The Scholastic Aptitude Test is the main standardized test used by colleges to determine the quality of applicants in UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates, covering reading, writing (which is now optional) and math. Generally, taking the SAT is considered a culminating moment in a teen's education and is the subject of much stress and studying. Its lesser known competitor is the ACT, which is the same concept, except it also covers science and social studies and it's a base-36 score--the SAT is more common at schools on the East and West Coasts while the ACT is more common at schools in the Midwest and South.

In 2005, the SAT was heavily revamped, most notably changing from a base-1600 score to a base-2400 score. Older programs will reference the old scoring system.

Britain also has two exams called [=SATs=], but they're pronounced as words (sats) and taken before {{GCSEs}}.[[note]] There are currently three exams each round of [=SATs=], in English, Numeracy and Sciences, which are taken in Year 2 (age 6-7, the final year of [=KS1=]) and Year 6 (age 10-11, the final year of [=KS2=]). There used to be [=SATs=] in Year 9 (age 13-14, the final year of [=KS3=]), too.[[/note]]

The grad school version of this is the [=GRE=] (Graduate Record Examination).

!!The SATs provide examples of:

* AchievementTestOfDestiny: For a long time, the SAT has reigned as the most important factor in college admissions. However, grades seem to have overtaken it. Also, some colleges these days don't require students to take the SAT or ACT to get in (but students are still encouraged to do so).
* AwfulTruth: Although they don't like to state it, individual students' scores rarely change much from attempt to attempt, and without a good enough one you're probably not going to get into your dream school.
* TheBGrade: A common reaction by a straight-A student to getting a good, but not perfect, score (it's nearly impossible to actually get a perfect score on the SAT or ACT).
* BrilliantButLazy: Many students who do well on the SATs but have subpar grades are this.
* ChildProdigy: They're usually claimed to have aced their SATs at an early age.
* CramSchool: Generally averted; the material on the SATs is learned mostly in early high school and even middle school--however, many parents still have their children go to SAT[=/=]ACT-prep classes. Also, standardized tests aren't something you can necessarily study for (not that you ''shouldn't'' study for it).
* EightPointEight: See TheBGrade.
* FMinusMinus: Scores generally have a bell-curve distribution, making it all the more of a middle finger when you score below 1000 or so.
* FourPointScale: As the test goes from 600 to 2400, the empty range is a third the size of the scored range. Even a 600 you won't get just by leaving every question blank; you have to answer about 12 questions wrong (and none right).
** Moreover, at selective colleges, adcoms must choose among students with scores near the top of the scale, making them nearly meaningless at that level. Instead, grades, course rigor, extracurriculars, and essays are focused on.
* HighSchoolRejects: A possible consequence if you don't do well enough.
* IvyLeagueForEveryone: You'd think so from reading peripheral materials about the kinds of schools people with certain scores should shoot for. Unfortunately, the Ivy League (and similar institutions like MIT, U-Chicago, and Stanford) are rapidly becoming less realistic as competition escalates exponentially.
* MoneyDearBoy: Why do you think it costs so much to take the test and have it mailed to colleges?
* SideKick: The SAT Subject Tests.