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


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