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SAT Exam 2021:Exam Pattern and Test Format

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SAT, the standardized college entrance exam administered by the College Board, is required to be taken by those students who aspire to study abroad in the US, UK, Canada or any other country supporting SAT. The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) developed that prevails today is to evaluate the candidates' written, verbal, and mathematical skills. 

What is SAT Exam? Colleges and universities leverage this evaluation to assess their candidates’ academic skills. As of the SAT exam of 2021, students can apply for the test online and register for their exam slots for SAT or SAT Subject Tests. To perform your best for the test, you must know the exam pattern, format, and syllabus. We shall rigorously assess them, starting from the exam pattern to its test dates in this blog. 

Types of SAT Exam Pattern: SAT 1 and SAT 2

SAT 1 is known as the SAT that tests the academic skills that students learn from high school. The college-relevant information is tested with multiple-choice questions. The test makes use of an elaborate pattern that underwent specific changes in 2016. The SAT 1 tests your general knowledge and reasoning skills. 

SAT 2 is just another descriptive name for Subject Tests that currently offers 20 different subjects. It has a different structure compared to SAT 1. Even though both are multiple-choice questions, SAT questions contain four answer choices, whereas SAT Subject Tests comprise five options. It means there is a slightly higher possibility of guessing the correct answer in the SAT (25% chance) than on the SAT Subject Test (20% chance). 

In addition, the Subject Tests have a penalty for guessing the wrong answer, but the SAT 1 does not anymore. Comparing the exam’s duration, SAT lasts for 3 hours and 50 minutes (with the essay option), and the SAT Subject Test is a one-hour test accepted in particular colleges.

SAT Exam Format

The SAT measures the readiness of the candidates through a set of two sections. The two major sections include:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)
  • Mathematics 

Both the sections are scored on a range of 200-800 points, where the total will round up to 400-1600. The third section of the exam is an optional essay question that takes up to 50 minutes, bringing the total exam duration to 3 hours and 50 minutes. With SAT Classes, you can master all the sections, which will give you the perfect score. 

SECTIONS NUMBER OF QUESTIONS DURATION SCORE RANGE
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)
Reading

Writing and Language
52

44
65

35
EBRW: 200-800
Mathematics
No Calculator Test

With Calculator
20

38
25

55
Math: 200-800
Essay (Optional) 1 50 Reading 2 to 8
Analysis 2 to 8
Writing 2 to 8
Total 154 (155 with Essay) 180 minutes / 3 hours (3 hours and 50 minutes with Essay) 400 to 1600

 

 

SAT - Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) 

The EBRW consists of Reading and Writing sections where you will encounter different passages, charts, and diagrams.

SAT Reading 

The SAT Reading test is entirely passage-based, where you will have 52 multiple-choice questions from 5 passages. Within 65 minutes, you will cover a passage of American or international work of fiction, one passage of US founding documents or Great Global Conversation topics like freedom and human dignity, and one passage of subjects like economics, sociology, psychology, etc. The remaining two passages are based on a work of science. The main goal of the Reading Test is to measure a student’s ability to analyse the context and make an argument explaining the study. 

SAT Writing and Language Test

The Writing and Language section of the test comprises 44 multiple-choice questions in 4 passages within 35 minutes. The topics covered are career, science, humanities, and social science. The constructed questions test the students’ grammar and usage of the English language. They revise and edit the passages emphasising the sentence structure, style, logical flow, and punctuation.  

SAT Mathematics

The SAT Math section consists of 58 questions divided into two parts: a calculator and a calculator. 80% of the questions are multiple-choice based, and the remaining 20% are grid ins. The grid-in question requires the students to enter the derived answer into the grids provided in the sheet. 

The categories that construct the questions are:

  • Heart of Algebra - covers algebra content like linear equations, the system of equations, and linear graphing equations.
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis - applying math knowledge to practical situations looking at statistics. 
  • Passport to Advanced Math - includes systems of equations, polynomials, and exponents.
  • Additional topics in Math - covers areas and volumes, basic trigonometry, and coordinate geometry. 

SAT Essay (Optional)

The 50-minute extended essay section comprises one question where the students must analyse and explain the author’s reasoning using textual evidence. The response needs to be an analytical evaluation of the given passage. Unlike the old SAT, the essay section is entirely optional and requires an extra fee added to the basic SAT registration fee. The Essay section will be graded separately from the other sections on a score range of 2 to 8 in three separate categories:

  • Reading: How well the students can comprehend the passage 
  • Analysis: Analysing the author’s argument in the passage
  • Writing: How well the student can construct their response

SAT Exam Syllabus

The SAT exam syllabus includes the subjects that you have covered in school over the years. The syllabus has a total of three sections, namely Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The syllabus includes:

Exam Section

SAT exam syllabus

Types of question

Reading Section

It contains five passages taken from:

  • Classic or contemporary work of the US or world literature 
  • Document from the US Founding Document 
  • Selection of topics like economics, sociology, psychology, etc.
  • Analysing data from charts, diagrams and graphs 
  • Arguments and evidence supporting the author’s statement 
  • The tone and perspective of the author 

Writing Section

It consists of four passages from career, 

  • Science, 
  • History, 
  • Humanities, or Social studies.
  • Analysing data from charts, diagrams and graphs 
  • Arguments and evidence supporting the author’s statement 
  • The tone and perspective of the author 

Math Section 

It constitutes of two sub-categories:

  • Math test with a calculator 
  • Math test without a calculator 
  • Heart of Algebra 
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis 
  • Passport to Advanced Math 

Essay Section 

The essay section is an optional section that analyses one’s quality of writing and analysing English comprehension. This section helps universities to determine their reading, writing and analytical skills. Even though it is an optional section, many colleges have it listed and expect you to score well.

SAT Exam Dates 2021

As per the data of the College Board, the remaining SAT International Dates 2021 are as follows:

TEST DATES REGISTRATION DEADLINE
August 28, 2021 June 29, 2021
October 2, 2021 September 3, 2021
November 6, 2021 October 6, 2021
December 4, 2021 November 5, 2021

 

The International registration applies to anyone testing outside of the United States and US Territories. Online registrations must be completed within the registration deadlines.  

To Sum Up

By acknowledging the exam pattern, test format and exam dates, you can thoroughly prepare for your SAT exam to help you achieve a good score. Please inquire with the college you are applying to and ensure their requirements. Keep a target in mind and work towards achieving your goal. Make sure to keep a free mind on your exam day and perform your very best.

article1Blessy Babu

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Blessy Babu is an English Language Associate with over seven years of experience teaching various language courses such as IELTS, OET, TOEFL, PTE, SAT, GRE & GMAT. She attained her Master’s Degree in English Literature along with a second Masters's in Counseling and Psychology. Besides, these master's degrees she gained an advanced diploma in creative writing, which perfectly enhances her writing skills. She has authored a book that contains multiple essay writing models to help learners boost their essay writing skills and styles.

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