SAT Test Description

beginning of content:

Learn about the sections of the SAT and the skills that will be tested.

SAT Test (154 items total)

SAT Reading Test (5 passage sets, 52 multiple-choice items, 65 minutes)

Passages

  • checkmark

    A defined range of text complexity from grades 9–10 to postsecondary entry

  • checkmark

    U.S. and world literature, history/social studies (U.S. founding documents and the Great Global Conversation; social science), science

  • checkmark

    One pair of related passages and two passage sets accompanied by informational graphics

Information and Ideas (21–26 items)

  • checkmark

    Reading closely

  • checkmark

    Citing textual evidence

  • checkmark

    Determining central ideas and themes

  • checkmark

    Summarizing

  • checkmark

    Understanding relationships

  • checkmark

    Interpreting words and phrases in context

Rhetoric (10–16 items)

  • checkmark

    Analyzing word choice

  • checkmark

    Analyzing text structure

  • checkmark

    Analyzing point of view

  • checkmark

    Analyzing purpose

  • checkmark

    Analyzing arguments

Synthesis (10–16 items)

  • checkmark

    Analyzing multiple texts

  • checkmark

    Analyzing quantitative information

SAT Writing and Language Test (4 passage sets, 44 multiple-choice items, 35 minutes)

Passages

  • checkmark

    A defined range of text complexity from grades 9–10 to postsecondary entry

  • checkmark

    Arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and nonfiction narratives

  • checkmark

    Career-related topics, humanities, history/social studies, science

  • checkmark

    One or more passage sets accompanied by informational graphics

Expression of Ideas (24 items)

  • checkmark

    Development

  • checkmark

    Organization

  • checkmark

    Effective language use

Standard English Conventions (20 items)

  • checkmark

    Sentence structure

  • checkmark

    Conventions of usage

  • checkmark

    Conventions of punctuation

SAT Math Test (58 items [45 multiple-choice, 13 student-produced response], 80 minutes)

Heart of Algebra (19 items)

  • checkmark

    Analyzing and fluently solving linear equations and systems of linear equations

  • checkmark

    Creating linear equations and inequalities to represent relationships between quantities and to solve problems

  • checkmark

    Understanding and using the relationship between linear equations and inequalities and their graphs to solve problems

Problem Solving and Data Analysis (17 items)

  • checkmark

    Creating and analyzing relationships using ratios, proportional relationships, percentages, and units

  • checkmark

    Representing and analyzing quantitative data

  • checkmark

    Finding and applying probabilities in context

Passport to Advanced Math (16 items)

  • checkmark

    Identifying and creating equivalent algebraic expressions

  • checkmark

    Creating, analyzing, and fluently solving quadratic and other nonlinear equations

  • checkmark

    Creating, using, and graphing exponential, quadratic, and other nonlinear functions

Additional Topics in Math (6 items)

  • checkmark

    Solving problems related to area and volume

  • checkmark

    Applying definitions and theorems related to lines, angles, triangles, and circles

  • checkmark

    Working with right triangles, the unit circle, and trigonometric functions

Cross-Test Score: Analysis in Science (21 SAT Reading Test items, 6 SAT Writing and Language Test items, 8 SAT Math Test items)

Across all required components of the SAT, students are asked to apply their reading, writing, language, and math knowledge and skills as well as careful reasoning to answer questions and solve problems situated in life, Earth, space, and physical science contexts.

Student performance on these science-context questions contributes to a cross-test score called Analysis in Science. (A parallel Analysis in History/Social Studies cross-test score is derived in similar fashion.)

While questions contributing to the Analysis in Science cross-test score do not directly assess students' knowledge of science content, they do require students to perform types of analysis and reasoning frequently required in postsecondary science course work. Skills assessed include:

  • checkmark

    Making reasonable inferences from provided data

  • checkmark

    Delineating sequences in descriptions of experiments

  • checkmark

    Understanding causal relationships presented by researchers

  • checkmark

    Analyzing evidence offered by scientists to support hypotheses

  • checkmark

    Refining the presentation of a scientific claim

  • checkmark

    Adding relevant descriptive details about a procedure

  • checkmark

    Using data from a graph to enhance or correct a writer's account of experimental results

  • checkmark

    Revising transitional words and phrases to clarify relationships

  • checkmark

    Creating and using algebraic equations, functions, and inequalities to model relationships and to solve problems in scientific contexts

  • checkmark

    Solving problems presented in a science context using rates, ratios, units, percents, and probability

  • checkmark

    Analyzing univariate and bivariate data

For more details, view the SAT test specifications (.pdf/3.12MB).