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- [Voiceover] This is Sean Logan. I'm the Director of College Counseling at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. I've been doing college admissions and college counseling for the last 25 years, of both working for colleges and working in high schools. I've also worked with a lot of community-based organizations doing college counseling. For background, SAT and ACT are both standardized tests that colleges use in the admissions process. Either test is acceptable, and schools don't have a preference. Purpose of the SAT in the college admissions process really is to allow colleges to benchmark students against each other from across different school districts in the US and abroad. The format is a combination of multiple-choice questions, found both in reading section, math section and the writing section. There's a grid in the math section that students will put in their own answers, and in the writing section, there's an essay. The test is divided into multiple short, 20-25 minute segments. In total, you'll spend approximately equal time on each of these three topics, 70 minutes each on critical reading and math, and about 60 minutes on the writing section. The cost of the test right now is $52.50, but there are fee waivers available for students who qualify for them. I really encourage you to go see your college counselor, your guidance counselor, in your school to help you figure out how to get a fee waiver if you need one. Timing of the test: most students should plan to take the SAT twice. In my experience, most students see a bump in scores when they take it again, partly because, I think, they're more comfortable with the test if they've taken it before. You might want to think about trying it for the first time in the winter or spring of your junior year. Then you can get that test back, see how you did, study some more, and potentially take it again late in the spring of your junior year or in the fall of your senior year. Each of the three sections has a scoring range between 200 and 800, which is called a scaled score. 500 for each section is about the national average. Let's take a look at a score report. In this score report, a person has a scaled score of a 690 in the math section. That puts them about at the 92nd percentile, which means they scored hire than 92% of the people taking the test. This comes from the person's raw score, how many questions they got right, how many they got wrong. There is a penalty for wrong answers, so you don't want to guess unless you can probably eliminate some of the other options on the page. The score report should allow you to break down the number of missed questions by easy, medium and hard questions. This can be really helpful information when you're studying and trying to improve on the areas you need help in. There are similar score reports with both critical reading and writing, as well. Also realize that the writing does have an essay and there's a subscore between two and 12 which does get factored into your score.