SAT Syllabus for 2023

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SAT Exam Syllabus

What is SAT exam syllabus? The SAT exam syllabus has a total of 3 sections. The three sections of the SAT syllabus are Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Earlier, there was an optional essay writing section which was recently discontinued by the SAT College Board. Thus, the subjects in SAT are reading comprehension, writing, and maths. Read this blog to know more about the SAT syllabus for each of these sections, the types of questions in SAT, sample papers, and more!

Exam Name SAT Exam
Conducted By College Board for International Candidates
Exam Type For Bachelors
Sections 3 (Reading, Writing, and Maths)
Number of Questions 154
Duration 180 Minutes
Score Range 400- 1600
Language English
Mode of Exam Pen-Paper
Negative Marking No

SAT Exam 2023

The SAT exam is a standardized test that helps universities examine where a candidate stands more objectively. The test is a good criterion for universities and examiners to figure out how well prepared you are for college as well as get a better idea about the skills you’ve developed in school. This exam was earlier classified into two types, i.e. SAT Subject Test and SAT General Test. But recently, the SAT Subject Test has been scrapped by the SAT College Board. Below, we have discussed the aims of the SAT Exams:

SAT General Test

Mainly taken by students wanting to get admission into undergraduate programs, SAT General Test aims to evaluate candidates on their written, verbal, and mathematical skills. As the name suggests, the SAT syllabus for the General Test assesses general knowledge as well as critical reasoning.

SAT Subject Test (Discontinued)

Focusing on particular disciplines or subject areas, there is a total of 20 subject tests which are bifurcated into 5 subject areas, namely, Languages, History, English, Mathematics and Science. These subject areas are divided into specific topics that are evaluated through a subject test.

SAT Syllabus 2023

Credit: College Board

Now that you are familiarized with the paper pattern of this exam, let’s elaborate upon the Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Essay (discontinued) section of the SAT exam syllabus and what they aim to assess.

  1. SAT Reading: Comprising reading comprehension, every passage under this section has 10-11 questions. Having a total of 5 passages of varying lengths, this section aims to evaluate your ability to comprehend written text and understand the meaning of words in different contexts as well as their associated terms with implied meanings. The three reading sections are further bifurcated as:

Comprehension: 25 mins

Completion of Sentences: 25 mins

Critical Reading: 20 mins

2. SAT Writing: Having 4 passages with 10-11 questions each, you are expected to find errors, rephrase, and rewrite highlighted sentences with alternative text, amongst others. It focuses on assessing the candidate’s understanding of vocabulary as well as grammar.

3. SAT Mathematics
Constituted of two sub-sections divided into the 25-minute section provided with no calculator and a 55-minute section with a calculator allowed. It has 58 questions spread across varied basics of mathematics such as algebra, statistics, geometry, arithmetic, probability, data interpretation, and problem-solving questions. The three sections under this are:

Algebra and functions: 25 mins

Geometry Statistics: 20 mins

Data analysis and Probability: 20 mins

4. SAT Essay (Discontinued)
Aiming to analyze one’s quality of writing as well as English comprehension, this section has an essay question (650-700 words) focusing on an issue and asking the candidate to take a stance on one side of the topic. Make sure you keep your analysis limited to the given data with precise explanations and don’t elaborate upon personal opinions.

SAT Exam Pattern 2023

The total duration of the examination is 3 hours. The test scores range between 400 and 1600 points. The exam syllabus is bifurcated into 3 sections, these include Reading, Writing and Language, and Mathematics. Take a look at the following table which elucidates the SAT exam pattern in detail.

SAT Digital Parameters SAT Reading & Writing (RW) Section SAT Digital Math Section
Format  Two Stages: One evaluates the writing, while the other reads. Each is delivered over a distinct set of timed modules. Two Stage: The Math section is administered in two separate sessions
Length of the Test Module 1: 25 Operational Questions2 Pretest questions

Module 2: 25 Operational Questions2 Pretest questions

Module 1:20 Operational Questions2 Pretest questions

Module 2: 20 Operational Questions2 Pretest questions

Duration Module 1: 32 minutesModule 2: 32 minutes Module 1: 35 minutesModule 2: 35 minutes
Total No. Questions 54 44
Time Allocated 64 minutes 70 minutes
Scores Reported Total Score: Reading and Writing + Math Section (400-1600)
Type of Question MCQ with four options MCQ: 75% Student Produced Response: 25%
Topics Covered Literature, History/Social Science, and Science Science, Social Science, and real-world related topics.
Informational Graphics/Creative Bars graphs, line graphs
Mathematics In Mathematics, students have to answer 58 questions in  80 minutes.
Students have to answer questions about Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Probability. Data interpretation too plays a pivotal role in Mathematics question papers.
Writing In the Reading part, there are questions based on the reading passages.
Equally, each passage consists of 11 questions. The main purpose of this section is to understand the ability of the student to understand the written text. Applicants are supposed to know the meaning of words. 
Reading In the writing section, you will come across 11 different questions.
You have to spot errors and rectify those with your ability. Suitable alternatives after rehashing is a prerequisite task in the writing section.
The construction of sentences, proper usage, and understanding of grammar would be your prime responsibility. 

New Digital SAT 2023

Digital SAT will be available in March 2023. The parts will have slightly changed names, but the factors used to assess a student’s knowledge and skills will be nearly the same.

  • The new Digital SAT will last 2 hours and 14 minutes, which is 14 minutes less than the current time.
  • Instead of 3 hours, ‘Reading and Writing’ will be reduced to 64 minutes and ‘Math’ will be reduced to 70 minutes.
  • The ‘Reading and Writing & Language’ components of the verbal section will henceforth be combined into a single ‘Reading and Writing’ section.
  • Shorter texts with a single linked question will be included in each passage or pair of passages.
  • The questions will be divided into four sections: Craft & Structure, Information & Ideas, Expression of Ideas, and Standard English Conventions.
  • The quantitative aptitude section’s number of topics will be expanded.
  • The calculator will now be allowed in the Maths portion.
  • The length of the word problems will be reduced.
  • A new format known as ‘Multistage Adaptive Testing’ will be implemented. According to this, pupils will now be provided with questions that are appropriate for their level of performance.

SAT Writing Syllabus

The questions in this section of the SAT syllabus will test your evidence-based reading and writing skills. In this section, your writing and reading abilities are tested. The topics for the articles or write-ups are mainly centred on generic topics that do not necessitate your prior knowledge of the subject. Certain passages have supplementary graphs and charts to assess your imperative skills.

SAT Writing Exam Pattern

  • You have to attend 44 multiple choice questions in 4 passages in 35 minutes
  • You need to edit passages
  • One of the following modes of writing will be present in the exam
    • the narrative,
    • argumentative and
    • informative/explanatory
  • The passages revolve around topics like,

Type of Questions in SAT Writing

You will be expected to answer certain questions about the passages, some examples of the questions asked in the writing section of the SAT exam syllabus are:

  • Sentence structure, verb tense, punctuation, parallel construction, grammar usage, subject-verb agreement, etc.
  • Strengthen/weaken the argument
  • Word choice for style, text or tone
  • Structural changes to improve readability

SAT Reading Section Syllabus

This section of the SAT exam syllabus focuses on evidence-based reading and writing. This test will especially focus on your reading abilities.

SAT Reading Exam Pattern

  • The exam pattern will have 52 multiple choices in 5 passages to finish in 65 minutes.
  • Two passages will be from science fields
  • One literary passage will be from Classics or contemporary texts of the US or world literature
  • Texts from the U.S. founding documents or Great Global Conversation on topics like dignity, human rights, freedom, etc
  • Extracts from Economics, Sociology, and Psychology, amongst others.
  • You must answer questions by telling a story, giving an argument, or explaining an experiment or study

Type of Questions in SAT Reading

  • The function a phrase serves in the passage
  • The tone, style, perspective, and attitude of the author 
  • Analyzing data based on diagrams, charts, and graphs  
  • The central theme or main idea of the passage
  • Inference of a phrase in a paragraph 
  • Arguments or evidence that supports the author’s stance

Useful Tips: The format of the examination does not expect prior knowledge of the passage topics from you but with constant practice, you can develop a familiarity that will help you in answering the reading and writing sections of the SAT exam syllabus more effectively.

SAT Mathematics Syllabus

Most students fear the mathematics section of competitive exams, but if you have a fair idea of what this part of the SAT exam syllabus comprises, then you will be able to prepare for it effectively. The mathematics section is divided into two parts – one with a calculator and another section that students need to solve without using a calculator.

SAT Mathematics Pattern

The mathematics section comprises two sections: One with a calculator. Second without Calculator

  • You need to attempt a total of 58 questions in 80 minutes
  • 80% of questions are multiple-choice while 20% of them are grid ins
  • For Maths with a calculator: You have 30 MCQs and 8 grid-in questions
  • You need to enter your derived answers in the bubble sheet you are provided
  • Maths without calculator has 15 multiple choice questions and 5 grid-in questions
  • You will be given a set of formulas and references at the beginning of the test
  • If you are applying for courses in science, engineering or maths, pay special attention to the ‘Maths without Calculator’ section

Type of Questions in SAT Maths

The different types of questions which you encounter in the SAT exam maths section are given below:


  • Graphical representation of the linear function
  • Linear equations with rational coefficients
  • Linear inequalities in two variables and their systems
  • System of linear equations (with no solution, infinite or finite solutions)

Data Analysis & Problem-Solving

  • Percentages
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Unit conversion
  • Equation of line or curve using a scatterplot
  • Two-way tables to calculate conditional frequencies and conditional probabilities
  • Association of variables or independence of events
  • Estimation of a population parameter
  • Calculation of mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation in statistics
  • Evaluation of reports to check the appropriateness of data collection methods

Advanced Math

  • Quadratic equations with rational coefficients
  • Determining the form of an expression
  • Polynomial equations (subtraction, multiplication, addition and division)
  • Zeros and factors of polynomials
  • Non-linear relationship between two variables
  • Function notation
  • Isolation of a variable by rearrangement of formula or equation.

Useful Tips: The only way to ace the math section is through consistent practice of the various topics of the syllabus. Since math is based heavily on practical knowledge your basics of the concepts must be absolutely clear.

SAT Math 2 Syllabus

Here is the syllabus for SAT Math 2 Subject Test (discontinued):

Number and Operations

  • Operations
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Complex Numbers
  • Counting
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Matrices
  • Sequences
  • Series
  • Vectors

Algebra and Functions

  • Expressions
  • Equations
  • Inequalities
  • Representation and modelling
  • Properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, periodic, piecewise, recursive, parametric)

Geometry and Measurement

The different types of questions which you encounter in the SAT exam geometry section are given below:


  • Lines
  • Parabolas
  • Circles
  • Ellipses
  • Hyperbolas
  • Symmetry
  • Transformations
  • Polar coordinates


  • Solids
  • Surface area and volume (cylinders, cones, pyramids, spheres, prisms), coordinates in three dimensions


  • Right triangles
  • Identities
  • Radian measure
  • Law of cosines
  • Law of sines
  • Equations
  • Double angle formulas

Difference Between SAT Mathematics Level 1 and Level 2

The major difference between SAT Mathematics Level 1 and Level 2 exams is that Level 1 contains topics like algebraic expressions, coordinate geometry, data analysis, and number sequences. However, Level 2 Maths includes all these topics along with logarithmic functions and the law of cosines and sines. Both exams have 50 questions that need to be finished in 60 minutes.

SAT Essay 2023

Note: The College Board has announced the discontinuation of the SAT Subjects and the SAT optional Essay. The below information is only for your reference.

  • While the essay component in the examination is optional, many universities expect you to score well in this section as well. Many universities also have it listed as a required or recommended section. 
  • The essay section of the SAT syllabus helps the university determine your reading, writing, and analytical skills simultaneously.
  • This section is panned out in a manner where you will be expected to read a 650-700 words long passage, after reading the passage you will have to analyze how the author builds the argument and write it coherently in a 50-minute duration.

Also Read: How to Write Essay

SAT Exam Syllabus for Medical

The SAT Exam Syllabus for Medical is the same as the syllabus for other courses which has been explained above.

How to Prepare for SAT Essays

Note: The College Board has announced the discontinuation of the SAT Subjects and the SAT optional Essay. The below information is only for your reference.

  • While preparing for this section, you must understand how to develop an analytical approach to reading the paragraph so that you can write an analysis that is not tainted by your personal opinion or bias. 
  • This can only be mastered through continuous practice. Also, engaging with articles from different authors helps you get a better idea about how different authors build their arguments.

SAT Exam Preparatory Essentials

Once you have a fair idea of the SAT syllabus, you will need certain resources that will help you prepare better for the examination. Here is a list of major books for SAT preparation that you must have:

SAT Sample Papers

Here are some official SAT sample papers you can practice to master the SAT syllabus:

How to Prepare for SAT?

Mentioned below are some of the best ways and methods to prepare for the SAT. You can have a look here:

  • Get Familiar With The Pattern Of SAT
  • Learn Mental Maths
  • Read Nonfiction
  • Attempt Mixed Practice Tests
  • Revise Quickly During Your Breaks
  • Work On Your Weak Points
  • Don Not Mug!
  • Revise Your Grammar
  • Set A Score Goal
What is SAT Super Scoring? SAT Registration SAT Exam Dates
SAT Results and Score SAT Scholarships  Top Universities Accepting SAT Scores
SAT Sample Paper SAT Test Centres SAT Study Material
Courtesy: Q School or Death


Q1. What is SAT exam syllabus?

Ans. SAT Exam comprises of Reading, Writing, Mathematics and an optional essay section. Candidates need to cover each section thoroughly to cover the entire syllabus for the exam.

Q2. Is SAT very difficult?

Ans. SAT is not a very difficult exam but it is not very easy either. As it is considered one of the most reliable examinations for UG admissions abroad, one needs to take it seriously and prepare well for the same. 

Q3. What is the eligibility for SAT exam?

Ans. SAT Exam requires no age limit. Anyone can appear for this exam. The best time to appear for the SAT exam is when you are a high-school student, i.e. in the 10th or 11th class.

Q4. What are the best books for SAT Exam?

Ans. There are various books available for the SAT Exam, but, only when you refer to the best ones, you are likely to get a better understanding of each section. Keeping that in mind, we have curated an exclusive blog on the best books for SAT preparation.

Q5. What type of questions are asked in SAT?

Ans. There are majorly 4 sections in SAT, i.e. Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Essay (optional). The Reading section comprises 5 comprehension passages while the Writing section contains 4 passages. On the other hand, the SAT syllabus for Maths is divided into two sections, one with a calculator and the other with no calculator. There are 38 questions in the Math section with permitted calculator use while 20 questions in the one without permitted calculator use. The optional essay section of SAT comprises a long 650-700 word passage that the candidates need to summarise concisely in 50 minutes.

While we have provided you with all the necessary information about the SAT syllabus which will help you prepare for the exam from a more informed place, we understand that the study abroad process can seem scary and confusing at first. But you don’t have to prepare for the examination with doubts in your mind, Leverage Edu helps clarify every doubt that stands between you and your dreams! Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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