SAT Overview

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SAT exam is standardized entrance test mainly taken by those candidates who want to study in the USA. The exam score is mandatory for those students who want to take admission in undergraduate courses in USA. The exam has a standard format and is divided into three sections. The exam has a set pattern of questions, curriculum, conditions of admission, and scoring etc. The paper structure, scoring scheme and pattern is standard and known to all. The exam is generally held for the purpose of granting admission in the undergraduate courses across the US. The exam is really important and almost all the colleges acknowledge the SAT as an entrance exam. The score of the SAT exam will determine your admission in your desired college. This makes the exam very famous among aspirants who want to take admission in undergraduate programmes in US.

SAT exam pattern:

The SAT exam is designed to assess the skills of thinking and logical reasoning of the candidates. These are the basic skills that you acquire in your schools, but are highly valued at the college level as well. The purpose of conducting this exam is to evaluate students for their writing, reading as well as mathematical skills.

The total duration of the exam is 3 hours . However, candidates will be given another 50 minutes for the Essay, which is optional. The SAT exam is divided into SAT Reasoning Test and SAT subject based Test. If you want to take admission in any US college on the basis of SAT reasoning score, it is just not enough to secure a seat in US colleges. But on the other hand, some colleges also consider the score of the subjects based exam. In most of the cases when we say SAT exam, it meant to the SAT reasoning test.

SAT reasoning test:


 This section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage. This section is allotted 35 minutes and will have 44 questions.

Critical Reading

Critical Reading section is divided into three sub-sections. The questions asked in this section are based on either short passage reading or long passage reading. The questions are based on multiple choice questions. These questions generally evaluate a student’s understanding ability. According to the new SAT pattern, the time allotted to this section is 65 minutes for attempting 52 questions


Mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability. As per the new SAT  pattern, test takers will be given 80 minutes to solve 57 questions.

SAT Test Pattern: Major Features

Category SAT
Total Testing Time


3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
Components Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Reading Test

Writing and Language Test


Essay (optional)

Essay Optional and given at the end of the SAT; postsecondary institutions determine whether they will require the Essay for admission

50 minutes to write the essay

Tests reading, analysis, and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text

Score Reporting*


Scale ranging from 400 to 1600

Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three traits for Essay

Essay results reported separately

Sub score Reporting Sub scores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, admission officers, educators, and counselors
Important Features Continued emphasis on reasoning alongside a clearer, stronger focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings most important for college and career readiness and success

Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact

Rights-only scoring (a point for a correct answer but no deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)

Eligibility for SAT exam: Students can appear in this exam either after completion of their Class XII from a recognized Indian university or education board or they can also take this test while studying in Class XII or Class XI. The students should keep college deadlines in mind while appearing in the exam. The scores that are finally considered depends upon the fact that in which college you want to apply. Students can reappear for the exam, but this action is not fruitful if higher scores are not expected.

Comparison of Test Length and Timing:

Component Time Allotted (minutes) Number of Question/Tasks
Critical Reading 65 52
Writing 35 44
Mathematics 80 57
Essay 50 1
Total (230 with Essay) (154 with Essay)

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