Scholastic aptitude test writing & language
The comprehensive guide to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

The comprehensive guide to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

What is the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT ?

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)

SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test is a standardized and globally recognized test for students seeking admission in Undergraduate programs offered by colleges in the US and Canada. The test is conducted by the College Board and was previously known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Who must appear for SAT? Why?

SAT examination is designed and developed to evaluate the written, verbal and mathematical skills of a student. Students who aspire to pursue undergraduate courses, particularly in the US and Canada, are required to take this test as part of the admission process. Since most of the admission decisions are dependent on SAT scores, students appear for this exam either in their 10th, 11th or 12th grades.


SAT is divided into 2 categories – SAT I & SAT II SAT I include skill assessment of topics taught in high school that includes reading, writing, and mathematical problem-solving.

SAT II or SAT Subject Tests is more focused on a particular subject that a student is keen on pursuing. A handful of selective schools like MIT ask for SAT II scores while most of the major universities only need SAT I scores.

SAT I section includes –

  • Reading - This section includes reading passages and sentence completions.
  • Writing – This section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors, improving grammar and usage.
  • Mathematics - The mathematics section includes arithmetic operations, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Probability problems.

SAT II section has a multiple-choice questionnaire based on the particular subject a student(s) choose to pursue.

SAT Exam Duration

The SAT I duration is 3 hours with 50 minutes extra time allotted for essay. The time allotted for the rest of the test is shown below:


SAT writing has three sections

  • Essay section - 25 min
  • Multiple choice sections - 25 min and 10 min

Critical Reading

SAT contains three critical reading sections

  • Reading comprehension - 25 min
  • Sentence completions - 25 min
  • Paragraph-length critical reading - 20 min


SAT contains three Math sections

  • Algebra and functions - 25 min
  • Geometry Statistics - 20 min
  • Probability and Data analysis - 20 min

SAT II is an hour-long multiple-choice test based with negative-marking for wrong answers.

  • 1/4 point deducted for every incorrect five-choice question
  • 1/3 point deducted for every incorrect four-choice question
  • 1/2 point deducted for every incorrect three-choice question

SAT scoring

The SAT scores were redesigned in 2016 and the highest composite score for the SAT is 1600 points with 1000 points being the average score.

Your section scores are the individual scores for the two main sections - reading/writing and math. Each of these sections is scored out of 800, and they are added together to get your overall score.

The essay is optional and will be shown separately on the report.

Additionally there are cross-test scores and Subscores based on specific areas as shown below:

SAT Score


Score Range


Sum of the two section scores


Section scores

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math


Test scores

Reading, Writing and Language, and Math


SAT Essay scores (optional)

Reading, Analysis, and Writing


Cross-test scores

Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science



Reading and Writing and Language: Command of Evidence and Words in Context
Writing and Language: Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions
Math: Problem Solving and Data Analysis


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