The SAT, which was formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, is now called the SAT Reasoning Test. It is a requirement for admission to many colleges and universities. Originally, it was owned by the Educational Testing Service, who still administers the test. Now it is owned by the College Board. It was designed to test a person’s readiness for college.
The SAT Reasoning Test lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes. When you include filling in your personal information, oral instructions, and breaks, the actual time involved is around 4½ hours. There are three sections: math, critical reading, and writing. Each of these has a possible score of 800 points.
In the Writing section of the SAT, the student’s knowledge of grammar and proper sentence structure is tested by showing a sentence that may or may not have an error.
These are multiple choice questions and they constitute around 70 percent of this section.
The essay portion of the test lasts for 25 minutes. It tests your ability to think about a concept and develop a point of view. It also measures your ability to express that point of view using logical reasoning and examples from your life experiences or studies. Overall, it tests your ability to write in a clear and precise manner.
A prompt is given which describes a concept and asks you to write a short essay about it. It is usually philosophical in nature, as it is designed to test your writing ability, not your factual knowledge. Here is an example of an actual prompt that was formerly used on the writing portion of the SAT:
From early childhood, we are encouraged—pressured, even—to be in the company of others: we are urged to belong to this or that group, to join this or that club, to spend time with this or that friend. People do everything to avoid being by themselves, treating solitude as though it were the equivalent of loneliness. And yet it is only when people are by themselves that they can truly achieve their most important goals.
Assignment: Is solitude—spending time alone—necessary for people to achieve their most important goals? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
Sites with practice tests:
If you want to practice the essay with prompts, here are two sites that have prompts: