It's pointedly focused on skills rather than logic or abstract reasoning.
This is likely the most important test you'll need for college applications.
However, that's only true for another two years: as of 2016, College Board will be changing the SAT.
Importantly, they'll be eliminating the practice of deducting points for incorrect answers, and they'll be separating the essay from the rest of the test, so the score total will drop to 1600.
Each exam is scored on a scale from 0-5, and depending on your score, you may be allowed to bypass an introductory college course.
Usually, you need a 4 or 5 to get credit; some schools accept 3's.
For a stress-free and successful college application process, you should begin looking at schools during your junior year of high school.
As you identify good possibilities, you'll need to take a few steps to ensure that you're ready to apply.
You can also use sample test questions from College Board.
This test, officially the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, is designed for high school sophomores and juniors, though you can take it as early as middle school or as late as senior year.