What is SAT?

What is SAT?

The SAT is a standardized test owned by collage board, a nonprofit organization, and administered by ETS( Education Testing Service). It asses skills in the three key areas: critical reading, math, and writing. Many colleges in the US use SAT scores as a part of their admission process. Students who wish to pursue undergraduate courses in the United States or Canada take this exam. This standardized test is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. COLLEGE BOARD offers traditional paper format tests through there test centers. Students can take the SAT exam any number of times. There are no restrictions on how many times students can take this test. However, only the recent six scores stay ona file at a time. SAT is conducted 5 to 7 times in a year, depending upon the region. The official website for SAT is collegereadiness.collegeboard.

SAT Exam Structure

The SAT exam is a Paper-based test, and it comprises of Evidence-based Reading test, Writing and Language Test, Math test, and an Essay (optional). If the colleges require essay score, the students must register for the SAT test with an essay. The total testing time with the essay is 3hours 50minutes. The test does not have negative marking. The total test time is 3 hour 50 min (with essay).

There is a 10 minutes break between the Reading test and the Writing test. Also, a 5 min break between Math calculator and No calculator tests. If the candidate is taking SAT with an essay, he/she will receive an additional 2 min break after Math test.



Allotted Time (Min.)

Number of Questions/Tasks

Evidence based Reading and writing Reading test 65 52
Evidence based Reading and writing Writing and Language test 35 44
Math Math test 80 58

Reading Test

The reading section in SAT assesses the skills that require the student to comprehend multiple texts and interpret these texts to find the answers to the questions of the concerned passage/s.

The Reading section consists of 5 passages: 4 single passages and one paired passage. Each passage has 10-11 questions. The total number of questions in the Reading test is 52. A range of reading skills are measured through different Passages from previously published resources.

This test includes passages from diverse fields: one Passage from US and word literature, two science-based passages that deal with basic concepts and developments in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and one passage or a pair of passages from History / Social studies – passages focusing on U.S Founding document or work inspired by those documents.

The Questions on the reading test of SAT are multiple-choice questions followed by four answer choices. The questions fall under three categories: Information and ideas; Rhetoric; and Synthesis.

Information And Ideas

The questions in this category focus on the test taker’s ability to read the passage to determine the central ideas and theme of the passage, understand the relationship between the sentences and also between the paragraphs, and also interpreting words and phrases in the context.


The questions on this test focus on understanding the choices that authors make in analyzing the word choices, text structure, purpose, and point of view.


The questions on this category test your skills in analyzing multiple texts and Identifying the relation between informational graphics and the passage.

Writing And Language Test

Writing and Language section of SAT assesses the student’s command of grammar and usage in the given underlined part/s of the passages. The questions in this section can either deal with a small part of the passage or a passage as a whole. Few questions will also require the test taker to make necessary changes to the parts of the passage to maintain the focus of the passage.

This section consists of 4 passages. Each passage is followed by 11 questions. So, to answer all the 44 questions in this section, the test taker is given a time of 35 min. Generally, a few parts of the passage are underlined. Few questions will not be having question stems. The options are directly linked to the underlined part of the passage. On the other hand, a few questions need the test taker to consider the passage as a whole. Out of the four passages, one of the passages includes informational graphics.

This test includes passages from diverse fields: Career-related topics, Humanities, Science, and History / Social studies.

The Questions on the writing and language test of SAT are multiple-choice questions followed by four answer choices, and these questions fall under two categories: Standard English Conventions and Expression of Ideas.

Standard English Conventions

This question type requires the test taker to display his/her ability to correct the incorrect parts of the passage according to the standard conventions of writing. The examinee must keep a close eye on the sentence boundaries, sentence structure, shifts in tenses, agreement, comparison, and parallelism and pick the choice that best meets the standard construction. A total of 20 questions on SAT – writing and language test deals with standard English convention-related questions.

Expression Of Ideas

These questions will ask the student to improve the effectiveness of communication in writing. The SAT includes 24 questions from this category.

Math Test

The Math test consists of 58 questions, and the examinee will be given a time period of 80 min. This section has two portions: 55 min long calculator portion that consists of 38 questions and 25 min long non-calculator portion. Out of the total 58 questions, 45 questions deal with multiple choices, while 13 questions need student-produced response. In multiple choices based questions, each question is followed by four choices. The examinee is allowed to take only Scientific calculators. For more updated information kindly check collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/taking-the-test/calculator-policy

The Questions on the Math test deal with Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, and Problem solving and Data Analysis.

Heart Of Algebra

It emphasizes mastery of linear equations and systems of linear equations and relationships between them.

Problem Solving And Data Analysis

It is about being quantitatively literate. It emphasizes on percentages, ratios, and proportional resolving.

Passport To Advanced Math

The questions focus on the manipulation of complex equations and functions required to STEM-based- science and technology, engineering, and math career.


SAT test provides a detailed score report, which includes Sectional Scores, Test Scores, Cross Test scores, and subscores.

Section Scores

The test taker will receive three sectional scores after the test if the student takes the test with an essay.
Evidence-based Reading and Writing is graded on a scale of 200 to 800, and the Math section is also graded at a scale of 200 to 800. These two sections make up the total score that is given on a scale of 400 to 1600.

Test Scores

Sat reports 3 test scores that will fall on the scale of 10-40: Reading Test, Writing and Language Test, and Math test. Each question of these three tests you answer correctly will contribute to the score, which is on the scale of 10 – 40.

Cross Test Scores

The test taker will be receiving two Cross test scores: Analysis in social science and Analysis in social studies. Each of these scores is reported at a scale of 10 to 40. A total of 35 questions across the three tests will contribute to the science cross-test score, and another set of 35 questions from social-based passages /questions across the tests will contribute to the social cross test score.

These scores will represent your ability to apply analytical thinking to problems and texts related to Science and Social in Reading; Writing and Language; and Math.

Sub Scores

A more detailed understanding of your skills will be done through the evaluation of subscores. Your answers to different questions contribute seven subscores. Each subscore is reported at a scale of 1 to 15.

Sub Scores – Evidence-Based Reading

Evidence-based Reading section contributes two sub scores to the SAT test: Command of Evidence and Words in context. A total of 18 questions from the reading test and writing test together contribute to the Command of Evidence Subscore on a (1 -15) point scale. Also, A total of 18 questions from reading test and writing test together contribute to the Words in context Subscore on a (1 -15) point scale.

Sub Scores – Writing And Language

The Writing and Language section contributes two sub scores: Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions.
AS 24 questions from Expression of Ideas contribute to one subscore on a (1 – 15) point scale, 20 questions from Standard English Conventions contribute another subscore (1 – 15).

Sub Scores – Math

Math section contributes three subscores: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving &Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math. The scores are reported on a scale of (1 – 15)

Test Fees

Sat test fee varies from U.S to other countries.
SAT test fees in US: $ 49.50
SAT test fees in India: $ 94.00
For more details, visit the official website: www.collegeboard.org

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