SAT Writing

How is the SAT Writing Section Scored?

What is the writing section of the SAT test?

The writing section of SAT contains two formats or types of questions. The two types can be either an essay type question or a multiple-choice question. There will be one essay type question and forty-nine multiple-choice questions. The essay section is of twenty-five minutes while the multiple-choice section has two sections, namely one twenty-five minutes section and the other ten minutes section. The writing section evaluates your skills in Improving Sentences, Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Paragraphs. This section allocates variable number of questions in these three topics. The Improving Sentence section contains twenty-five questions, the Identifying Sentence Errors contains eighteen questions while the Improving Paragraphs contains six questions.

What is the SAT essay section of SAT writing?

The first section of the SAT test is the essay section and the test taker gets twenty-five minutes to complete this section. The use of a No.2 pencil and legible longhand writing are the standard requirements for this section. The essay section evaluates your ability to stimulate a point of view demonstrated in a passage. It checks your capability to champion the point of view based on your experience in reading, deduction and studies. It also checks whether you follow the rules of Standard Written English. A test taker would face a prompt or an assignment of a maximum of 80 words. This prompt is on an issue, which is cautiously chosen to assist students in responding to the issue using different means and quicker ways. The prompt selection is made, keeping in mind the interest of students with English as Second Language (ESL). The prompt is also devoid of any figurative, technical or particular literary reference. You should check a sample essay to understand the writing section of SAT.

How do you get your score in SAT essays?

Your SAT essay is judged according to a holistic approach. The highly qualified educators measure your total performance in the essay, analyze the impression that you created in your essay. Your essay should be comprehensive. It will be judged on the basis of your though quality, development of the issue and usage of language. There will be two certified teachers evaluating your essay. Each one will mark you on a scale of one to six. Hence, you will get a combined score of these two teachers, which will range from two to twelve. You shall be marked zero in case your essay does not follow the issue given in the prompt. In case, the individual score of each teacher varies by one point or is less than five, a third reader views, and marks your essay.

What is the multiple-choice section of SAT writing?

The multiple-choice questions of the writing section in SAT, primarily, base themselves in evaluating your skills in improving sentences, detecting sentence errors and improving paragraphs. The multiple-choice question sections checks your skills in conveying ideas clearly and coherently, affirming accurately formed grammatical structures and understanding the relationship of grammatical elements and structures in a sentence. All the multiple-choice questions test whether you are following the norms of Standard Written English. Let us discuss about this section in the following sections.

Improving sentences:In improving sentences, there are questions, which have a whole sentence or a part of a sentence underlined followed by five options. These options contain phrases, which best replace the underlined portion.

Identifying sentence errors:In this type, you will be presented with a sentence, which has four of its portions underlined. You will be asked to answer which of these four portions is grammatically incorrect. In case you find no fault, you will have to select the last option, ‘E’, which says ‘No error’.

Improving paragraphs:The last question type presents you with a paragraph followed by questions, which ask you about particular sentences or parts of sentences and ask you to make amends to the paragraph or to the vocabulary used in it. In addition, you may be asked to analyze and discuss the development of ideas in the passage.


The writing section is one good tool in the SAT test to evaluate your fundamental grammar knowledge. However, in case you need assistance in preparing for it, you may check the sample scored essay and SAT practice exercises. Read more about scoring accuracy to score as high as you can in this section.