If you’re wondering what the letters S-A-T stand for, they do not stand for anything!
This wasn’t always the case: when College Board introduced the SAT in 1926, the exam was called the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Since then, it has been through changes both in name and content. In 1990, it was renamed the Scholastic Assessment Test. Soon, the College Board settled for SAT as an empty acronym and changed the name of the test to SAT I: Reasoning Test. Finally, the Roman numeral was dropped. Now the test is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, popularly called the ‘SAT’.
The changes make for a fascinating story; one that is rooted in the history of the exam. The exam was originally devised as a sort of an ‘intelligence test’. It was supposed to measure ‘aptitude’, which was considered an innate quality almost akin to a person’s height or hair color. The test makers asserted that students could not ‘prepare’ for the SAT. Test-takers and The Princeton Review (TPR) did not agree! If test results were important, they were going to prepare for the test and do as well as they could. It soon became clear that smart work and diligent preparation helped get great SAT scores.