Created in the 1920s, the SAT has been around for as long as most of us can remember and continues to be a significant benchmark used by America’s best colleges and universities to select each year’s incoming freshman class.The test’s familiar format has spawned a variety of SAT prep resources — from text and online references to tutorials and classroom courses.The most recent revision prior to 2005 occurred in 1994, when antonym questions were removed, longer reading passages were added, open-ended math questions were added, and calculators became permitted.
When the test was first implemented, most takers weren’t even expected to complete the full thing within the time limit, let alone score perfectly.
The original SAT from 1926 featured 315 questions with a time limit of 97 minutes, and the verbal and mathematics sections of the test had not yet been split up into discrete sections.
Students are presented with a thesis, which they may defend or reject, and are asked to complete the essay in 25 minutes.
Students are free to structure their writing in any style that best conveys their point (expository, compare and contrast, or other techniques).
Again, the change represents an attempt to keep the SAT in step with the modern high school curriculum, and to emphasize the skills most desired by top colleges and universities.
In 2009, the SAT policies changed, though these changes did not involve the test itself, so much as the rules surrounding the test.
Over the years, it’s undergone many changes, the most recent of which were established in 2005.
Knowing these changes can be important in understanding the point and purpose of the SAT as a test, and in understanding how best to prepare for it.
The modern-day SAT consists of two different sections, one focused on mathematics and computation, and one focused on evidence-based writing and reading.
Takers can score up to 1600 points on the overall test, with a total of 800 potential points per section. Because the essay is not as immediately quantifiable as the other elements, it is scored based on the complexity of the idea expressed, the thoroughness with which the ideas are supported and developed, and the writer’s facility with language.