Structure Of The SAT Reasoning Test

Understand the SAT Reasoning Test

SAT is a standardized test required to gain admission in colleges or universities in the United States of America. This consists of two tests, SAT I or SAT Reasoning Test and SAT II or SAT Subject Tests. The SAT Reasoning Test is popularly referred to as SAT and is mandatory for all candidates who opt for the SAT Test.

  • SAT Reasoning Test Structure:

    This SAT I consists of three major sections of Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes from start to finish. There are a total of 10 sections with three sub-sections for each of the main sections of critical reading, writing and mathematics. The last section can be from any of the three major sections and is considered as the equating or experimental section used to evaluate questions for tests in the future. The points gained in the last section do not add up for the score.

  • Critical Reading:

    The critical reading section of the test assesses the ability of the candidate to read and understand university course-level English. There are two types of questions asked in this section:

    - Sentence Completion
    - Reading Comprehension
  • The questions are all multiple choice with one correct answer amongst five choices. A good vocabulary is required to score high in critical reading. The reading comprehension questions consist of long and short passages from articles on natural sciences, social sciences, fictional stories and humanities. The critical reading section assesses reading skills of the candidate in the four main areas as given below:

    - Can the candidate identify the main and supporting idea of the given passage?
    - Can the candidate understand the purposes as projected by the author of the passages?
    - Can the candidate understand the function and structure of the sentences?
    - Can the candidate understand the meaning of the words used in the given context?

    The critical reading section of the test has two 25-minute segments, and one 20-minute segment with a total duration of 70 minutes.

  • Writing:

    The writing section tests the ability of the candidate to present an argument or express views on an issue. The writing section consists of two types of questions:

    - An essay – Analytical writing.
    - Grammar – Identifying errors in sentences, correcting sentences and editing contexts.
  • The candidate does not have a choice of topic for the essay writing. The candidate is expected to write on the given issue and adequately cover the topic given. The grammar section tests the capabilities of the candidate as given below:

    - Can the candidate recognize and correct errors in sentences?
    - Can the candidate choose the best written version of an article or paragraphs?
    - Can the candidate improve on the paragraphs to make them better?

    The Grammar section consists of two sub-sections containing all multiple choice questions with one section of 25 minutes and the other of 10 minutes. The essay writing is allocated a time of 25 minutes. The total duration for the writing section is 60 minutes.

  • Mathematics:

    The mathematics section aims to assess the candidate's skills in applying mathematical concepts learnt in high school. There are two major sub-sections of this section:

    - Problem solving multiple choice questions
    - Grid-in answers or responses by candidates
  • Mathematics questions on the SAT Reasoning Test have different levels of difficulty with each section starting with the easiest questions and ending with the hardest questions. The following subject areas of mathematics are tested:

    - Numbers and operations
    - Algebra
    - Geometry
    - Statistics, probability and Data Analysis

    The total duration of the mathematics section is 70 minutes with two 25-minute sub-sections and one 20 minute sub-section.

All the three major sections of the test carry a minimum score of 200 and a maximum score of 800 points. The total overall score is the cumulative scores of the three sections. A high score in SAT increases the chances of admission in the colleges or universities of US.