What is on the SAT Test

SAT Test Sections and Questions Explained!

The SAT Test measures a test taker’s ability to cope with the standard of education at collegiate level. It is used by students to make applications to colleges for admission. Getting a good score on your SAT is extremely important as it will determine if you get into the college you wish for or if you will be able to pick an academic discipline of your choice. In order to achieve a good score in the test it is essential for you to understand what is on the SAT Test. The SAT Test is divided into three sections Critical Reading, Math and Writing.

Critical Reading

The Critical Reading section is timed at 70 minutes. It has one 20 minute and two 25 minute sections. It comprises of 19 sentence completion questions that test your vocabulary and sentence construction skills, and 48 questions based on passage reading that test your ability to understand what you read. It is scored on a range of 20-80 points which is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 200-800 points. You receive 1 point for a correct answer, lose 1/4th point for an incorrect one and face no penalty for questions left blank.


The Math section lasts for 70 minutes and has one 20 minute and two 25 minute sections. It has 44 multiple choice questions where you are given a problem to solve and you have to pick the best choice as the answer. It also has 10 questions to which the test taker has to grid-in the answer. You do not receive any choices for the answers to these questions. Also you do not lose any points as penalty for the wrong answer to grid-in questions unlike multiple choice questions where you lose 1/4th point for an incorrect answer. All other questions of the section follow the same scoring practices as the Critical Reading Section. The answers for the Math section are scored like the Critical Reading Section where you receive a point for correct answers, lose 1/4th point for wrong answers (except for Grid-in questions) and are not penalized for blank answers.


The Writing Section is 60 minutes and has one 10 minute section and two 25 minute sections. In this section you have to correct 25 sentences where you have to improve imperfect English and rephrase the sentences, identify grammatical errors according to Standard Written English norms of 18 sentences and improve the textual matter in 6 paragraphs bearing in mind aspects like context, structure and diction. The Writing Section also has an essay. It is to be completed within 25 minutes and hence it is not expected to be of flamboyant diction but something sustainable and concise. The SAT Test begins with an essay and you are asked for your views and opinions about a particular topic.


There are a lot of publications for practice tests of the SAT. These will help you gain a firsthand insight about what is on the SAT Test. Since there are mock tests that have a time limit, it will be as if you are appearing for the actual test and this will prepare you for the test. Publications like the Official SAT Guide by the College Board and study material from companies like Kalpan, The Princeton Review and other companies provide study material for the SAT Test. It is not all about knowing what is on the SAT Test but much about practicing for it as there are a lot of aspects about the test that you may not be familiar with. For instance, when you appear for the SAT Test you are pre-allotted seats at the test center and the instructor hands out test books which have unique serial numbers. These test books contain the test sections in random orders and hence it is unlikely that you will be able to sneak a peek for an answer.

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