SAT Sections: A Full Breakdown Of Each

Students are required to submit a SAT score that meets school requirements in order to be eligible for college. College Board administers the SAT, a three-part test that allows students to establish a baseline for colleges and universities.

Each section on the SAT tests students' knowledge and skills. Writing, reading, math skills are all covered in the SAT sections. Each section is given a certain number of questions as well as a time limit. The overall exam shows your strengths, weaknesses and potential future.

The SAT is the gateway to college. You're demonstrating that you're ready for the future and prepared for challenges by taking the SAT. The test can be overwhelming, but there are numerous guides to help you prepare for the exam.

Preparation is a great way to increase your score and it can be very helpful.

Sections of SAT

Sections of the SAT test high school math, reading, and writing skills. The reading section tests your comprehension skills, along with your basic historical and literary knowledge. The writing section assesses your grammar, communication, and writing skills.

The math section is where you will be tested on basic algebra and statistics.

The SAT exam's reading section

Multiple choice questions are used to test your knowledge of history and literature. The majority is covered by your comprehension and critical thinking skills. You will also be tested on your knowledge of literature and history.

For some passages in the SAT section, it can help to have a prior knowledge. History and literature classes from high school can help you improve your grammar and language skills.

Three skills are required for the reading portion. You should be able to comprehend the passage and use your critical reading skills.

You will be able to narrow down your options and get the right answers. It is a good idea to review the passage before you start reading the questions. This will make it easier and save you time.

You will also need to be able to use rhetorical and synthesis-based skills in order answer other questions on the SAT Reading exam. These questions could ask you to draw conclusions about a passage and apply them to other information. You may be asked to draw graphs in order to help interpret what you just read.

The SAT Mathematics Examination

You will need everything for this section of the SAT. You may need a calculator that conforms to the College Board's requirements for the Math section. This calculator is your only tool other than pencils. College Board recommends knowing how to use your calculator.

Algebra is the first topic section of the SAT. Expect to solve basic functions, simplify them, then plug in answers into multiple-choice exam pages. They will be available in the exam book. Make sure you are familiar with the formulas for the SAT section.

The data analysis section on the SAT Math tests your ability and understanding of graphs. Basic probability and data-based math skills are required.

The advanced section of a math test is, by far, the hardest. These sections may seem unfamiliar to students, but test preparation will make a big difference. You may see higher-level math questions. You might be asked questions that involve calculus.

Language and Writing Tests for the SAT

Writing and Language SAT is a section that tests your grammar and vocabulary. This section requires you to be familiar with all the SAT vocabulary. This multiple-choice section will ask you questions about academic papers.

These questions will let you know how to improve a sentence or fix data errors. This section will help you distinguish between persuasive and informational writing styles. Overall, this section is the easiest on the SAT.

Optional SAT Essay

The optional SAT essay cannot be taken as part of an overall exam for most students. However, some states may require students to complete the optional essay in order to pass their state-provided SAT testing. This list includes:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma

An essay must be written to respond to a brief passage of text, and should not exceed 650-750 words. The essay is a test of students' writing and persuasive skills.

Although the reading prompt may be different for each testing day, the prompt must be answered the same way. You will need to respond to the prompt by explaining how the writer used reasoning and evidence to support their argument. Please include details about the argument used, including logos, pathos/ethos, and other pertinent information.

Time for each SAT Section

Each section of SAT contains a specific number and a fixed amount of time. The test makers weigh the questions and decide how long students should spend each section. Some sections will require that you work very quickly, so it is important to be efficient and fast while still answering all questions correctly.

Reading Section

The reading test is the longest section. This is due to the time it takes to read the passages. It takes 65 minutes to complete 52 questions. Prepare to work at your normal pace. Each section will have about 10 to 11 questions.

Before you start a new chapter, make sure to read through the questions. Sometimes, the answers may be already known from high school English or literature classes. This will save you time and allow you to read the passage faster.

Then, return to the original questions you debated between two answers. But don't just settle for the first piece. You may be asked by test makers to pay attention to your passage selection and include readings that recontextualize the topic with additional information.

Timing of the Math Section

The SAT mathematics section is the longest section. It is divided into two separate parts. You will need to complete the first section in 55 minutes.

This section will be your friend and the best place to use your calculator. This section is where your calculator will be your best friend. However, not all scientific and graphing calculators are approved. If possible, make sure to bring spare batteries!

This section of the SAT is shorter, taking 25 minutes to complete 20 questions. This part is considered easier by many students as it does not require a calculator. Instead, it focuses on mental math and is more straightforward. This section is important so you should work hard and use scratch paper for more difficult functions.

This section is where you should not spend too much time answering a question. You might not know the answers to some of these questions. If time is short, you can guess the answer.

Timing for the Writing and language Section

The Writing and Language section is far and away the most simple section of SAT. This section has 44 questions and four passages of reading. The exam takes 35 minutes. Each student is given 35 minutes to complete the exam.

This section of the SAT is easy to use if you focus more on the question than the reading. Reading is more about correcting mistakes and writing clearly.

How to prepare for each SAT Section

Preparing for the test requires you to study in a different way depending on what section of the SAT you are taking.

For your math skills, reviewing the concepts and comparing them with examples is the best method. Writing section requires memorization by rote. You can read faster, and have better comprehension. Try harder literature.

Students can create their own strategies to pass this section of the SAT. This information can serve as a starting point for your studies. This information is easily accessible online.

You can find out more about the SAT preparation.

College has created preparation guides. You can also use Khan Academy's video and study classes, or get professional tutoring. They can increase scores by more than 100 points per student.

Preparing to Read Section

Take practice exams and questions to help prepare for the reading section. There are many resources to help you prepare. You should allow yourself enough time. This section should not be difficult if you are a diligent reader.

Multiple choice tests are not to be underestimated. This type of question can be difficult if you include answers that are not as correct or slightly different. You must answer correctly.

You can also improve your reading speed to help prepare. This will save you time and allow you to think more clearly. Don't overthink or second-guess yourself. The SAT requires you to be able to test take.

Preparing to take the Math Section

The Math section on the SAT is most difficult. You should devote your time to it. Because you are not prepared for advanced math in highschool, it is important to practice questions and learn as much as you can. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Previous SAT exams are a great source of practice for math problems. College Board posts exam scores and provides answers to help you avoid possible cheating. These are easy to access and free.

Preparing to write Section

Grammar is a section of the SAT that tests your ability to communicate and write correctly. With this in mind vocabulary is what you should be learning. Flashcards can be an excellent way to learn these words and to increase your vocabulary.

High school is also preparing students for the SAT exam. Your math and English classes will help you prepare for the exam. It is important to keep your grades high and study for the SAT side by side. Do not let this exam stress you out and cause your grades to drop. Relax and concentrate.

FAQs about SAT Sections

Are you looking for more information about the SAT sections of the test? These are the most frequently asked questions.

1. What is the SAT cost to take?

The fee for the SAT is $55. If you are unable to afford the fee, there is a variety of payment options. Financial assistance is available for students who are from low-income households. Students who can afford to take on student debt will be able to pay less.

Depending upon when and how the SAT is taken, some schools may even arrange for seniors to take it at school. If so, they may even pay for the exam. Most students will be able to pay the fee and take the test themselves.

2. How do I balance all my work?

Start early if you are having trouble balancing your SAT study time and schedule. Although most students schedule their SAT test dates in junior year, there are still options.

It's possible to fit it in wherever you can, so try to take the exam between your senior and junior years of high school. This is the perfect time to begin preparing for college and get it done before your busy year.

3. What is the SAT's Time Limit?

The SAT should be completed in three hours without breaks. An optional essay takes an additional hour. You can finish the course early if you want to rework difficult questions you weren't sure about.

The instructor will often write down the start/stop time of each exam based on the clock that is in the room. Instructors don't usually move forward until the time runs out or students have completed their work. Testing begins at 9 a.m.

4. What should I bring to SAT?

You will need to have a checklist for two parts: the check-in and exam.

Make sure you bring your photo ID and an exam ticket for check-in. They are required in order to be admitted and will prevent you from missing your exam date. You might have to reschedule your exam through College Board, and pay the exam fees again.

You will need to have a good pencil, your calculator, and additional batteries for the exam. A water bottle and possibly a snack may be helpful to you throughout the exam. Keep your hands clear of the test book.

5. Is it a good idea to retake SAT

You can always take the SAT again if it helps you improve your score. To improve your chances of getting into college, you may want to take the SAT again if you received a low score or an average score. The ideal score is the one that will be most useful for your school's incoming freshmen. The better.

It is possible to take the SAT while you are still in high school. It could be a great benefit if you're looking to transfer schools and/or to obtain a college degree with unique qualifications.

6. Are Colleges Interested in My SAT Score?

Yes! Colleges require that you take the test to determine your score. Your score will help determine whether you are a good fit for the college's academic requirements. Your scores should be sent to your college so they know you're interested in their program.

Last Thoughts

Now you are more familiar with each section of the SAT. While each section is unique, these tips will help you prepare for each section. You should tailor your study schedule to suit your strengths.

Fear not the SAT. Your future is not determined by the test. You decide. You can decide how long it takes you to prepare. Reach out if you need assistance.


  • kaydenmarsh

    I am Kayden Marsh, 34yo educational blogger and school teacher. I am a mother of two young children, and I love spending time with them and learning new things. I also enjoy writing about education and children's issues, and I hope to continue doing so for the rest of my life.

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