SAT literature is one of the five subject tests offered in the SAT exam. The SAT literature subject test tests the knowledge of historical genres and periods. There are a total of 60 MCQs to be solved in 60 minutes and marked on a scale of 200 – 800. Candidates taking the literature subject test are assessed based on their reading and interpretive skills.

SAT Literature Subject Test – Overview

The SAT literature subject test assesses the candidate’s knowledge of reading, analyzing literary passages from a wide range of ancient periods and genres. Taking this SAT literature test will increase the chances of candidates to get admitted to top colleges.

  • Score range: 200-800
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Number of questions: 60 MCQs
  • Offered in the months of August, October, November, December, May, and June

SAT Literature Subject Test – Detailed Syllabus

Following are the 9 main sub-topics based on which the English literature SAT subject test is built:

SAT Literature Subject Test Topics Areas Weightage
American Literature Written by US Authors 40 – 50%
English Literature Produced by British Authors 40-50%
Other English Literature Written by authors from India, Ireland, Canada, and the Caribbean 0-10%
Renaissance and 17th Century 30%
18th and 19th centuries 30%
20th century 40%
Prose Passages Mostly excerpts from passages and fiction 40-50%
Poetry Mostly whole poems, few selections excerpted from longer works 40-50%
Drama and other 0 – 10%

From the detailed syllabus, we can figure out that the SAT literature subject test requires the candidates to cover certain skills:

  • Analyzing the themes and meanings of a particular text/passage;
  • Figure out denotations/connotations of words in a passage;
  • Identify the genre/development/organization of a passage;
  • Answer to an author’s viewpoint which includes – diction, imagery, symbolic language;
  • Evaluate the features of narration, which includes narrative voice, tone, and viewpoint;
  • Evaluate poetry with regard to speaker, audience, function, and motive;
  • Figure out the characterization in narrative and dramatic collections in SAT reading literature.

SAT Literature Subject Test Question Types

The SAT literature subject test questions comprise 6 to 8 reading passages taken from distinctive literary pieces which are followed by 4 to 12 questions. All the SAT English literature subject test questions are multiple-choice.

  • From the 5 answer choices, the correct one that matches the question needs to be selected.
  • The candidate then needs to fill the bubble on the answer sheet with the correct answer.
  • Concentrate on words like ‘LEAST’ or ‘EXCEPT, or ‘NOT’ present in the questions.

To be able to understand the question type even better, SAT literature subject test practice is required.

SAT Literature Subject Test Score

Like every other SAT subject test, the SAT literature subject test is marked on a score range of 200 – 800. The scores fall 30 to 40 marks approximately higher or lower than the actual score since the performance level varies in each test.

The SAT literature subject test is calculated on the number of accurate answers received from the answer sheet which forms the raw scores. There is also percentile rank which marks the position of the candidate by comparing their score to other test-takers.

For instance, if a candidate has an SAT score of 650 whose percentile rank is 55 then he or she has scored better than 55% of the population.

SAT Literature Subject Test Scores Percentile Ranks
800 99
750 90
700 74
650 55
600 38
550 25
500 16
450 9
400 4
350 1

From the above SAT literature subject test score and percentile table, it can be clearly understood that the higher the score the better the percentile rank. SAT literature subject test curve states the comparison of the performance level of other candidates.

SAT Literature Subject Test: Evaluation Method

The SAT literature subject test answer sheet is securely delivered to the tracking center and then measured. The scanning process involves:

  • Marking the accurate answers selecting from the bubbles
  • For 5 answer-choice question, ¼ of the marks is deducted
  • For 4 answer-choice questions, the marks deducted is ⅓
  • For 3 answer-choice questions, the fraction of marks deducted is ½

Note: To ensure better accuracy of analyzing, always use a No. 2 pencils and a soft eraser instead of a mechanical pencil. Cover the whole bubble completely and darkly. In case you modify a particular response, completely erase the answer.

SAT Literature Subject Test: Delivery of Scores

The SAT subject test registration is either done online or by mail. Candidates will receive a notification demonstrating how to access their online SAT subject test score report. The schools and colleges receive the marks shortly after the candidates receive the same.

SAT Literature Preparation Tips

Since the SAT 2 literature test mainly tests high-school English knowledge, there are certain SAT preparation tips to be followed specifically for this subject test:

  1. Reading old works: SAT literature subject test will comprise different eras – Old English, Middle English, Renaissance, to 20th-century literature. Constant reading of poetry and prose, especially classics will result in proficiency.
  2. Literary concepts and terms: Terms like metaphor, simile, imagery, symbolism, motif, allegory are a few of the important literary concepts to be noted during SAT literature subject test practice test.
  3. Practice literary analysis: This requires the candidate to closely identify the meaning of the author’s tone and prepare an argument. Reading poetry helps in making up arguments.
  4. A thorough reading of passages: Focus on interacting with the text by underlining or circling the important parts. You can read the questions before reading the passage, or try the other way depending on your requirement.
  5. Prepare your own answer before looking at the choices: While reading the questions, prepare your own answer and then move on to the answer choices. This is a helpful way to eliminate wrong answer choices.
  6. Don’t make inferences: Only choosing answers that are completely supported by the passage increases the chance of answering correctly.

The above-mentioned information about the SAT literature subject test will help the candidates in getting a clear idea of the syllabus, score, duration, and more.

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