SAT Exam Pattern

SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test is conducted by the College Board several times a year for admissions to undergraduate programs in the US and Canada. Apart from the two countries, now, Indian Universities have also started to accept SAT scores. SAT aims to assess the students' college readiness and prepare common data of the students for colleges to compare.
In India, SAT is conducted five times a year in March, May, August, October, and December. The next SAT administration has started in August 2021. The first exam was conducted on 28 August 2021. However, in the US, it is conducted seven times a year. The College Board conducts SAT exams, SAT Optional Essay, and SA Subject Tests. The College Board has discontinued SAT Optional Essay and SAT Subject Tests after June 2021 administration.  
Now that SAT Essay has been discontinued, students taking SAT with Essay will have to complete the exam in 3 hours. Student needs to score in a range from 400 to 1600 points in two sections ranging from 200-800 points each. SAT question paper is in multiple-choice format, so the students have to prepare accordingly.
Key Features of SAT exam:
Name of the Exam
Full Name of the Exam
Scholastic Assessment Test
Pursue Undergraduate Courses in USA & Canada
Conducting Body
The College Board
Mode of Exam
Pen and Paper-based
Exam Fees
$55 + $49 (Non-US Regional Fee)
Score Range
400-1600 points
SAT Exam Pattern Highlights
When the aspirant is preparing for SAT, they should understand the exam pattern of the examination. Here are a few important aspects of SAT that the students should be familiar with to prepare better.
Number of sections
Four sections (2 from Reading and Writing; 2 from Math)
Duration of exam
3 hours
No. of questions
154 total questions
Score range
400-1600 points
Language of exam
Mode of exam
Pen and paper mode
Negative marking
SAT Essay and Subject Tests: Announcement
The College Board has now discontinued SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests after June 2021 administration. The exam conducting body took this decision to adapt to the new realities and changes that have been constantly arising in the admission process. To ensure that their programs adapt to the changing needs, the two exams will longer be offered. Also, the College Board is focusing on making a few changes to reduce demands on the students applying for different programs at the undergraduate level.
To know more about why College Board took this decision, you can read their statement where they have addressed all the questions that every candidate might have.
SAT Exam pattern
Let us now understand the SAT Exam Pattern -
Number of Questions
Evidence-based Reading and Writing
65 minutes
35 minutes
No Calculator
30 MCQs & 8 GRID-INS
80 minutes
With Calculator
15 MCQs & 5 GRID-INS
3 hours
SAT Section-wise Analysis
SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing
  • SAT Reading – SAT Reading part includes 52 multiple choice questions consisting of 5 passages to be completed in 65 minutes. There are five passages in this section, and all the questions in this section are evidence-based. Evidence-based questions require a candidate to analyse and interpret the information from the passages. Passages in this section single or infographic based utilising charts, tables and graphs. Passages are based on –History/Social Sciences, the US and World Literature, and Science. There are three types of questions asked in this section –Factual, Rhetorical, and Synthesis.
  • SAT Writing and Language – SAT Writing and Language test consist of 44 multiple choice questions that have to be answered within 35 minutes. The MCQs are based on four passages that require a candidate to analyse and edit the passages as asked. The candidate must identify grammatical and structural errors that correct the misleading tone of the passage. The passages in this section are informational, narrative, explanatory and augmentative. However, a few might contain infographics like tables and charts.
SAT Mathematics
The mathematics section of SAT evaluates a candidate's mathematical reasoning skills based on which they will be graded in a score range of 200-800 points. The section contains 58 questions and is 80 minutes long. Out of 58 questions, 80% of questions are MCQs, and 20% of questions are student-produced response questions, widely known as Grid-ins. Grid-ins is where the candidate will not choose from the four options available but will have to solve the mathematical problem and enter the answer by circling or shading the correct answer. The section is further divided into two parts -the no Calculator section and the Calculator section. The 'No Calculator' section has 15 MCQs and 5 Grid-ins, whereas, in the 'Calculator' section, there are 30 multiple-choice questions and 8 Grid-ins. Candidates will also be given a list of formulas for reference.
SAT Exam Pattern is crucial information that an aspirant who wants to study abroad should know. For more such understanding about SAT exam, visit the official website of SAT.
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