SAT Exam

SAT Exam Pattern

SAT exam pattern comprises of two major sections – Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math and an optional essay. Both sections, EBRW and Math, are scored on a range of 200-800. The score range for SAT Essay section is 2 to 8. Both sections of EBRW questions are multiple-choice questions.

Math is divided into two sets of questions – one to be attempted without using a calculator and one with a calculator. Most of the Mathematics questions are MCQs; some questions are grid-ins i.e. students must solve and fill in the answer on the bubble sheet. The exam is 3 hours long. SAT with Essay is 3 hours and 50 minutes long. There is a time limit of 100 minutes to attempt EBRW and 80 minutes for Math.

The below table provides an idea about the SAT test pattern.

Components Details
Exam Duration
180 minutes (without essay)
Total No. of Questions
Exam Mode
Pencil Paper Mode
Number of Sections
4 (2 EBRW, 2 Math)
Score Range

Section-wise Breakup of Questions

The SAT question paper pattern is based on two main sections – evidence-based reading and writing, and mathematics. There is an optional essay section which is opted by candidates sometimes.

Section Name Sub-Section Number of Questions Time Limit (in mins.)
Evidence-based Reading and Writing

Reading Test

Writing and Language Test






Math without a Calculator

Math with a Calculator





Essay (Optional)
154 (155 with Essay)
180 (230 with Essay)

SAT Exam Syllabus

SAT Reading— Comprising of reading comprehension, every passage under this section has 10-11 questions. Having a total of 5 passages of varying lengths, this section aims to evaluate your ability to comprehend written text, understand the meaning of words in different contexts as well as their associated terms with implied meanings.

SAT Writing– Having 4 passages with 10-11 questions each, you are expected to find errors, rephrase, and rewrite highlighted sentences with alternative text, amongst others. It focuses on assessing the candidate’s understanding of vocabulary as well as grammar.

SAT Mathematics– Constituted of two sub-sections divided into the 25-minute section provided with no calculator and a 55-minute section with a calculator allowed. It has 58 questions spread across varied basics of mathematics such as algebra, statistics, geometry, arithmetic, probability, data interpretation, and problem-solving questions.

SAT Essay (Optional)– Aiming to analyse one’s quality of writing as well as English comprehension, this section has an essay question (650-700 words) focusing on an issue and asking the candidate to take a stance on one side of the topic. Make sure you keep your analysis limited to the given data with precise explanation and don’t elaborate upon personal opinions.

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