What is SAT?

Everything You Need to Know about SAT Test Sections

What is SAT?

SAT has its beginning in the year 1926. This test was earlier known as Scholastic Aptitude Test, later on the name changed to Scholastic Assessment Test and now it is just the SAT (no expansion). The exam is organized by the College Board (it has its origin in the year 1900 in United States, and was formed with the association of schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations to provide education not only to the privileged class but also to the non-privileged class of students by granting them financial assistance in the form of scholarships) seven times in a year basically in the United States. This exam aspires to provide admissions to students at various colleges in United States. It comprises three sections- Critical Reading section, Math section and Writing section. Each section is of 800 marks, thus, making a total of 2400 marks, and total duration of the test is three hours and forty-five minutes.

Critical Reading section: This section comprises passage-based reading and sentence completion questions. The total time allotted to the reading section is 70 minutes.

Sentence Completion Questions

Sentence completion questions provide an incomplete sentence which is to be completed either by a word or set of words which best fit in the sentence.They test vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure of students.


  • These questions are easy to solve and they proceed from simple questions to tough questions. This helps examinees to maintain their enthusiasm throughout the questions.
  • The answers to these questions lie within the sentences themselves. Thus, hint lie in the questions themselves.
  • If one is trying to answer a question, one should not escape the question and proceed to the next question as this distracts the flow of reading and understanding the question.

Passage-based Reading Section

This section entails thorough reading of a passage followed by reading questions based on the passage and, pondering over answers to those questions based on what one has learnt from the passage, and then finding explanations in the passage. It tests the ability of the examinees to comprehend a passage.


  • Passage-based reading takes more time to answer questions as it demands reading the whole passage thoroughly.
  • Reading passage questions are not presented according to the degree of complexity to solve questions.
  • The answers to the questions which are asked already exist in the passage itself.
  • One should not skip one passage and jump to the next passage until one answers all the questions of the passage. If one moves to another passage one will lose the flow of reading and understanding the passage.

Math Section

The Math section is of 70 minutes duration. It measures the reasoning ability of students and assesses the ability to apply math concept in real life problems. The Math section holds multiple choice questions and grid-in questions. A total of 54 questions are asked out of which 44 questions are of multiple choice and 10 are of grid-in questions. Grid-in questions are student produced responses as answers are not provided in the form of multiple options, but are produced by students themselves after solving questions. Once answer for a grid-in question is obtained, it is filled in printed grids available to answer. Grid-in answer facility constitutes number choice from 0 to 9 along with point(.) and slash (/). To get more information on Grid-in section one can delve into the webpage http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-questions-math/student-produced-response

Writing Section

This section tests one’s ability to write impeccable English following the conventions of Standard Written English. It is of 60 minutes duration. It entails Improving sentences, Improving paragraphs, Identifying sentence errors, and an Essay.

Improving sentences: This subsection comprises a question sentence which is underlined in the portion which needs correction. The question is followed by five options out of which one option which is clear, precise and meets the conventions of Standard English is to be chosen as the right answer.

Improving paragraphs: This subsection consists of an incorrect passage followed by some questions.The questions comprise a single sentence where incorrect words are underlined, followed by some options. An examinee has to choose the right answer based on one’s comprehension of the passage.

Identifying sentence errors: This subsection holds incorrect sentence which underlines some words/ phrases and are marked from (A) to (E) followed by the options from A to E. An examinee has to choose an option to spot the wrong underlined portion of the sentence.

Essay: The writing section includes an essay of 25 minutes which is to be written on the basis of an excerpt given. One has to write one’s point of view with sufficient points to support one’s outlook on the subject. While writing essay a student needs to follow the conventions of standard written English.

Note: To get more information regarding the test sections and sample questions of SAT, one can log on to the webpage http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-questions.


It is very important for a SAT aspirant to know what SAT test is all about and to know about the test sections of SAT exam in detail i.e., what constitutes the subsections of the major test sections and, the type of questions asked, the number of questions asked and the time allotted to solve questions. This article intends to update students regarding the test sections, subsections and the type of questions representing the subsections in SAT.