reading texts and graphics. But in this section, you only need to read the questions, find errors in the text provided, and then correct them.

3. Math Test (Mathematics Exam)

This test is divided into 2 parts.

• Parts of questions that can use a calculator: 38 questions, 55 minutes duration

• Parts that are not allowed to use a calculator: 20 questions, 25 minutes duration

The questions in this section are a combination of multiple choice and complete/fill in the blanks.

The calculator section has more complicated questions, so using a calculator will help you calculate faster. In the section that is not allowed to use a calculator, you will be given a list of mathematical formulas that may be used. So you don’t need to memorize all the math formulas. You just need to know which formula to use to solve each problem.

Math Test is designed to reflect the mathematical calculations you will use while studying abroad, at work and in everyday life.

SAT Rating

The Math Test section will be self-assessed, while the Reading and Writing & Language sections will be combined. The score range of each section is 200 – 800. So the total SAT score you will get ranges from 400 to 1600.

Before starting to prepare for the SAT test, make sure you have read the entry requirements of the university you are interested in and already know the minimum SAT score they are asking for. If the SAT test results have not reached the target you want, you can take this test again.

Keep in mind that the SAT test is not a substitute for language tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS. You still need to take an English language test as part of the requirements to enter college in the United States.

When to Start Preparing to Follow ti SAT?

This of course depends on your own abilities. But in general, you should start getting ready from class X (1 high school). Take a look at the sample SAT questions to consider whether you need to take an SAT test preparation course or can study on your own.

SAT Test Fees, Schedule & Locations

There are about 20 SAT exam locations in Chicago. However, not all locations provide scheduled SAT exams 7 times a year. Information about the location and schedule of the SAT exam can be found on the official SAT Tutoring Chicago website. Don’t forget to check the registration deadlines.

Details of the funds you need to prepare to pay for the SAT test fee are available at this link. Before registering, make sure you understand the latest policies regarding the administration of the SAT exam in connection with COVID-19.

Still need additional information about studying abroad? You can read the various guides we have compiled regarding the tests you need to take to study abroad.

Still have questions about studying abroad? Just register for a FREE consultation with an IDP counselor who has tons of information to help you study abroad!