SAT Exam Syllabus (2018-19)


SAT is a paper-based standardized test that is used as one of the entrance criteria for admission to universities and colleges in the US. School students from around the world take the SAT to showcase their college-preparedness and skills that they have developed at school.

SAT has the following test format:

SAT Test Format

SECTION QUESTIONS TIME IN MINUTES
Reading 52 65
Writing and Language 44 35
Math 58 80
SAT Essay 1 task 50

The SAT exam lasts for 3 hours and 50 minutes if you choose to write the essay. The score ranges from 400-1600. Take a look at the latest SAT syllabus 2018-19 and make sure that you are headed in the right direction with your SAT prep.

  1. Reading

    This section is a part of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing component of the SAT. It consists of 4-5 passages and a total of 52 questions. You are required to read and understand these passages and answer the questions that follow within 65 minutes.

    Each 500-750 words-long passage may be taken from:

    • Classic or contemporary work of US or world literature
    • Document or speech related to the Constitution and founding of the US
    • A selection about economics, psychology, sociology, etc.

    Each passage is followed by 10-12 multiple-choice questions with four answer choices. Broadly speaking, the questions are of the following types:

    • Main idea or central theme of the passage
    • Explanation or inference of a phrase used in the passage
    • Function of a phrase or sentence in the passage
    • Style, tone, perspective or attitude of the author
    • Evidence that supports a stance
    • Data analysis on the basis of diagrams, charts or graphs

    SAT does not expect you to have prior knowledge of the passage topics as the questions that are asked are always based on the passage. However, familiarity with these topics is recommended because one, it helps you develop a reading habit and two, it is a definitive confidence-building measure.

  2. Writing and Language

    This section is a part of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing component of the SAT. It consists of 4 passages and a total of 44 multiple-choice questions. You are required to read and understand these passages and answer the questions that follow in 35 minutes.

    Each passage may be taken from articles or write-ups related to:

    • Careers
    • Science
    • History or Social Studies
    • Humanities

    Commonly-asked question types are based on:

    • Strengthen/weaken the argument
    • Word choice regarding text, style or tone
    • Structural changes to ensure correctness or improve readability
    • Sentence structure, punctuation, grammar usage involving verb tense, parallel construction, subject-verb agreement, etc.

    Prior knowledge of topics is not required as all questions lie within the scope of the passage. Some passages may be accompanied by graphs or charts that check your interpretative skills (not mathematical skills).

    Together, the above two sections are scored on a scale of 200-800.

  3. Math

    The Math component of the SAT has two parts: Math Test-Calculator and Math Test-No calculator. Math Test-Calculator has 38 questions to be answered within 55 minutes and Math Test-No Calculator has 20 questions to be answered within 25 minutes. The calculator part of the test involves complex calculations that necessitates the use of calculator, but if you are comfortable you can choose not to use one. Check out SAT-approved calculators.

    The Math test focuses on three core areas:

    • Heart of Algebra

      Linear equations with rational coefficients, system of linear equations(with no solution, finite or infinite solutions), linear inequalities in two variables and their systems, graphical representation of linear function.

    • Problem-solving and Data Analysis

      Percentages; ratio and proportion; unit conversion; equation of line or curve using a scatterplot; two-way tables to calculate conditional frequencies and conditional probabilities; association of variables or independence of events; estimation of a population parameter; calculation of mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation in statistics; evaluation of reports to check appropriateness of data collection methods.

    • Passport to Advanced Math

      Quadratic equations with rational coefficients; determination of the most suitable form of an expression; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of polynomial equations; zeros and factors of polynomials, non-linear relationship between two variables, function notation, isolation of a variable by rearrangement of formula or equation.

    SAT provides you with a cheat sheet of important formulae. Although most questions in the Math section are multiple-choice, 22 per cent are grid-in questions wherein a student has to solve the problem, write the correct answer in the box provided and circle the corresponding bubble in the OMR sheet provided.

    The Math section is scored on a scale of 200-800.

  4. SAT Essay

    This is the optional component of the SAT. However, some universities require or recommend it. Check SAT essay requirements in your college of choice.

    SAT essay allows you to demonstrate your reading, analysis and writing skills. You are given 50 minutes to read a 650-750 words-long passage and then write an analysis about how the author builds his or her argument. This type of question is a standard feature of the SAT essay. The passage, of course, varies each time. Remember, you are required to analyse the author’s text and identify the evidence that the author uses to support his or her argument. So, refrain from stating your opinion. Take a look at the SAT Essay Guide to know more.

Whether you have just begun your SAT prep or are nearly done with it, it always helps to streamline your prep with the latest SAT syllabus. Happy prepping!

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