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4 Lesser Known Facts About the SATs

Updated: May 7, 2021

If you’re a (prospective) college student in the United States, you’re probably familiar with the SATs. These are standardized entrance exams used by most universities and colleges for granting admissions. Administered by the College Board, the MCQ test is used to measure candidates’ aptitude and “readiness” for college, and comprises Math and comprehension related questions.

answering sheet of the multiple-choice SAT exam

Don’t let the thought of giving the SATs for college admissions intimidate you! Here are a few fun facts about the exams to keep you from stressing out.

It Was Originally Used for Ivy League Schools

Getting into Ivy League schools has never been easy. Back in the 1930s, the then Harvard President decided that there needs to be a set criteria for selecting students for scholarships. His assistants suggested the SAT, which had been used by the army for recruiting candidates previously.

Following this suggestion, the test was made a compulsory part of the admission process for students applying for scholarships at Harvard. By 1939, all other Ivy League schools had followed suit.

view of Harvard University, representing the Ivy League entrance exams

It Was Based on the Army IQ Test

Harvard may have been the first academic institution to introduce the SATs, but the testing format was actually developed during World War I. IQ tests were administered to almost 2 million army recruits in an attempt to choose candidates with greater IQ. The test was also seen as statistical evidence regarding IQ testing itself.

A few years later, during the early 1920s, a new version of the “army IQ test” was created and adopted by the College Board. It was first administered to high school students in 1926.

Parts of the Exam May Be Reused

If you and your sibling have given the SAT exam in adjacent years, it’s quite likely that you both may have attempted the same questions. According to one report, a total of seven tests are given each year in the US. Four of these tests are made public later on. The remaining three are not, and can be used again in the future.

It Has Been Cancelled Nation-Wide Before

If you think 2020 is the first time the SATs have been canceled, think again. While the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely created new circumstances for college applicants who were planning to take the SATs, this isn’t the first time the exam has been canceled.

In 2013, the testing body that administers the exam, ETS, discovered that certain tutoring companies in South Korea had planned and attempted to get their hands on the test. This led to the exam being canceled for the May session.

Need help preparing for the SATs? Our website for online tutoring is the place to be at. Our online tutors can help you study for all kinds of tests and exams, helping you improve your English and math skills.

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