SAT Format 2020


SAT Format

SAT Format


The SAT or the Scholastic Aptitude Test is an offline test that is required for students to take in order to apply to schools and colleges in countries like the USA, Canada, Singapore, etc. This exam is mainly taken by class 11 and class 12 students who want to study abroad for their Undergraduate degree and by students from the above-mentioned countries as well.

The exam consists of two super-sections:

  • EBRW – Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
  • Quantitative Reasoning – Maths

Each of these sections has two sub-sections each:

  • EBRW – Reading Test; Writing & Language Test
  • Math – With Calculator; Without Calculator


Almost all SAT questions are those that would an average student anywhere in the world will be familiar with. This is because SAT questions are mostly from the (US) school curriculum. The questions themselves are not hard on their own, however, when put forth in an examination format, tend to increase the difficulty a bit. The SAT is a computer adaptive test or CAT, which means that even though there is no negative marking, the value of each correct answer is based on the difficulty level of the question. As things stand, the SAT is still a paper-based test. The language of instruction will always be English, irrespective of which country you are from or which country you take the test in.

Below is the format of the SAT:


Super Section

Sub-Section Number of Questions Time Maximum Score


Math with Calculator 38 55 800

Math without a Calculator



Evidence-Based Reading & Writing

Reading Test

52 65 800

Writing & Language Test




1 50


Total 155




SAT Math (Quantitative)

  • The Math section has two types of problems:
  • Questions that you can solve using a calculator – 30 Questions
  • Questions that you must solve WITHOUT using a calculator – 20 Questions
  • A total of 58 questions are there in both the Math sections combined
  • 80% of these questions are MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions)
  • 20% are questions that you will need to pencil in your own answer after having solved the problem. These types of questions are called grid-ins.


SAT Math Syllabus

  • There are FOUR main topics in Math that are tested on the SAT
  • Algebra – everything from linear to simultaneous and quadratic equations
  • Problem Solving – regular word problems on speed, distance, work, Geometry, etc
  • Data Analysis – analyze given data and interpret the relevant information
  • Advanced Math – Covers a range of topics that would scare most people

SAT Format

SAT EBRW (Evidence-Based Reading & Writing)

  • As the name of the section indicates, students are expected to pay attention to what they are reading and decipher the problem in a constructive manner using reasoning methodologies.
  • SAT Reading
  • There are 52 MCQs in 5 passages in the SAT – 65 minutes
  • One Literary passage from International or American fiction
  • One passage from US policies and history (Topics like Freedom, Equality, etc)
  • One passage from economics, psychology, sociology, etc
  • Two Passages from the world of Science (Topics like Biology, Astronomy, Physics, etc)


SAT Reading Syllabus

  • Information and Ideas – What is the point that is trying to be made in the passage you are reading?
  • Rhetoric – The style, tone, and intent of the author
  • Synthesis – Interpretation, and identification of connections and similarities and/or differences expressed with one or more paragraphs.

Writing & Language

  • There are 44 MCQs in 4 passages in the SAT – 35 minutes
  • Revise and Edit the passages
  • Topics like history, science, civics, career, humanities, etc (anything, really)
  • There are 3 main writing modes for passages – Narrate, Argue, and Explain/Infer


Writing & Language Syllabus

  • Standard English Conversations – Fix errors (grammar, syntax, meaning, etc)
  • Expression of Idea – Improve the structure and organizational flow as well as the efficacy of the passage



The SAT Essay can be tricky for a lot of students and may therefore tempt them to avoid writing it as it is the only optional section in the SAT and is the only section that does not count to the overall score out of 1600.


SAT Essay Syllabus

Topics can vary diversely


If you are anyone you know would like to find out more about the SAT and the available exam dates, click here









How to score high on the IELTS/TOEFL/PTE


How to score high on the IELTS/TOEFL/PTE


The following exams are the most common English language proficiency tests that are needed to be taken to attain PR (Permanent Residency) and/or to study abroad in English speaking countries:

  1. IELTS
  2. TOEFL
  3. PTE





The IELTS is the most commonly taken English Language test to apply for immigration or for studying abroad in English speaking countries. A majority of applicants to Canada and UK take the IELTS.




The TOEFL is the second most commonly taken English Language test and is taken mostly by those people applying to the USA for immigration and/or studying abroad. However, the TOEFL can also be taken for countries like UK, Canada, etc.



The PTE is mostly taken by those applying to Australia or New Zealand for immigration or study abroad purposes. Of all the three tests, the PTE is the test that is easiest to score well in.


Test Pattern


All three tests have the same sections:


  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Speaking
  4. Listening




Reading is by far the easiest section to score well in. In this section, you will be given an abstract to read, following which you will be asked a set of questions based on it. To prepare for this section, it is best to read as much as you can during your preparation process. Simple material like News Papers or Movie Reviews can be useful practice for you.




For a lot of people who are non-native speakers of the English Language, this is the hardest section. This is the section that will show the examiner how comfortable you are with the rules of the language and its grammar. If you are not confident or comfortable, kindly sign up for English Language Classes or IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Coaching Centre.




The speaking section is one of the easiest sections across all these three exams. Most of us have been exposed to sufficient English to at least be able to communicate at a functional level. However, a little bit of practice for a month or two will make a considerable difference to your speaking ability. But please be certain to speak ONLY in English for that time period and not any other language.




By far the easiest section, it is very similar to the reading section, however, instead of reading an abstract, you will have to listen to a broadcast or a conversation or a review. After this, you will have to answer a few questions based on what you have heard.




If you are having trouble with any of these sections or exams, please sign up at a good IELTS coaching center or TOEFL coaching center or PTE coaching center. Many times one center can train you for any of the three exams as the training is very similar for all of them.

It is also important to note that a language cannot be taught within a month or two, especially to the level that you need to know to be able to get the required score for your application if you are not a native speaker of English.

However, if you are a native speaker of English, it will only take you 2-4 weeks to familiarize yourself with the format of the exam and train accordingly.


Why doing an MBA is good for entrepreneurs?


MBA for entrepreneurs

There are several potential advantages to doing an MBA. Aspiring entrepreneurs can help themselves by enrolling in graduate business schools, especially the top programs and learn about the basics of managing a business, finances, marketing, and operations management, and also take electives relevant to interests. An MBA also helps improve strategic-thinking skills, develop leadership abilities, and foster managerial effectiveness. These courses will teach them a way to vet their business ideas and obtain and impress investors. Most programs conjointly supply coaching in leadership and cooperation; skills that are very important to helming any organization. By learning frameworks and foundations of general management, aspiring entrepreneurs will learn a lot about how to navigate the first days of startup life. An MBA also teaches you how and where to pick things up if things don’t go as planned.


With these advantages in mind, here are the top 5 Business schools that are the crème de la crème:


    1.University of Pennsylvania: Wharton, USA

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania takes the first place. The courses are taught using the Learning Team model, which Wharton pioneered. This allows students to brainstorm in groups made up of people from a range of diverse careers, interests, and international backgrounds. The average salary three years after graduation is $181,634


  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA

Stanford Graduate School of Business in Stanford, California comes 2nd. It’s a two-year, full-time residential MBA course that builds general management knowledge and gains global experience in year one and goes on to personalize the course in year two. The average salary three years after graduation is $195,322


  1. Harvard Business School, Boston, USA

The Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts has fallen to 3rd this time. Its two-year course promises to provide a personal and professional transformation that would prepare one for challenges in any functional area. The average salary three years after graduation is $178,113


  1. Northwestern University: Kellogg, USA

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Illinois is 4th in line. It offers a range of full-time and flexible business programs. Its one-year full-time program is built upon business fundamentals. The average salary three years after graduation is $164,326



  1. MIT: Sloan, USA

The Sloan Management School at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts is the last of the top 5. Its courses aim to bring leaders together to solve the most complex problems and bring solutions out into the world to improve today and advance tomorrow. The average salary three years after graduation is $165,716



Last year, these top-ranked business schools in the world, received close to 23,000 applications; about 1 in 10 applicants were accepted. Getting admitted to one of these top schools is not solely dependent on your GMAT scores but having a good GMAT score as well as a good application improves the chances of getting into these prestigious institutions.


If you are still not convinced as to why you need an MBA to be an entrepreneur, that’s ok. But if you are convinced, please feel free to contact us on the contact form on our home page.





How to Prepare for the GRE?


The Graduate Record Examination, commonly known as the GRE, is a crucial exam for many aspirants wishing to pursue higher studies abroad. Many candidates appear for the GRE to go abroad for Masters studies, whereas several others attempt the GRE to go abroad to pursue a Ph.D. Regardless of the reason, the most daunting challenge these students face is the preparation of an effective study plan and this is where the top scorers differ from the also-rans.

A strong study plan goes a long way in helping you assess your initial aptitude, which will have a major role to play in determining your preparation timeline and identifying weak areas that need more attention. A good study plan includes diagnostic tests, conceptual reviews, solving questions of all types, and of varying difficulty levels and periodic evaluation with the help of progress trackers and simulated mock-tests.

There are many tips and tricks out there to help you solve the various types of questions that appear on the GRE, however, there aren’t many free study schedules for the GRE. To address this imminent problem, we have outlined below a broad study plan to help you ace the GRE.

Case 1 – You have limited time due to college or work:

Study Time: 3hrs/day

How to split it: For the first 2-3 weeks, familiarize yourself with all the concepts of the GRE quantitative syllabus and practice a few questions of easy to moderate difficulty level. Do this before you start solving complex problems.

Subsequently, the 4th week onwards, start solving the GRE Official Guide and Manhattan 5lb Book.

Once you are familiar with the GRE math problems, the next step would be to focus on learning the definitions and usage of the 4000+ words for the GRE vocabulary section. A good pace to learn at would be about 20-30 words everyday initially and then push that up to 40-50 words after 4-5 weeks.

Following this plan will get you up and ready to take the GRE mock tests in about 4 months. It is highly advisable to take your time in preparing for the GRE and not rushing into it to meet some deadline.

Case 2 – You do not have college or work to hinder your GRE preparation:

Study Time: 6hrs/day

How to split it: For the first 2 weeks, you familiarize yourself with the GRE quant syllabus AND begin learning 20 words per day from the vocabulary syllabus.

Next, the 3rd week onwards, begin solving the GRE Official Guide and the Manhattan 5lb Book, all the while continuing to learn 20 words per day.

By about the 6th-7th week, you should have completed solving a large portion of the GRE quant syllabus, which should then lead you to learn more words per day – about 40.

This method will take you about 3 months to be ready to start taking the GRE mock tests.

For All Cases – Taking the Mock Tests:

It is imperative to understand that the true practice for the GRE is when you take the mock tests and not when you are solving the problems. Solving problems only ensures that you are practicing the concepts and you should know that the GRE is not testing you just on concepts.

You must ensure that you take a minimum of 4 mock tests before your exam and each mock test should be taken within an interval of 3-4 days. The time in between mock tests must be spent in evaluation of your answers that you got both right and wrong including guesswork if any.

Attempting simulated mock tests is extremely important not just to assess your potential score, but also to prepare yourself to solve questions under pressure. This crucial step in the preparation process is likely to make or break your score on the final day. It is advisable to time your study sessions to 3 hours and 30 minutes each since that is the duration of the examination and your mind and body need to have the endurance to perform optimally throughout the test. Moreover, attempting mock tests and studying at the same time of the day as when you will write the exam also goes a long way in preparing you psychologically as well as physiologically for the all-important examination. For example, if you intend to give the exam in the morning, try to study for three and a half hours in the morning or if you intend to give the exam in the evening, it would bode well to study in the evening.


Following these basic tips and preparing an effective study plan is the formula to ensure a stellar GRE score. Learning concepts and solving questions are no doubt important, but they are not sufficient. We at Plan A ensure that our students not only study hard but also study smart so that they can extract the maximum value out of the limited time they have to prepare for the GRE examination.

To know more about the GRE or to register for online classes, kindly feel free to contact us using the contact form on our home page.

GMAT Format


The GMAT is an internationally conducted test that is accepted across many institutions across the world. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is the Graduate Management Admissions Test or GMAT for short and is conducted by GMAC.

The GMAT is mostly taken by people who wish to study business degrees like the MBA or MIM/MSM.

What is tested?

There are 4 types of sections on the GMAT:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment or AWA
  • Integrated Reasoning or IR
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning

GMAT Sections

AWA 1 task 30 minutes
IR 1 section, 12 Questions 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 1 section, 31 Questions Each 62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 1 section, 36 Questions Each 65 minutes



This section tests your ability to:

  • Critically analyze complex ideas
  • Effectively verify claims and corresponding evidence
  • Coherently communicate thoughts with reasons and examples
  • Effectively use grammar and standard elements of English

Quantitative Reasoning

There are two types of questions in this section:

  • Problem Solving
  • Data Sufficiency

The syllabus for the GMAT quant section is basic school level math.



GMAT Quant Syllabus

·         Number Properties ·         Statistics
·         Fractions, Decimals & Percentages ·         Algebra
·         Speed, Rate & Time ·         Word Problems
·         Geometry ·         Data Analysis


The GMAT quant syllabus is comprised mostly of basic concepts of the above topics. While the concepts in and end of themselves are simple, the difficulty level of the questions varies.

Verbal Reasoning

There are three types of questions in this section:

  • Sentence Correction
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension


The main objective of this section is to test your reading and analytical ability. There are many different subcategories of the above question types, some of which can be very tricky.

Download one of our study plans to see what you can do to master all these question types.

For any further details, kindly feel free to contact us using the contact form on our home page.