All you need to know about the SAT 2021 Exam... and More! | The Ultimate SAT Guide 2021 - Filo Blog
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So, you want to be a genius and get into the best colleges in the country. You’re not alone; there are plenty of others out there who share your aspirations! However, as we all know, SATs can be tricky and often lead us to feel like we’re never going to make it because everything is so hard. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this blog post that will tell you absolutely everything about the new SAT 2021 exam coming up soon. So sit back and enjoy reading our helpful guide on what’s new and how to prepare for it!

Each year, students around the world take a standardized test called the SAT. The SAT 2021 Exam is going to be a little different than previous versions of the exam, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips for you on what to expect! What do you need to know about this upcoming version of the SAT? Find out in our Filo – SAT blog post as we break down everything from how many sections there are and time limits per section to scoring information and essay prompts. We’ll also share with you some great apps that can help with studying, along with other resources that will make your journey easier!

What is SAT?

The SAT exam is a standardized test that is used in the USA and other countries to test a student’s potential for college readiness. The SAT is owned, published and developed by the College Board. The College Board is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1900 with the main goal of increasing access to higher education. This year, the SAT is offered seven times in the year; six times during the school year, and once during the summer.  It is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors.

You might want to read our guide on how to score above 1200 in the SAT exam here: How To Prepare for SAT Exam?

College Board scraps SAT optional essay and subject tests
Image: Study International

When is the SAT given?

The six times during the academic year (in August, September/October, October/November, December, March and May) are called SAT Subject Tests. The only summer test date is for those students who have been granted special permission from the College Board to take a Subject Test in July due to being unable to attend any of the other dates. Typically this would be granted if a student were going abroad as part of an international exchange program or studying abroad as part of their studies at college or university.

SAT 2021 Dates: 

SAT DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration DeadlineDeadline for Changes
August 28, 2021July 30, 2021August 17, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone)August 17, 2021
October 2, 2021September 3, 2021September 21, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone)September 21, 2021
November 6, 2021October 8, 2021October 26, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone)October 26, 2021
December 4, 2021November 4, 2021November 23, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone)November 23, 2021
March 12, 2022February 11, 2022March 1, 2022 (for registrations made online or by phone)March 1, 2022
May 7, 2022April 8, 2022April 26, 2022 (for registrations made online or by phone)April 26, 2022
June 4, 2022May 5, 2022May 25, 2022 (for registrations made online or by phone)May 25, 2022

What’s new on the 2021 SAT exam?  

The College Board has released a statement saying that going forward will be no penalty for incorrect answers.  There is no longer any penalty for guessing, so it doesn’t matter if you answer guess or not on the multiple-choice section of the test.

ACT vs. redesigned SAT: is there a preference among students? – Redwood Bark
Image: Redwood Bark

So the new updates for the 2021 SAT exam are:

  • Negative Marking is removed.
  • The new regular SAT test lasts for 3 hours. The SAT exam with Essay lasts for 3 hrs. and 50 minutes.
  • The numbers of answer choices have been reduced to 4 as opposed to 5 in the 2016 SAT model.
  • The components of the New SAT include Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math, and Essay (optional).
  • The goals of the new SAT include:- Make it a fair test that doesn’t advantage or disadvantage a student based on their race, gender, language background, or socioeconomic status. It would also “help level the playing field” when it comes to applying to college.

What colleges accept SAT Scores?   

SAT scores are accepted by top universities/Ivy league colleges like  Harvard, Princeton, Yale and many more. It is seen as a benchmark for success and acceptance into top universities in the USA and around the world.

SAT scores are required by colleges to determine college readiness levels of students applying to their institution. Depending on the score that a student achieves would depend on which courses at university they would be able to enrol into and graduate from.

In the USA, there are more than 3000 colleges that accept SAT scores for admissions into their institution. In India, there are more than 400 colleges that accept SAT scores for admission into their institution.

What is a good SAT score?

A good SAT score is usually accepted as one which would place you in the top 50% of students who took the same SAT test. Your ACT score will also be taken into consideration by colleges when you apply. A generally accepted good score is around or above 1200 which places you in the top 25% of candidates! Strive for at least 600 in Maths!

Higher scores are desirable when applying for competitive colleges and universities, but no score is perfect! Sometimes students will not be accepted into a program if their SAT score is too low, even with good grades. So it’s good to aim high! However, there are no set rules on what constitutes a “good” or “bad” score for college admissions. It is very much dependent on individual factors, including how well you have done throughout your school years up until that point, your choice of college major and/or university, etc., so it’s important to take into consideration any other information colleges might consider alongside SAT scores. For example, an Ivy League college may look more favourably upon applicants with lower test scores if they have won numerous awards in their respective fields or prominent positions within their schools.

Your Guide to a Good SAT Score for 2021 (And 6 Steps to Get One)
Image: PrepHaven

What are the differences between SAT and ACT exams in 2021? 

As the two major college entrance exams in the US, the SAT and ACT are often compared. The first thing to note is that, while the two share similarities, the content of these tests varies substantially. An important distinction between the two exams is that the SAT 1 test focuses on reasoning skills whereas the ACT test measures achievement thorough knowledge of college entry-level subjects. Another key difference between SAT and ACT is how you’re evaluated. In the SAT, students are penalized for incorrect answers, as opposed to the ACT where a 25% question is simply considered incorrect.

What is included in both SAT and ACT exams in 2021?

In both tests, there will be questions that test your aptitude and skills in Maths (for example geometry), Grammar (vocabulary), General Sciences (US history) and Humanities (English) English Language Composition/ Verbal Question Section . There may also be some passages or texts that need to be read carefully before an understanding of what you’re being asked can be reached.  Grammatical structures will also appear throughout the exam!  It’s key here to make sure you understand words fully, their meaning and how they relate to sentences.

Can I take both SAT and ACT in 2021?

While it’s possible to take both exams, most students just take one or the other – not to mention there are logistics involved in registering for both (time, money etc.). If you do decide to retake an exam because you wish to improve your score, it’s crucial to plan carefully so as not to lose time/money – and possibly hurt your chances for admission at your target colleges. The best way to maximize your chance of success is to plan strategically, taking into consideration the following: Your schedule and score!

Comparing SAT and ACT Scores—Official New Concordance - Compass Education  Group
Image: Compass Education Group

Is the SAT 2021 Exam going to be harder than previous exams conducted?  

The College Board has announced that they will be changing many things about the test in this new version, including making it harder. This could make taking the test a lot more difficult, as well as harder for those who want to achieve a high score. However, this should be an exciting change, which will hopefully lead to better results for the test takers.

The best way to tackle hard exams is constant revision. We have penned down a step by step guide to extensively revise your study material here: 20 tips that can help you revise 15 hours of study material in 1 hour!

What is the Eligibility Criteria for SAT 2021?

Since the SAT is a national test, students all across the country can take it.  The only eligibility requirement for students to take the exam and get results is that they are in high school or have graduated from high school. Some students may want to take the test even though they are younger than the usual 17 years old because of the advanced classes they are taking in high school.

Taking an extra local exam:

Some states allow students to take an extra state-level entrance exam before taking either the ACT or SAT if desired. However, this does not replace one of the major exams but rather supplements it. The benefit of having taken both exams is that you can compare your results to see which went better for you, allowing you to decide whether to send the ACT or SAT score. This is a good way for students to see where they stand on entrance exams and therefore whether they may need to study more in order to perform better on one of them.

Getting a good SAT score isn’t easy, but there are some ways you can make yourself better prepared for test day. Make sure that you get plenty of sleep before taking the exam so your brain will be fresh enough to allow it to compute questions quickly and accurately. During this time period, get rid of distractions around you such as video games or anything else that could potentially take up some of your time during the exam without being beneficial or helpful in any way. You should study hard for this test and try to get a strong understanding.

What are the different Types of SAT Exams?

The College Board offers two types of SAT exams.  The first one is the standard SAT, which lasts about three hours and fifty minutes and includes Math, Reading and Writing sections as well as an optional Essay. You receive a total score between 400 to 1600 for this exam. This is the basic version of the test and most students will take it during their high school years.

The second type of exam offered by the College Board is called the SAT with Essay (also known as the redesigned or new SAT). This exam lasts about three hours and fifteen minutes and consists of Math, Reading, Writing and an optional essay section that can be used to try out for scholarships or other opportunities. Your final score on this exam is again between 400 and 1600.

What is the Duration of SAT test?

The SAT lasts for three hours and fifty minutes, while the ACT is four hours long. However, many students find that time flies when they take the ACT because there are not as many difficult questions in comparison to the SAT.

What is the exam pattern for SAT 2021?

The SAT has a total of 215 questions, broken down into three sections: Math (58 questions), Critical Reading (52 questions) and Writing and Language (44 questions). The test begins with the optional essay section, which is not scored but does take up about 30 minutes. Next is the mandatory ten-minute break and then you begin with the first integrated math section!  This means that within this section, you will review an equation and solve two to three-word problems as well as answer one or two grid-in short answer questions. This portion of the exam lasts about fifty-five minutes. After the math section, you will have another ten-minute break (yes, it’s actually kind of nice!) and then move on to the second integrated math section. This time around, you’ll be working with equations as well as solving word problems similar to how they are presented in the first section. You also might encounter two grid-in short answer questions within this section. Once again, there is a ten-minute break after this portion of the exam before continuing on with the Critical Reading portion which has about forty minutes worth of questions!

SAT Exam Pattern 2021: 

SectionQuestionsDurationScore Range
SAT Reading52 multiple-choice questions65 minutesEvidence-based Reading & Writing score200 to 800
Break10 minutes
SAT Writing & Language44 multiple-choice questions35 minutes
No Calculator – Math20 (15 multiple-choice and 5 Grid in questions)25 minutesMath score200 to 800
Break5 minutes
Calculator Allowed– Math38 (30 multiple-choice and 8 Grid in questions)55 minutes
Break2 minutes
SAT Essay (Optional)1 prompt50 minutesReading 2 to 8Analysis 2 to 8Writing 2 to 8

Writing and Language are next up where you will find three different types of passages along with sentence correction questions that fall into either grammar or vocabulary categories. The final part of this test is called “Reading 2” and here you will see passages that are longer than the reading passages in the Critical Reading section. Again, you’ll need to answer questions under various categories such as main point, facts and details, inferences or vocabulary/meaning of words used within these passages. You’ll have about thirty minutes for this portion of the exam before the mandatory ten-minute break. The final two sections include Writing (75 minutes) and an optional Essay which is graded but not included in your overall score – it’s sent out to colleges along with your transcript or application.

The ACT test, on the other hand, includes Math, Science Reasoning, English and Reading sections which are each about forty-five minutes long. The final part of the exam is Writing which is just slightly longer than thirty minutes in length. There are also two shorter breaks included in this test!

What are the Sections in SAT 2021?

There are four main sections on this test: Reading, Writing and Language, Math and Essay. When you have finished the Math IIC section, you will have a ten-minute break before moving on to Writing and Language.  In this portion of the exam, you will answer about twenty to twenty-five questions in a total of fifty minutes.

There are three main sections on the SAT with Essay: reading, writing and language and math which is divided into 2 parts i.e., Part 1 has 25 multiple choice questions while Part 2 has 16 grid in type math problems. The time duration for all four sections combined is around 3 hours 50 minutes (3 hours without the essay section).

1. Essay(Optional): The essay will be either in the form of a standard written response question or in a performance task, both types asking you to write about an argument or claim. You’ll have 50 minutes for this section

2. Writing and Language: In this portion of the exam, you’ll answer questions based on one passage that has been provided to you along with ten sentences that contain errors in grammar, usage or diction. There are no right or wrong answers here but rather your job is to simply sharpen your vocabulary skills so that you can spot errors within these sentences! You will have fifty minutes for this section as well.

3. Reading: You’ll be given one passage to read in this section and then asked questions about the main idea as well as various details from within that reading. In total, there are forty-five minutes for this section of the exam with eight passages being presented to you during this time frame! There will also be four grid-in type questions that you answer within a twenty-minute period.

4. Math:  The math section has 58 questions in SAT  2021 and is divided into two parts. The first part is the No-Calculator-allowed segment of 20 questions(15 multiple-choice and 5 Grid in questions) and followed by a break, the second part is the Calculator-allowed – 38 questions (30 multiple-choice and 8 Grid in questions).

As you can see, the SAT 2021 is slightly more difficult than its current version while the ACT remains pretty much the same. Most students feel that this new exam seems similar to the actual tests they are taking in high school, including the ACT.

Why is SAT 2021 getting harder?

Remember that this test was originally created to be more rigorous than the earlier version of the exam and since students are expected to take it when they are in their junior year, this means that they should have had enough time to get used to these types of questions while preparing for and taking the PSAT and/or PSAT 10.

people sitting on chair with brown wooden table
Image: Unsplash

Once students begin to prepare for the SAT 2021, they should be able to get used to this new exam since it does build upon earlier concepts that were seen on exams like the PSAT and other similar tests which give you a good idea of what is coming later on!

What is the fees for SAT Exam ?

The detailed fee structure is as follows for SAT 2021: Test Fees

TestFee
SAT$55 Fee waiver available

Additional Fees for SAT

ItemMore InformationFee
Change registrationFor changing your test centre.$25
Cancel registrationFor cancelling your registration by the change deadline.$25
Late cancel registrationFor cancelling your registration after the change deadline through test day.$35
Late registrationFor registering after the regular deadline but before the late registration deadline.$30
Waitlist feeCharged only if you’re admitted to the test centre on test day. Waitlist registration is not available for 2021.$53

Score Services and Fees

ServiceMore InformationFee
Registration score reportsFour registration score reports are available up to nine days after the test date.$0
Additional score report requestAdditional score reports (outside of the above four), or score reports ordered outside of the above time period are subject to this fee per report.$12
Fee waiver available
Rush orderIf you request rush service, your score reports will typically be sent to colleges within one to two business days (not counting holidays and weekends). Additional score report fees (as described above) still apply on rush orders.$31
Scores by phoneScores by phone are released according to the same schedule as online scores. This service does not send scores to colleges any earlier.To get your score by phone, call Customer Service. You’ll need your test registration number (printed on your admission ticket), your birth date, a credit card number, and the card’s expiration date.$15(per call)
Archived (older) scores orderIf you want your old test scores, you should request archived scores. You can request them by phone or mail. The standard fee for additional score report requests applies to each score report you’d like to include with your order.$31
Question-and-Answer Service*This service provides the test questions from the specified test you took, the correct answers, scoring instructions, and a form you can use to order a copy of your answer sheet. The QAS service is not available for every SAT administration.$16
Fee waiver available
Student Answer Service*This service provides a list of question types from the specified test you took; whether you answered the question correctly or incorrectly or omitted the answer; and the level of difficulty.$16
Fee waiver available
Multiple-choice hand score verificationWhen hand scoring of a multiple-choice score is requested, your entire answer sheet will be manually reviewed—you can’t request verification of scores for a single section on the SAT. If you order hand score verification, you will no longer see the full online score report, and you won’t have access to the Student Answer Service or Question-and-Answer Service for your hand scored answer sheet.$55
Fee reduction available
*These are refundable only if your order has not yet been fulfilled or if you missed your test date (for example, if you cancelled your test, were absent, or had to take a makeup test).

How to find SAT Sample Questions?

You’ll find multiple free samples for this exam on the College Board’s official website at sat.collegeboard.org but also be advised that full-length test versions are not available here to take! Instead, you might have to pay for the online practice tests in order to get access to them which isn’t all that bad of an idea if you really want to get ready for your upcoming test date!  Download the Filo app to find experts that solve all your doubts about the SAT exam!

Where can I find SAT Practice Tests?

There are plenty of free SAT practise tests including some outside sources such as Khan Academy which has been recognized by the College Board for being great at preparing students for this particular exam. This is one resource I would certainly recommend since it has helped students in the past and will continue to do so by preparing them for this rigorous exam that is the SAT. Also, you can access free SAT tests on the Filo app and get expert mentorship available 24×7 for the same by downloading the app from the link here!

How to check my SAT 2021 score?

Visit the following URL to check your SAT 2021 score: https://studentscores.collegeboard.org/home

man wearing headphones while sitting on chair in front of MacBook

How can I register for SAT 2021?

SAT 2021 Registration process involves 4 steps. Please follow these steps:

  1. Visit the college board official website The SAT | College Board
  2. Create your valid account by submitting all your necessary details
  3. Choose your exam center.
  4. Upload the required documents and pay the application fee

An accommodation facility is allowed for physically challenged students and a 50% increment in time along with normal test time. Students received their score reports online approximately 2-3 weeks after the test.

How can i choose my SAT 2021 Test Center?

Your SAT exam test centre location will be determined by the College Board. You must, therefore, ensure that your contact information is correct and up-to-date on their databases i.e., https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-for-students.

Reserve a test centre well in advance to avoid any inconvenience closer to the date of your actual SAT exam. Check available test centres here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/find-test-centers

Also, inform the relevant officials about any situations that might prevent you from taking your test such as illness or family emergency so they can take appropriate measures beforehand and keep you notified!

What is the syllabus for the SAT  exam?

The general topics on the SAT 1 exam for 2021 include:

Language and Composition

1. Grammar (20%)

2. Rhetoric (15%)

3. Sentence structure (5%)

4. Language choices (10%)

5. Usage and style (25%)

6. Conventions (10%)

Mathematics

According to College Board, this section of the exam will cover “a quick recall of arithmetic and an introduction to algebra – topics that range from fractions and decimals to factoring a trinomial. Students should learn the mathematical language for describing relationships, properties, and functions.” 

The topics include:

1. Number and Quantity (25%)

2. Properties of integer (10%)

3. Algebraic expressions (15%)

4. Equations and inequalities (20%)

5. Functions (20%)

6. Statistics and probability (10%).

Critical Reading

Critical reading is divided into:

1. Reading skills and strategies (20%)

2. Content understanding (30%)

3. Integration of knowledge and ideas (30%)

4. Critical analysis and reasoning (20%).

For SAT 2021, College Board says “Expect to see more than a dozen passages in multiple subjects including history, literature, and science. You’ll need to know strategies to approach unfamiliar texts quickly, determining what is important and relevant; pull out the main ideas; make connections between multiple texts; understand how others have approached similar questions; analyze what you read for meaning, evidence, tone, organization, structure, language choice (diction), parallelism, rhetorical devices, and word choice; and draw relevant, sometimes unexpected, conclusions.”

How many times can I retake the SAT exam?

The College Board allows test retakers to take the exam up to 3 times within a 12-month period. Taking it more than three times will not give you better results, and in fact, it might seem like a futile exercise since most colleges will require applicants to submit their best scores anyway.

How can I contact Collegeboard for SAT queries?

You can register directly at sat.collegeboard.org or contact College Board via email at registration@collegeboard.org if you have any queries about registering yourself for this particular exam. The email address for this purpose is available from 9 am till 5 pm, Monday through Friday (EST). Students who live outside the US may call 1-212-713-7789 between 8 am and 6 pm EST for assistance regarding SAT registration.

Why not use the Filo app to get 24×7 access to expert tutors and solve all your doubts? The SAT 2021 exam is a major milestone in every student’s life, so it’s important for you to understand everything about its upcoming changes.

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