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SAT Exam Format

An Insight into the SAT Exam

What is tested on the SAT?

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Reading

52 Multiple Choice Questions testing critical reading and thinking skills across four genres: history, literature, natural science and the social sciences.

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Writing

44 Multiple Choice Questions testing fundamental conventions of grammar and effective use of the English language.

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Math

38 Questions allowing the use of a calculator and 20 without. The main topics tested are algebra, functions, data analysis and geometry.

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Essay

One prompt with a time limit of 50 minutes requiring the rhetorical analysis of a given text. The SAT essay is optional –find out whether you should do it here.

Click on the button below to view sample SAT questions.

An Insight into the SAT Exam

Do I need the SAT Essay?

Some universities either require or recommend completing the Essay section and use your essay score as part of their evaluation. If schools do not require the Essay but recommend it, you should still take the SAT with the Essay – it will give admissions officers another aspect of your application to evaluate you on.

 

If any of the schools you intend to apply to require the Essay, you must take the SAT with the Essay – failing to do so means your application will be regarded as incomplete.

Which schools require the SAT Essay?

Recommended but not requiredMost top schools (including the Ivy League, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, MIT, NYU and UChicago) do not require the SAT Essay.

Most liberal arts colleges do not require the SAT Essay – exceptions include Amherst College and Occidental College which recommend it.
Required / RecommendedAll the University of California schools require the SAT Essay. If you are applying to any of the UCs, you must take the SAT Essay.

Click below to search for SAT Essay policies

at most top universities.

Overview

An Insight into the SAT Exam

What is tested on the SAT?

icon-reading1

Reading

52 Multiple Choice Questions testing critical reading and thinking skills across four genres: history, literature, natural science and the social sciences.

icon-writing

Writing

44 Multiple Choice Questions testing fundamental conventions of grammar and effective use of the English language.

icon-math

Math

38 Questions allowing the use of a calculator and 20 without. The main topics tested are algebra, functions, data analysis and geometry.

icon-essay

Essay

One prompt with a time limit of 50 minutes requiring the rhetorical analysis of a given text. The SAT essay is optional –find out whether you should do it here.

Click on the button below to view sample SAT questions.

Essay Requirement

An Insight into the SAT Exam

Do I need the SAT Essay?

Some universities either require or recommend completing the Essay section and use your essay score as part of their evaluation. If schools do not require the Essay but recommend it, you should still take the SAT with the Essay – it will give admissions officers another aspect of your application to evaluate you on.

 

If any of the schools you intend to apply to require the Essay, you must take the SAT with the Essay – failing to do so means your application will be regarded as incomplete.

Which schools require the SAT Essay?

Recommended but not requiredMost top schools (including the Ivy League, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, MIT, NYU and UChicago) do not require the SAT Essay.

Most liberal arts colleges do not require the SAT Essay – exceptions include Amherst College and Occidental College which recommend it.
Required / RecommendedAll the University of California schools require the SAT Essay. If you are applying to any of the UCs, you must take the SAT Essay.

Click below to search for SAT Essay policies

at most top universities.