Abishek Babu M



SAT Exam Syllabus for 2023

SAT Exam Syllabus for 2023

The SAT exam syllabus contains sections such as reading comprehension, writing and language, and mathematics sections. The Scholastic Assessment Test is a standardized test that is commonly used for college admissions in the USA. The optional essay writing section which used to be a part of the SAT test was recently discontinued by the SAT College Board. More than 1.7 million school graduates take the test every year. You can get the complete details of the SAT Exam Syllabus in this blog.

Table of Contents

Highlights of SAT Exam

Conducted by College Board for International Candidate
Sections Reading, Writing, and Maths
Duration 180 minutes
Number of questions 154
Score Range 400-1600
Language English
Exam type For undergraduate courses/Bachelors
Mode of exam Pen-Paper
Negative marking No

Types of SAT Exams

There are 2 types of SAT exams - SAT General Test and SAT Subject Test (discontinued now).


1. SAT General Test

The SAT General Test is used by colleges in the US for UG admissions. The test contains common questions and assesses various skills of a candidate such as writing, reading, language, problem-solving, critical reasoning, general knowledge, and verbal skills. The score will be a number between 400 and 1600.

2. SAT Subject Test (Discontinued)

The SAT Subject Tests assess students mainly based on 5 subject areas - Languages, History, English, Mathematics, and Science. These are divided into 20 specific topics and tests are conducted based on these topics. The test evaluates students based on the subjects they choose to pursue in college. The test duration is only 1 hour and is scored between 200 and 800 points.

SAT Exam Syllabus for Indian Students Explained

The following sections are covered in the syllabus of the SAT exam:

  • Reading
  • Writing and Language
  • Mathematics

1. Reading

In the Reading section, there will be 52 multiple-choice questions that you must solve within 65 minutes. The questions will be based on reading passages that may come with tables, graphs, or charts. There will be five passages with 10-11 questions each. The questions will be from three main subjects - history, social studies, and science. One of the passages will be from American or world literature and one from either an American founding document or a related text. There will be one passage related to economics, psychology, sociology, or social science, and two science-related passages. The passages are about 500–750 words long.

The questions in the reading section are based on three broad categories:

  • How the Author Uses Evidence
  • Understanding Words in Context
  • Analysis in History/Social Studies and in Science

2. Writing and Language

The Writing section consists of 44 multiple-choice questions and the time limit is 35 minutes. You will get 4 passages related to topics like job, science, humanities, history, and social studies each having 400–450 words. At least 1 passage will be a narrative that will describe some event like a story. The other passages are argumentative, informative, or explanatory and can contain charts, graphs, or infographics. Each passage comes with 11 questions and will fall under two types:

  • Expression of Ideas
  • Standard English Conventions

3. Mathematics

The Math section has two sections - No calculator portion and calculator portion. There are a total of 58 questions for which you will get 80 minutes to complete. In this 45 questions are multiple-choice and 13 are grid-in questions, meaning you will have to arrive at the answers independently. Algebra and functions, geometry, trigonometry, number and operations, statistics, probability, and data analysis are important subjects in this test. The questions in the Mathematics section are categorised into the following types:

  • Heart of Algebra
  • Problem-Solving and Data Analysis
  • Passport to Advanced Math
  • Additional Topics in Math

What is the SAT Exam Pattern?


The SAT test should be completed in 3 hours. It consists of three sections - evidence-based Reading, Writing and Language Tests, and Math. The question will be based on subjects students have already learned in school. There will be a total of 154 questions and the maximum score you can achieve is 1600. The following table shows the SAT exam pattern and syllabus in detail.

Section Questions

Time Allotted

Score Range

Mathematics 20 (With 5 Grid-in)
38 (With 8 Grid-in)
25 minutes (for No-Calculator Portion)
55 minutes (for Calculator Portion)
Reading 52 multiple-choice questions

65 minutes

Writing 44 multiple-choice questions 35 minutes Calculated with Reading section
Total 154 questions 180 minutes 400-1600

Format of SAT Exam

Question Types in SAT Reading Test

  1. How the Author Uses Evidence - This type of question tests your understanding of the author’s usage of evidence to support a claim. The questions are asked in three ways. One is to find the part of a passage where the author is supporting a point he makes. Second, to find evidence from the passage that best supports the answer to a previous question. Third, to find a relation between an informational graphic and the passage it is paired with.

  2. Understanding Words in Context - In this question type, you have to identify the meaning of a word given in the context. You have to use the context clues from the passage to figure out the meaning of a word or phrase used. The question will also check your ability to understand how an author uses words to give meaning, style, and tone.

  3. Analysis in History/Social Studies and Science - In the passages related to history, social studies, and science, you should use your reading skills to find answers and not your prior knowledge of the subject. For example, you may get a passage about an experiment and will be asked to examine a hypothesis, interpret some data, or consider implications.

Question Types in SAT Writing Test

  1. Expression of Ideas - In this section, your quality of writing will be tested. There are 3 kinds of questions in this section (a) Development questions - based on main ideas (topic sentences and thesis statements), supporting details, focus, and quantitative information from tables, graphs, and charts. (b) Organization questions - logical sequence, placement of information and ideas, introductions, conclusions, and transitions. (c) Effective Language Use - improve precision and remove wordiness, consider style and tone, and merge sentences to improve flow and emphasize one point over another.

  2. Standard English Conventions - This type of question requires you to recognize and correct grammar, usage, and mechanics problems in passages. You may get run-on or incomplete sentences and you have to correct the errors in those sentences. You will also get sentences with a lack of subject-verb or pronoun-antecedent agreement or missing punctuation.

Question Types in SAT Mathematics Test

  1. Heart of Algebra - This section consists of questions based on linear equations, systems of linear equations, and functions. You will have to create equations that represent a situation, solve equations and systems of equations, and make connections between different representations of linear relationships. There will be 19 questions of this type.

  2. Problem-Solving and Data Analysis - This section has 17 questions based on ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning to solve problems in real-world situations, including in the fields like science, and social science. It also contains questions related to describing graphical relationships and analyzing statistical data. You should have a good understanding of mathematical concepts that are important throughout your college, career, and daily life.

  3. Passport to Advanced Math - There will be 16 questions from the maths subjects that you will need for your higher studies in science and economics and for career opportunities in the STEM fields. You must be familiar with complex equations or functions that will be needed for calculus and advanced statistics courses.

  4. Additional Topics in Math - There will be 6 questions from additional topics like geometry, trigonometry, radian measure, and complex numbers. Three questions will be asked in the no calculator portion and the calculator portion each.

Download SAT Exam Syllabus PDF

SAT Mathematics Level 1 vs Level 2

SAT Mathematics Level 1 and 2 differ mainly in the topics assessed. Level 1 contains questions on items like algebraic expressions, coordinate geometry, data analysis, and number sequences. Maths Level 2 also addresses these topics, plus items like precalculus, trigonometry, logarithmic functions, and the law of cosines and sines. Both these tests will have 50 questions and have to be completed within 60 minutes.


Be familiar with the format, structure, syllabus, and also types of questions asked in the SAT exam. Try to solve multiple practice tests in the stipulated time. If you put a good amount of time and effort into preparing for the test, you can score well on the SAT. Getting admission to colleges in the USA will give you some of the best learning experiences. Hope this blog has given you a quick roundup of the SAT Exam Syllabus.


1. Is SAT a difficult exam?

The SAT test is taken by millions of students every year to get into top colleges in the US. Since a large number of students attend this exam, you have to score very well to outrank others and to get into good colleges.

2. What is SAT exam eligibility?

There are no specific eligibility criteria for taking the SAT. Usually, students in class 11 or 12 take this test. But to be eligible to seek admission to a college, you must have completed your high school.

3. What is the average SAT score in India?

The average SAT score in India is 1000. If you can score above 1200 it is considered a good score. The maximum score you can get on the SAT is 1600.

4. What is the passing score for SAT?

There is no passing mark for the SAT. The score is calculated in a range of 400-1600. 400 is the minimum score and 1600 is the maximum score.

5. Is SAT fully MCQ?

Most of the questions in the SAT are multiple-choice questions. But nearly 20% of the questions are grid-in questions where you will not be provided with multiple choices.

6. How many times can I take the SAT? 

You can take the SAT as many times as you want. But remember that SAT is conducted on only 7 days in a year.

7. Is a calculator allowed in SAT?

Calculator can be used in one portion of the mathematics section. There will be 38 questions in this portion. You cannot use a calculator in the other sections.

8. Does IIT accept SAT?

IITs do not accept SAT. To get into an IIT you have to clear the JEE. The SAT exam is taken to get college admissions in the United States.

9. What is the SAT exam syllabus for engineering?

The syllabus for all the courses is the same. There is no separate syllabus for SAT if you are planning to take engineering.

10. What is the fee for the SAT exam in India?

The fee for the SAT exam is $55. In India, candidates have to pay an additional non-US regional fee which is $49. The total SAT exam fee in India is around $104.

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