If you’re thinking of applying to college, it’s vital that you know what the SAT is and how it will affect your application process.
So what is the SAT? It’s one of two standardized college admissions tests in the US. (The other is the ACT.) It's run by the College Board, a non-profit that also administers the PSAT and the AP (Advanced Placement) program.
The SAT was originally adapted from and Army IQ test and administered as a college admissions test for the first time in 1926. However, it didn't really catch on until 1933, when the president of Harvard started using the test to assess scholarship applicants because he believed it was an effective measurement of intellectual potential. This view of the SAT helped propel it's popularity—by the 1940s, it had become the standard test for all college applicants and was administered to over 300,000 people across the country.
The SAT's dominance of college admissions testing was challenged with the creation of the ACT in 1959. Though initially much less popular than the SAT, the ACT took hold in the Midwest and the mountain states and, in 2010, actually surpassed the SAT to become the most popular college admissions test.
In part because of the increased competition from the ACT, the SAT is is currently undergoing some big changes, which will go into effect in March 2016. The basic purpose and form of the test will be the same (it’s still a multiple choice test used for college admissions decisions), but certain aspects of the structure and content are changing.
This post will establish the basics of the current SAT as well as how these things will be different if you’re taking the redesigned SAT.