Structure Of The SAT

The Pattern Of SAT

The SAT is a standardized test that you may have to take if you are planning for higher education in colleges in US. You have to score higher than the average scores as publicized by the colleges in order to increase your chances for admission. It is recommended that you aim to score high no matter what the average marks of the college you wish to join may be. A high score not only maximizes your chances for admission, it may also help you qualify for a scholarship. Before you can set off your preparation to score high, you need to know everything about this test.

The SAT Exam:

This exam is a measure of a candidate’s preparedness to study in college in the US. In many places, it is often referred to as SAT I and SAT II. While it may seem confusing at first, there is no mystery regarding this examination.

SAT I: It is often referred to as the Reasoning Test commonly known as the SAT. It is a mandatory test and has to be taken by all aspirants. It consists of:

  • Mathematics
  • Critical Reading
  • Writing

SAT II: The Subject tests are often referred to as SAT II. It tests a candidate’s knowledge in specific subjects such as:

  • Science
  • Languages
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics

The SAT II tests are not mandatory for all. However, some colleges, especially the Ivy League colleges, ask for scores in certain subject areas corresponding to the programs opted by you. Again, if you include subject scores with your application even when not asked for, it would help to make your application stronger. You can contact the college you apply to, for more information exam requirements particular to their programs.

The SAT Exam Pattern:

The test patterns differ for the SAT I and SAT II. While the Reasoning Test is a 3 hours and 45 minutes long exam, the Subject tests is a one-hour for each subject. More details are as follows:


    • Critical Reading: The Critical Reading section consists of sentence completion questions and short and long reading passages. This section consists of three sub-sections:
      • Two 25-minute sections, multiple choice questions
      • One 20-minute section, multiple choice questions
    • Mathematics: The mathematics section contains questions on basic mathematics, algebra, geometry, etc and contains three sub-sections.
      • One 25-minute section, problem solving and student response questions
      • One 25-minute section, problem solving questions
      • One 20-minute section, multiple choice questions
    • Writing: The writing section tests your writing abilities as well as grammar and has two sub-sections.
      • One 25–minute section for essay
      • One 25–minute section, multiple choice questions
      • One 10-minute section, multiple choice questions

SAT II: The Subjects tests consist of one-hour multiple choice questions on the particular subject. Questions and information on test for subject tests is specific to each subject.

The SAT Question Types:

All questions on the exam are multiple choice questions except for the grid-in or student response questions in mathematics and essay writing for the writing section. More information regarding question types is as follows:

Critical Reading:

      • Sentence completion questions: Complete sentences with the appropriate words provided as answer choices.
      • Reading passages: Questions are based on short and long comprehension passages from the articles related to social sciences, English, business news etc.


      • Essay: Writing a short essay on a given topic.
      • Grammar: Usage and sentence corrections.


      • Problem Solving: Multiple choice questions on basic mathematics, algebra, geometry etc.
      • Grid-in: Student responses to be filled in a grid after solving the problem.

To score well, you will need to score high in all the sections. It is possible only through systematic preparation and practice. It is advisable that you gather all the information about examination as it would help you make a good preparation plan to score high.