SAT Reasoning Test
What is the SAT?
The SAT is a standardized college admissions test developed and administered by the College Board Educational Testing Service. The SAT measures a student’s cumulative knowledge in three areas: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.
Because the same tests are given to students all over the country, student performance on the test is not biased by regional differences or academic differences among schools. Thus, colleges believe that this is a fair way of making admission decisions. Of course, many factors play into a student’s college admission, but the SAT Reasoning scores serve as minimum benchmarks before other admission factors are considered. In many colleges, SAT scores serve as 25-40 percent of college admissions criteria, because not only do they show what a student has achieved, they also tend to be fairly accurate predictors of performance during freshman year. This is why it is important that you are well prepared to take the test and that you develop as many test-taking skills as you can.
The SAT consists of three main sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Each section is given a score from 200-800, and the sum of these three scores is used to calculate the total score. The test is divided into 10 sub sections where there are three sections for each of the main sections and the remaining section is an ungraded section used only for test research and future development of the SAT exam. It takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the entire test. All questions are multiple-choice and one point is awarded for each correct answer. For each incorrect answer a ¼ point is subtracted and no points are awarded for omitted questions.
The two Critical Reading sections are 25 minutes long and the other is 20 minutes long. Each section is divided into two parts: Sentence Completion and Passage-Based Reading.
|Section||Question Types||Total # of Questions|
Two 25 Minute
23 - 25 Questions each
20 minute section
|Total : 67|
Sentence completion sections test your vocabulary and your understanding and knowledge of sentence organization.
The majority of critical reading questions are passage-based. Passages may be taken from literature or any published material, but you do not need to be familiar with the authors or works to be successful. You only need to know how to read carefully and how to extract the main idea, the author’s purpose, and the meaning of vocabulary in context. You need to know how to keep a cool head and not become baffled when several nearly correctly alternatives are presented.
The mathematics section of the SAT is divided into 3 sub sections: two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. These sections test your ability to solve high school level pre-calculus problems, and the topics generally fall into the following categories:
|Categories||% of Test|
|Numbers and Operations||23|
|Algebra and Functions||36|
|Geomentry and Measurements||28|
|Data Analysis,Statistics, and Probability||13|
The mathematics test has two answer formats: multiple-choice and student-produced response questions. The majority of the questions are multiple-choice and one of the 25-minute sections will contain 10 student-produced response questions. For every multiple-choice question answered correctly 1 point is awarded, and for every incorrect answer on multiple-choice questions a ¼ point is subtracted from the raw score. However, for every incorrect answer on student-produced response questions no points are subtracted from the raw score, and no points are awarded for omitted questions.
The Writing Section
The writing section is divided into two question types: essay and multiple-choice questions. The first section of the SAT is always a 25-minute essay followed by a 25-minute multiple-choice section made up of 35 questions and a 10-minute multiple-choice section made up of 14 questions.
The SAT Essay
During the portion of the test, you will be required to write a response to a question within 25 minutes. The essay is used to measure your ability to develop a sound argument to a statement or quotation and support the argument using academic knowledge, experience, or observations.
Two graders grade each essay holistically in fewer than five minutes. Each reader will give the essay a score of 1-6 (6 being the highest possible score). Both of the reader’s scores are combined to give you a possible score out of 12. Essays completely omitted will receive a score of 0.
Multiple Choice Questions
The multiple-choice sections are divided into three categories as follows:
|Categories||% of Questions|
|Identifying Sentence Errors||36|
Improving Sentences: A sentence is presented with a portion underlined and five possible revisions as choices. You must be able to recognize grammar and sentence structure errors in the underlined portion and select the correct revision to replace it.
Identifying Sentence Errors: A sentence is presented with 4 words and/or phrases underlined. You must be able to determine if one of the underlined sentence elements is grammatically incorrect.
Improving Paragraphs: You will be asked to read a passage and provide answers to a set of questions designed to measure your ability in revising sentence formation, word- choice based on context, and organization of the passage and ideas within the passage.
For every multiple-choice question answered correctly 1 point is awarded, and for every incorrect answer on multiple-choice questions ¼ point is subtracted from the raw score. However, for every incorrect answer on student-produced response questions, no points are subtracted from the raw score and no points are awarded for omitted questions.