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Everything About SAT Exam Pattern: Question Types, Total Marks, SAT Exam Time & More

Yocket Editorial Team
Everything About SAT Exam Pattern: Question Types, Total Marks, SAT Exam Time & More Image

Colleges and universities around the globe require a SAT score as part of their undergraduate admissions process. They use these standardised tests as a means to evaluate an applicant’s capacities or readiness for college. A high SAT score and a decent GPA enhance your chances of getting into the best colleges for a bachelor's degree abroad. 

The College Board conducts the SAT exam seven times a year in March, May, June, August, October, November and December. But you must be determined to qualify the SAT test in not more than two attempts. For that, you need to start your preparation early and gather all information about the SAT exam pattern, syllabus, requirements, etc. 

This blog dwells at length on SAT paper pattern and other important queries like, SAT total marks, SAT exam time and much more. 

Table of Contents

Overview of SAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus 

Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT is a standardized test that makes one eligible to apply for undergraduate courses in colleges across the globe. The SAT exam syllabus mainly concentrates on three areas: Reading, Writing and Math. According to the latest guidelines, there is a new section called ‘optional essay’ added to the syllabus. All three sections evaluate a student’s knowledge of vocabulary, sentence construction, data analysis, arithmetic, grammar and other problem-solving skills. 

All the questions here are Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), except some in the Math section. Since there is no negative marking in the test, attempting all the questions within the given time frame is recommended.

The SAT pattern or structure can be summarized as below:

Exam Name 

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

Conducted by

The College Board (official website)



Writing and Language


Essay (Optional)


3 hours 

Mode of Exam 


Score Range

400 to 1600

No. of Questions 


Negative Marking 


Structure of SAT Exam 

Moving on, let us give you guys a brief overview of the SAT exam paper pattern: 



Number of Questions

Time Limit (min.)

Score Range

Evidence-based Reading and Writing

Reading Test




Writing and Language Test




Math (without Calculator)




Math (with Calculator)







2 to 8



154 (155 with Essay)

180 (230 with essay)


 Know About SAT Scores and Results 

Now let us discuss the SAT pattern in details in accordance to its sections:

SAT Reading Section

The Reading section is an important part of SAT syllabus for Indian students. As the name suggested, it is a reading comprehension section consisting of 52 questions in total. There are 5 passages followed by 10 to 11 multiple choice questions that are expected to be covered in 65 minutes. 

The passages are based on topics like:

  • Classical or contemporary word literature with special focus on the US
  • An important document or speech about constitutional or political topics
  • Any relevant topic on subjects like Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, etc. 

SAT Cut Off For Top Universities

What Are the Reading Passages in SAT Syllabus About?

The 550 to 700 word long passages in a SAT test consists of 10-11 multiple-choice questions with four answer choices. The questions are of various types like:

  • The main idea or central theme of the passage
  • Importance or function of a phrase used in the passage
  • Style, tone, perspective or intention of the author
  • Evidence that supports a stance
  • Data analysis through diagrams, flow-charts or graphs

SAT Writing and Language Section

The SAT Writing and Language section is also a set of multiple-choice questions wherein you need to find errors and fix the sentences to be logically and grammatically correct. Overall, this section of the SAT syllabus is all about assessing your grammar, vocabulary and language skills. 

It consists of 4 passages with 10 to 11 passages each that are to be covered in 35 minutes. You must first read and understand these passages and then answer the questions within the given time frame.

What Are the Writing Passages in SAT About?

The writing section in the SAT exam syllabus contains questions pertaining to sentence structure, correction of tense, punctuation, parallel construction, grammar usage, subject-verb agreement, etc. 

The passages cover topics like:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • General Science
  • Careers
  • Arts & History

How to Prepare for SAT test?

SAT Math Section

The SAT math section is divided into two parts. The first section is a no calculator test of 25 minutes. The SAT exam duration for the second one is for 55 minutes and you can use a calculator. This section altogether has 58 questions covering topics like arithmetic, statistics, geometry, data interpretation, probability and other problem-solving questions. 

The breakdown of both the sections is as follows:

No-Calculator Section

Time Allotted

25 minutes

Total Questions 


Multiple-Choice Questions 


Grid-in Questions 


Guide to SAT Math Syllabus 

Calculator Section

Time Allotted

55 minutes

Total Questions 


Multiple-Choice Questions 


Grid-in Questions 


Best Strategies & Tips for SAT Exam Preparation

Know More About SAT Exam 

Universities Accepting SAT Score of 900-1000

Universities That Don’t Require SAT 

SAT Exam Dates 2022 

What is the HIghest SAT Score?


SAT Essay Section

The College Board that conducts the SAT tests made some changes in SAT question paper pattern 2022. They have replaced the previously present subject tests with optional essays. For the optional essays, you must keep in mind the following points: 

  • While the essays in the SAT exam syllabus are optional, most universities expect a decent score well in this section as well. Many universities also have it listed as an important or recommended section. 
  • The essay section of the SAT syllabus for Indian students is an opportunity to display your reading, writing, and analytical skills.
  • This section has a 650-700 words long passage. You must begin by reading the passage with concentration so that you are able to analyze the author’s arguments and perspective. The SAT exam time here is around 50-minute duration.

Want to Know About Digital SAT 2023?

If you wish to pursue a bachelor's degree at top universities abroad, a high SAT score is one of the best ways to ace up your chances. For that, begin your SAT preparation early and gather in-depth knowledge about the syllabus and SAT test pattern. With more practice, one can also gain expertise to complete all the questions within the SAT exam time duration. You can refer to our SAT Preparation Books blog to know about relevant study materials for SAT exam 2022. 

For any guidance and assistance do get in touch with our counselors at Yocket

Frequently Asked Questions About SAT Exam Pattern

Ques. What is the purpose of SAT?

Ans. By qualifying for the SAT exam with high scores, you will be eligible to apply for undergraduate courses at universities across the globe. 

Ques. What are the requirements for SAT exams?

Ans. The main requirement to appear for the SAT exams is a class 10th or 12th pass certificate. Other than that there is no such age bar or major eligibility criteria.

Ques. What is SAT exam pattern?

Ans. The SAT paper pattern 2022 consists of four sections altogether:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Optional essay

Ques. What are the total marks in SAT exam?

Ans. The total marks in SAT ranges from 400 to 1600.

Ques. Is there a negative marking in SAT?

Ans. There is no SAT negative marking. Hence, you must try to attempt all the questions.

Ques. What is the SAT exam duration?

Ans. The SAT test duration is 3 hours

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