The concept for the SATs comes from an army IQ test that was given to soldiers in World War I. The exam was then modified for a test group of college applicants and by 1948 was becoming the standard for all college admissions. The landscape has changed somewhat today with the introduction of ACT, a standards based college preparedness exam, and the decision by some colleges to make standardized test scores optional. Still, up to 70% of colleges require SAT scores and the test remains an effective tool for assessing your capabilities and focusing on your strengths regardless of your school’s requirements. In other words, taking the SAT can’t hurt.
Every student that takes the SAT starts off with a score of 2400. Points are then deducted for each wrong or skipped answer. Each of the three sections on the SAT is scored within a range of 200-800. One point is awarded for each correct answer, one quarter of a point is subtracted for each wrong multiple-choice answer, and zero points are given for a skipped question or a wrong non-multiple choice answer. The essay is scored on a one to six point system. The total raw score is converted to a scaled score that is a multiple of 10 between 200 and 800.
Before deciding on schools to apply to you have the advantage of seeing what the each institution’s policy is on standardized testing and what score you need in order to be considered for admission. There are several websites that provide a detailed list of what scores colleges are looking for overall and according to section. This can give you a heads up on what area to concentrate your SAT prep work and what goal you need to achieve.