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Here’s a question an SAT prep student and I were debating recently: What does the abbreviation “SAT” stand for?

It has to mean something… but what?

Those three mysterious letters taunted us throughout our lesson… making us wonder… I just had to go find out – and what I learned is totally surprising.

What “SAT” originally stood for:

When the SAT was first created, “SAT” stood for “Scholastic Aptitude Test” – in other words, a test of your ability in schoolwork to evaluate you for college and scholarship acceptances.

However, over time this title generated a good bit of controversy as it seemed to be biased and discriminatory towards those who didn’t do well on the SAT – basically, the abbreviation “SAT” may have been discouraging otherwise-smart students from believing in themselves after getting low SAT scores.

Doesn’t that make sense? I mean, imagine taking a made-up test called “the Learning Ability Test.” Everyone talks about it, makes a big deal about it, and then you don’t do well on it. Wouldn’t that be really discouraging?

Yeah, they thought so too. So, they changed what “SAT” means into something else.

What the abbreviation “SAT” means nowadays:

Now here’s the funny part: Instead of renaming the test, or making the abbreviation “SAT” stand for something else, in 1993 the College Board simply decided that “SAT” would no longer stand for anything.

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You read that right – the “SAT” in “SAT exams” stands for nothing at all. I guess “SAT” has just entered our cultural vocabulary, and no longer needs any additional clarification. The test is now known as the “SAT Reasoning Test” or “SAT I.” (There are also SAT II Subject Tests from the same testing company)

Weird, huh? You’re taking a critical reasoning test that’s named after an acronym that doesn’t actually mean anything… Maybe the College Board needs to test their own “critical reasoning”!?!

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Further Reading:
A Brief History of the SAT Test
What is the SAT Test For?
Prepping the SAT at Home: The Complete Guide
What are SAT 2 Subject Tests and who should take them?
SAT vs ACT: A comparison by a pro tutor

Additional Materials:
Visit my Online SAT Prep Bookstore
Griffin SAT: A Complete Course on Acing the SAT
Winning College Scholarships Video Course

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