About the test
The SAT is administered in the paper and pencil format a few times every year, at exam centers around the world. Starting Spring 2023, the test will be administered digitally in all international locations, including Romania. The SAT’s alternative is the ACT, administered a few times yearly in Romania too, in Bucharest.
Why take the SAT?
Because many undergraduate programs in the USA, as well as universities in other countries (such as Bocconi in Italy), will request it for admissions purposes. Around two million American and international students take the test every year to demonstrate they are ready for undergraduate study. And because scoring high can help you attract certain scholarships. But is the SAT mandatory? Not for all universities! Some are SAT-blind, while many are SAT-optional.
Can you get great scores on the SAT? Yes! Not only do many Romanian students take the SAT, but they also excel on it, regardless of their passions or academic profile in high school.
What does the SAT test?
To put it briefly, the SAT measures how good you are at taking the SAT.
Yes, it will draw on your natural abilities and hard work – but at the end of the day, this is (ideally) not a test you just show up for, counting on your smarts. It’s a test you show up for, knowing what to expect and having a game plan for test day.
More specifically, the SAT measures the critical thinking skills required for academic success in college, covering core content areas such as Reading, Writing and Language, and Math.
Since many Romanian students score high on the test, and some even get perfect scores in one of the two main sections (English and Math), with the right approach to your preparation you too will be able to ace the test.
But first, let’s quickly survey the sections on the SAT:
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, which includes the:
- Reading Test (65 minutes, 52 questions): all its questions are multiple-choice and based on passages from different types of texts and informational graphics. In some cases you’ll have to locate a piece of information or an idea stated directly, in others you will have to infer and deduce what the author is saying by reading between the lines.
- Writing and Language Test (35 minutes, 44 questions): during this test you have to act as an editor, reading texts and correcting them, from fixing grammar to finding better, more elegant ways of expressing a certain idea. Again, all questions are multiple-choice and based on passages or informational graphics.
- Math: includes two sections, No Calculator (25 minutes, 20 questions) and Calculator (55 minutes, 38 questions), focusing on the following subdivisions, with questions requiring multiple-choice or write-in answers:
- Heart of Algebra: linear equations and systems;
- Problem Solving and Data Analysis: in other words, being quantitatively literate;
- Passport to Advanced Math: complex equations;
- Additional Topics in Math: the geometry and trigonometry most relevant to college and career readiness.
Most Romanian students agree that the Math sections include many concepts discussed in middle school, as well as some topics we don’t really cover. Think that sounds too easy? In practice, we just have to draw your attention to the fact that the SAT tests not only knowledge, but time management and resourcefulness, and that many a time a – becomes + when one is rushing 😥
Each of the two big sections (Reading & Writing and Math) is scored on a scale of 200-800, with multiple useful subscores that will help you analyze your performance. So final scores are between 400-1600.
The ideal score? It depends on your own context as well as on the universities you are applying to. There is no “perfect score” that guarantees you admission – focus on the entire application, not just in the SAT!
What happens on test day?
The paper-and-pencil SAT will keep you busy on a Saturday from 7:45 in the morning until 12-1 pm or so. With short five to ten-minute breaks between sections, the SAT is its own kind of challenge, for U.S. and international high schoolers alike. Look at it like this: if you feel tired after a two-hour term paper in high school, imagine what you’ll feel like when taking the SAT. The paper-and-pencil version takes three hours (plus breaks and administrative activities). The digital version is set to take two hours (plus breaks and admin).
Info on what to bring with you to the exam center here.
Check out the official info on what to expect on test day.
Test administration in Romania
In Romania the SATs are administered in Bucharest, Arad, Baia Mare, Constanta, and Iasi.
These are the test dates for the next academic year:
|SAT Test Date||Deadline for Registration
Changes, and Regular Cancellation
|Aug 27, 2022||Jul 29, 2022|
|Oct 1, 2022||Sep 2, 2022|
|Dec 3, 2022||Nov 3, 2022|
|Mar 11, 2023 (Digital)||Feb 24, 2023|
|May 6, 2023 (Digital)||Apr 21, 2023|
|June 3, 2023 (Digital)||May 19, 2023|
Registration is done online on the CollegeBoard website until 11.59 pm Eastern time, which is seven hours behind Romania’s timezone. At this time, registration is open for all students for 2022 SAT dates only. Registration for Spring 2023 dates will open in the Fall of 2022.
The test fees are available on the official website, here.
In addition to test administration, the test fee covers up to four official score reports that College Board will send directly to the institutions of your choice, provided you include them on your CollegeBoard account at the latest nine days after the test date. Since results usually come out in 13 days, using these free score reports may require a leap of faith or an educated guess.
While official score reports come at an additional cost, many universities will accept unofficial score reports during the application process.
Additionally, you should know it’s totally fine to take the SAT multiple times (two, max three – don’t let the SAT take all of your attention!) and work on increasing your scores strategically.
Registration is flexible, convenient and painless if you choose to pay by card. Visa Electron cards have been known to have some issues, but MasterCard or Visa are usually fine.
After the test
Approximately 13 days (sometimes it takes a few extra days, no need to panic) after you take the test, your SAT scores will be available in your online CollegeBoard account.
SAT scores are valid for five years.
Acing the test through practice
Start with the free and awesome resources at Khan Academy, but don’t stop there! It’s important to use diverse materials, so ask us for more free prep and/or enroll in our individual or group paid-for SAT prep.