SAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus | Subjects, Courses, Paper Patterns


SAT Exam Pattern

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Scholastic Assessment Test, Acronym as the SAT is one of the standardised tests to evaluate the basic skills of candidates. Questions asked in the SAT are from the syllabus of high schools. It is an entrance exam used by many colleges and universities in Canada, the USA as well as other nations to choose students for enrolment to undergraduate courses.

SAT Exam Pattern

The objective of this article is to give a clear picture of the SAT Exam pattern so that the candidate can achieve a good score and get enrolled in well-known universities in the world. You can also check the following links to get more clarity about what is the eligibility criteria for the SAT Exam, what is the syllabus of SAT Exam, how to register yourself, the score of the SAT Exam.

SAT Exam Eligibility SAT Exam Syllabus
SAT Exam registration SAT Score

SAT Exam Pattern 

The Exam pattern for SAT Exam includes two sets of Exams. They are:

  • The SAT Reasoning Test is the Exam that is opted for students looking to pursue higher education in countries abroad. 
  • The second SAT test is the SAT Subject Test, which is opted by students who are looking to study a particular subject in great detail. 

Candidates wanting to appear for SAT can opt for either of the SAT Exams. The SAT Exam pattern is different for both the Exams

SAT Exam pattern for the Reasoning Test

The SAT Reasoning Test is mostly objective in nature. It is conducted for a total of 3 hrs and 50 mins including the optional essay section. The essay in SAT is optional and if candidates don’t opt for it, the entire SAT Test duration is of 3 hrs. In this Exam, marks will not be deducted if your answer is incorrect. The following is the latest SAT Exam Pattern.

 Subjects for SAT Reasoning Test 

 Number of Questions 

 Total Duration (mins) 




Writing & Language






Essay (optional)







The above table of SAT Exam Pattern is explained in detail below: 

SAT Exam Pattern for Reading Test

  • 52 multiple choice questions in 5 passages to be attempted in 65 minutes
  • One literary passage from American or International work of fiction like short stories or novels
  • One or two passages from U.S. founding documents or Great Global Conversation on topics like freedom, justice and human dignity
  • A selection of passages can be from economics, sociology, psychology etc.
  • Two passages from the work of science

SAT Exam Pattern for Writing and Language Test

  • 44 multiple choice questions in 4 passages.
  • It  should  be attempted within 35 minutes
  • Here students are required to revise and edit passages
  • Topics discussed are science, history, career, humanities, and social science.
  • Passage writing modes are argumentative, narrative and informative or explanatory.

SAT Exam Pattern for SAT Mathematics

  • Comprised of two sub-parts - math with a calculator and math without a calculator
  • 58 questions to be attempted in 80 minutes
  • 80% of the questions are multiple-choice, while 20% are grid-ins
  • Math with calculator has 30 multiple choice questions and 8 grid-in questions
  • The grid in questions require students to enter the derived answers in the grids
  • Math without a calculator has 15 multiple choice questions and 5 grid-in questions
  • A set of formulas and references are given at the beginning of the test.
  • The section is given special attention for students going for science, technology, engineering or math
  • Questions are framed in real-life settings on topics from social science,  science and career contexts.

SAT Exam Pattern for SAT Essay

  • An essay is optional but is required by most colleges to get a deeper insight into a student’s personality and his/her thought process
  • You must pay charges additional to the basic SAT registration fee to take the Essay section
  • Students are required to write an essay on the topic given which is based on a passage 
  • The total time given is 50 minutes.
  • Candidate  must consider and give an explanation about how the author evidence, reasoning and styling elements to make the passage satisfying in their essays
  • Three separate scores on a range of 2-8 are given.

SAT Exam Pattern for Subject Test

  • The SAT Exam pattern for SAT Subject Test is for a total of 60 mins 
  • Candidates can opt from the 20 subjects available for candidates to choose from.
  • There are 5 general subject areas: English, Mathematics, History, Science and Languages 
  • The candidate can take up to 3 Subject tests on the same day 
  • They are all multiple-choice and scored on a 200–800 scale
  • This subject test has 80 multiple-choice questions that are to be answered in one hour.
  • Each question has 5 answer options. Candidates gain 1 point for each right answer and lose 25% of a point for each wrong answer and receive zero points for left blank questions.