SAT Exam Pattern has gone digital since March 2023, is divided into two main sections: reading and writing (RW) and maths. The scores for the RW and Math portions each range from 200 to 800. Digital SAT exam questions are MCQ-based, and certain maths problems require candidates to write their response rather than simply selecting it. One of the main benefits of the new SAT pattern is that there is still no negative marking, so if a candidate doesn’t know the answer, they can still guess and respond rather than skipping the question entirely.
The SAT exam pattern 2023 has undergone a few changes since the new digital SAT exam was introduced for international students. The overall length of the SAT exam has been shortened, calculator use is now permitted for all problems in the Math part, and the Reading and Writing sections of the SAT are now combined rather than being assessed separately as they were in the past.

SAT Digital Exam Pattern Highlights

The year 2023 will see the administration of the SAT exam in a digital format, marking a departure from the traditional paper-based method. The upcoming Digital SAT differs significantly from its predecessor, with an added benefit of providing 43% more time for each question. In addition to its extended time allocation, the revamped SAT exam is shorter in duration and features a modified test pattern. This article aims to highlight the SAT syllabus for each section that is evaluated in the exam.

The below table provides an idea about the SAT Digital test pattern. Candidates will get to know about the duration, number of questions, score range, and more.

SAT Digital Parameters SAT Digital Reading & Writing (RW) Section SAT Digital Math Section
Format Two-staged: one tests Reading and the other the Writing section. Both are administered across separately timed modules. Two-staged: The math section is administered via two separately timed modules.
Test length (total operational and pretest questions)

1st module:

  • 25 operational questions
  • 2 pretest questions

2nd module:

  • 25 operational questions
  • 2 pretest questions

1st module:

  • 20 operational questions
  • 2 pretest questions

2nd module:

  • 20 operational questions
  • 2 pretest questions
Time Duration 1st module: 32 minutes 2nd module: 32 minutes 1st module: 35 minutes 2nd module: 35 minutes
Total Questions 54 44
Total Time Allocated 64 minutes 70 minutes
Scores Reported Total score calculation: RW + Math section scores Total score calculation: RW + Math section scores
Question Type(s) Discrete; MCQs with four options MCQ (75%) and student-produced response (SPR)(25%)
Topics Tested Literature, History / Social Studies, Humanities and Science Science, Social Science and real-world related topics
Informational Graphics Tested, includes – tables, bar graphs, line graphs Also tested

SAT Exam Pattern 2023

The SAT question paper pattern is based on two main sections – evidence-based reading and writing, and mathematics.

Section Sub-section Number of Operational Questions Number of Pre-test Questions Time Limit (min.) Score Range
Evidence-based Reading and Writing Module 1 25 2 64 200-800
Module 2 25 2
Mathematics Module 1 20 2 70 200-800
Module 2 20 2
Total 4 Modules 90 8 134 minutes 400-1600

SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

The SAT exam pattern of SAT EBRW consists of reading and writing sections.

SAT Reading Test

The reading section of the SAT exam consists of five distinct passages, each ranging from 500 to 700 words in length. Each passage covers a different topic or theme from the SAT syllabus. After reading each passage, students are required to demonstrate their comprehension and assessment of the text by answering sets of 10 to 11 questions related to the subject matter.

The five types of passages that appear in the reading section are:

  • A passage from a work of fiction
  • One to two passages on a topic of global interest, such as a famous speech or document
  • A passage from a social science document, which may include subjects like history, economics, or psychology
  • Two passages from the field of science, covering topics like earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics.

Types of Questions

In the SAT reading section, students must answer a series of questions about each of the five given passages. The questions are in multiple-choice format and fall into three categories, which are as follows:

  • Understanding the Author’s Use of Evidence: This category requires students to identify how the author used evidence to develop their argument. Students must select the correct phrase or section in the passage that supports their answer.
  • Meaning of Words in Context: In this category, students are asked to identify the meaning of specific words or phrases within the context of the passage. Additionally, students must analyze how the author’s use of a particular word or phrase shapes the overall tone and intention of the text.
  • Analysis of Non-fiction: The topics for this category generally include history, social studies, and science. Here, students must examine the argument and evidence presented in the passage and answer questions related to the given data, argument, and impact of the text.

SAT Writing and Language Test

In the writing and language section of the SAT exam, students are presented with four separate texts, each consisting of approximately 400 to 450 words. After reading each text, students must answer 11 multiple-choice questions related to grammar and punctuation errors in the passage.

  • The writing and language section of the SAT exam consists of four texts, each around 400-450 words long.
  • The texts cover various topics, such as history, social science, science, arguments, theories, and more.
  • Some texts may also include graphs and graphics to provide additional information or support the argument presented.
  • The primary focus of this section is to identify and correct any grammatical and punctuation errors in the given texts.

Types of Questions

The SAT writing and language section comprises two different types of questions that assess both the content and structure of the text. These question types include:

  • Expression of the writer’s ideas: Students must answer questions related to the strength and effectiveness of the writer’s message. This involves identifying the author’s structure, language, and use of evidence to evaluate the overall quality of their argument.
  • Use of grammar and punctuation: In this section, students must identify any grammar and punctuation mistakes in the given text. Common mistakes may include errors in sentence structure, incomplete sentences, or incorrect usage of punctuation marks.

SAT Mathematics

The SAT math section includes both a calculator and non-calculator section, as well as a written answer section known as the “grid in”. The structure of the math section, including question types and timings for both calculator and non-calculator questions, is provided in the table below-

Calculator or Non- Calculator Number of Multiple Choice Questions Number of Grid in Questions Total time
Calculator 30 8 55 minutes
Non-Calculator 15 5 25 minutes

Type of Questions

The math section of the SAT test is divided into three parts, which include:

  1. Algebra (19 questions): This part assesses the ability of students to solve equations and use formulas to solve math problems.
  2. Data analysis and problem-solving (17 questions): This section assesses the ability of students to analyze data and solve problems in a math context.
  3. Advanced math (16 questions): This section assesses the ability of students to solve complex math problems by applying math formulas, sums, and expressions. Additionally, some questions cover further math subjects such as geometry and trigonometry, with six questions in total for this section.

Majorly comprised of questions from the above topics, the sections also have questions from additional topics in math which includes –

  • Area and Volume
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Basic Trigonometry

Difference between SAT Mathematics Level 1 and Level 2

Here is the difference between SAT MAth 1 and 2 tabulated below:

Feature SAT Math Level 1 SAT Math Level 2
Topics covered Algebra, geometry, number properties, probability and statistics Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, number properties, probability and statistics
Level of difficulty Lower Higher
Recommended coursework Two years of algebra and one year of geometry Two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one year of trigonometry/precalculus
Time limit 60 minutes 60 minutes
Number of questions 50 50
Calculator allowed Yes Yes
Score range 200-800 200-800
Average score 530 570

SAT Essay

  • One passage between 650-750 words is given to read and respond.
  • The time limit to complete the essay is 50 minutes.
  • The essay assesses an individual’s ability to analyze an author’s argument by focusing on their use of evidence, reasoning, and rhetorical techniques.
  • The prompt will be the same in every test, but the reading selection will change.
  • The essay task requires analyzing how the author builds an argument to persuade the audience of their claim.
  • The essay should not express personal opinions or summarize the passage’s content.
  • The passages will be “arguments written for a broad audience” that aim to persuade the reader of the author’s claim.
  • The essay should focus on how the author assembles their argument using examples from the passage itself.

Types of Questions

The passage for essay in every SAT may vary, however, all the passages consist of the following points:

  • Written for a broad audience
  • Argue a point
  • Express subtle views on complex subjects
  • Use logical reasoning and evidence to support claims
  • Examine ideas, debates, or trends in the arts and sciences, or civic, cultural, or political life
  • Always taken from published works

How to Prepare for SAT?

Preparing for the SAT exam can be overwhelming, but with the right resources and strategies, it can be manageable. Here are some tips to help you get ready for the SAT:

  • Set a target score: Knowing the score you need for your desired college or university can give you a goal to work towards. Use online tools to research the required scores, then set a target for your own SAT exam score. This will help you identify the areas you need to focus on during your studies.
  • Use College Board exam guides: College Board provides free SAT study guides that cover each section of the exam, including advice on how to study and what to expect on test day. These guides also offer helpful tips on answering questions and filling out the exam paper.
  • Practice past questions: The best way to prepare for the SAT is to practice. College Board offers eight different practice papers on their website, or you can check with your school or college for past papers. You can take the practice exam under timed conditions to simulate a real test environment, or work through the questions at your own pace to understand the different sections and content.
  • Have the necessary resources and equipment: Before taking the test, make sure you have all the resources and equipment you need, such as a pencil, eraser, calculator, timer, and a printer (if you want to practice with physical paper).

Overall, there are many resources available to help you prepare for the SAT exam, including exam guides, past papers, and online study guides. With dedication and consistent practice, you can increase your chances of achieving your target score and reaching your academic goals.

SAT Preparation Books

Along with SAT practice tests, and regular SAT mock tests candidates need authentic study materials for their preparations. Below are some of the best SAT preparation books for preparation of SAT questions:

  • Official SAT Guide 2020 Edition
  • SAT Prep Black Book
  • The Official SAT Study Guide 2018 Edition- Check PDF
  • The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar – Check PDF
  • Barron’s Premium SAT Study Guide- Check PDF
  • Kalli’s SAT Pattern Strategy – Check PDF
  • Kaplan SAT Prep Plus 2021- Check PDF
  • The Princeton Review’s Cracking the SAT, 2020 Edition – Check PDF
  • McGraw Hill Education SAT Elite 2021 Edition – Check PDF

Sample Questions For SAT

SAT SAT Practice Tests SAT Answer Sheet SAT Answers Explanation
SAT Practice Test 1 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 2 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 3 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 4 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 5 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 6 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 7 Check Here Check Here Check Here
SAT Practice Test 8 Check Here Check Here Check Here
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