You will be asked to apply your knowledge in reading, writing, language, and math to answer questions in science and history/social studies contexts. Questions will require you to read and understand texts and to synthesize information presented through texts and graphics.
The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. Since it was debuted by the College Board in 1926, its name and scoring have changed several times; originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it was later called the Scholastic Assessment Test.
Scores / grades used by: Most universities and colleges offering undergraduate programs in the U.S.
Knowledge / skills tested: Writing, critical reading, mathematics
Annual number of test takers: Over 2.22 million high school graduates in the class of 2019
Developer / administrator: College Board, Educational Testing Service
Purpose: Admission to undergraduate programs of universities or colleges
Offered: 7 times annually
The SAT tests skills that you are learning in high school—skills you’re likely to need in college and beyond. Here are some of the content areas and question formats you can expect to see on the SAT:
Words in context
You will be tested on words that appear frequently in high-school-level and college-level texts.
Command of evidence
The evidence-based reading and writing section of the SAT will ask you to analyze, synthesize, and interpret data from a wide range of sources. These sources include informational graphics—such as tables, charts, and graphs—as well as multi-paragraph passages in the following areas: literature and literary nonfiction; the humanities; science; history and social studies; work and career.
For every passage or pair of passages you’ll see during the Reading Test, at least one question will ask you to identify which part of the text best supports the answer to the previous question. In other instances, you’ll be asked to find the best answer to a question by pulling together information conveyed in words and graphics.
The Writing and Language Test also focuses on command of evidence. It will ask you to analyze a series of sentences or paragraphs and decide if they make sense. Other questions will ask you to interpret graphics and to edit a part of the accompanying passage so that it clearly and accurately communicates the information in the graphics.
The SAT essay also tests your command of evidence. After reading a passage, you’ll be asked to determine how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience through the use of evidence, reasoning, or stylistic and persuasive devices.
Essay analyzing a source
The SAT essay is optional—it asks you to analyze how an author uses evidence, reasoning, and other stylistic evidence to craft a persuasive argument.
The Math that matters most
The Math Test focuses in depth on three essential areas of math: Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Heart of Algebra, and Passport to Advanced Math.
- Questions from the Problem Solving and Data Analysis area will require you to use ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning to solve problems in science, social science, and career contexts.
- Questions from the Heart of Algebra area focus on the mastery of linear equations and systems, which help students develop key powers of abstraction.
- The Passport to Advanced Math questions focus on more complex equations and the manipulation they require.
Problems grounded in real-world contexts
Throughout the SAT—in the Math Test, the Reading Test, and the Writing and Language Test—you will be asked questions grounded in the real world, directly related to work performed in college and career.
Analysis in science and analysis in history/social studies
Founding documents and great global conversations.
These reading passages focus on major founding political documents and the great global conversations they inspire.
Length of the SAT
The SAT is three hours long test. The optional Essay is an additional 50 minutes.
Here are the main components of the SAT:
Reading Test – 65 minutes, 52 questions
Writing and Language Test – 35 minutes, 44 questions
Math Test – two sections:
1) No calculator – 25 minutes, 20 questions
2) Calculator permitted – 55 minutes, 38 questions
Optional essay section (50 minutes)
The SAT is scored on a 400 to 1600 scale. You will also receive subscore reporting for every test—math, reading, and writing and language—plus additional subscores to provide added insight into your test performance.
No penalty for guessing
No points are deducted for wrong answers, so don’t leave anything blank!
Get expert advice to plan your future
Just Provide a message we are ready to reach you.
Through a conversation with one of our Education Counsellors, you can be sure you’re making an informed decision on your future study. There’s nothing worse than signing up for a course that you are not passionate about studying and will set you back thousands of dollars.