Cracking the SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) gets students into the best colleges in the US and several other countries – a dream for millions of students worldwide. If you’re planning to write an SAT in the coming weeks, knowing the SAT exam pattern should be the first task on your list.
Are you still, confused about the SAT exam pattern? You may need not worry, as we have got you covered! In this blog, we’ll be explaining everything you need to know about the SAT Exam Pattern 2021. But before we dive deeper into the exam pattern, it’s crucial to understand the basics of the competitive exam.
What is SAT?
SAT is a standardised test taken by nearly 3 million students every year to take admissions into some of the top colleges of the US. The exam tests the college readiness of school students who plan to take the next step in the educational world.
The College Board conducts the exam every year in nearly 7000 centres in more than 170 countries. Besides the US, SAT scores are accepted by universities in the UK, Australia, or Canada. SAT is conducted in a pen and paper-based exam seven times a year for US students and five times a year for international students.
For more in depth understanding of what’s New in SAT: Quickly Read: What’s New in SAT 2021: Syllabus Updates, New Marking Scheme and More!
SAT Exam Pattern
SAT is a 180 minutes exam without the essay section or 230 minutes with the essay section. The exam comprises 154 questions. Students can score a maximum of 1600 marks and a minimum of 400 on SAT.
Here’s a list of essential details you need to know about the SAT:
|SAT Pattern Details|
|Total Number of Sections||4 + 1(Optional Essay)|
|SAT Duration||180 minutes (Without Essay) or 230 minutes (With Essay)|
|Total Number of Questions||154|
|Types of Question||141 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) + 13 Grid-in|
|Mode of Examination||Pen and Paper|
The breakup of SAT sections
The SAT exam has two major sections – Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Mathematics. The Evidence-based Reading section has two further sub-sections: Reading, Writing and Language.
The Mathematics section also has two further sub-sections: Math No-Calculator and Math Calculator. There is also an optional essay section in the paper. A few universities in the US require students to appear for the optional essay section for applying to the school.
Here’s a breakup of all the SAT sections:
|Section||Number of questions||Time (Minutes)|
|Writing and Language||44||35|
|Math No Calculator||20||25|
|Total:||154 (+1 optional essay)||3 hours (3 hours 50 mins with essay)|
SAT Section-Wise Questions
SAT EBRW format
The SAT EBRW consists of two sub-sections: reading and writing. Here’s the breakup of how the sections will appear in SAT 2021:
SAT Reading Test Section Format
Students need to attempt 52 multiple choice questions in the SAT Reading Test section against five different passages. Candidates get 65 minutes to attempt the section. Here’s the list of topics for the passages:
- One fictional passage from American or International literature
- A passage or a two on the US founding or Great Global
- One passage on topics such as freedom, liberty, justice and human rights, among others
- A passage from core subjects such as economics, psychology, and sociology, among others.
- Two science passages are also included in the section.
SAT Writing and Language Section Format
Students need to attempt 44 questions in the SAT Writing and Language section in 35 minutes. Candidates revise and edit passages related to science, humanities, and history, among others. The section tests the following three skills:
- Command of Evidence
- Words in Context
- Expression of Ideas
SAT Mathematics Format
As mentioned above, SAT Math has two sections – Math Calculator and Math No Calculator. A total of 58 questions are asked in the SAT Math section, of which 38 questions are in the Math Calculator section, while the Math No-Calculator section has a total of 20 questions.
45 questions in the SAT Math section are MCQ based, while 13 are grid ins. The Math Calculator section has 30 MCQs and eight grid-ins, while the Math No-Calculator section has 15 MCQs and five grid-ins.
Here’s the breakup of topics under the Math SAT section:
|Three Major Areas||Topics|
|Heart of Algebra||Linear equations, systems of linear equations, linear functions|
|Passport to Advanced Math||Quadratic equations and expressions, manipulating polynomials, exponents and radicals, exponential equations, zeros and factors, functions, variables of interest|
|Problem Solving and Data Analysis||Ratios, percentages, unit conversion and unit rate, lines of best fit, relationships between variables, Statistics|
SAT Essay Format
‘Essay’ is the only optional section in the SAT exam that requires students to write an essay on a topic within a 50-minute time limit. Here are the skills that are tested in the Essay section:
In the SAT exam, candidates are awarded a scaled score between 200 and 800 points for each of the two major sections. This means that students can receive a final score of 400 to 1600 for SAT 2021.
For the optional essay section, College Board follows a different marking section. Students can receive a score between 2 to 8 in the optional essay section of the SAT exam. The equating formulae keep changing from exam to exam, so no one really knows for sure how the raw score obtained in the exam translates to a scaled score.
SAT is a three-hour-long exam without the optional essay section. Candidates get a five-minute break after every hour, meaning that there are two breaks in SAT exam – one each at the end of the Reading section and the Math No Calculator.
Moreover, candidates appearing for the optional essay also get an extra 5-minute break before the beginning of the section.
|SAT Reading||52 multiple-choice questions||65 minutes|
|SAT Writing & Language||44 multiple-choice questions||35 minutes|
|Math No Calculator||20 (15 multiple-choice and 5 Grid in questions)||25 minutes|
|Math Calculator||38 (30 multiple-choice and 8 Grid in questions)||55 minutes|
|SAT Essay (Optional)||1 prompt||50 minutes|
By now, students aiming to crack the SAT 2021 must be aware of all the ins and outs of the exam format. If you’re planning to get admission to a top university or college, then you should now kick off your preparations in full swing. With all the right tips and preparation strategies, you’ll easily score more than 1200 on SAT to get into the college of your dreams. All the best, buddy!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What is the total score for SAT exam?
Candidates can get a minimum score of 400 and a maximum score of 1600 in the SAT score if they don’t appear for the optional essay section. Students gain additional scores for the essay section.
Q2. Does SAT have a syllabus?
A few sections in SAT have a defined syllabus while others don’t. For instance, in both the Maths sub-sections, the number of topics one needs to prepare is limited.
Q3. What are the Different Types of SAT?
There are two different types of SAT – one without the optional Essay section and the other with the optional Essay section.
Q4. What is the Duration of SAT?
Candidates need to sit for three hours for the SAT exam without the optional essay section and three hours and fifty minutes with the optional section. In comparison, the ACT is four hours long.
Q5. What is the fee for the SAT Exam?
Candidates need to pay a $55 fee to sit in the SAT Exam. Several additional fees such as ‘Change Registration’, ‘Cancel Registration’, and ‘Late Cancel Registration’, among others, are also applicable in several cases.