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SAT Exam Syllabus 2018-19

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Taking the SAT exam in India to study in US and Canada

SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities in the US, Canada, and many other countries to select students for admissions to undergraduate courses. Our well researched article includes SAT exam syllabus and other tips for successful preparation.

However, it is just one factor in the decision regarding admissions that are provided by qualifying the exam. Schools also consider your

  • High school GPA
  • Academic transcript
  • Letters of recommendations (LoR)
  • Interviews and personal essays

The best time to take the SAT exam depends on a variety of factors: the schools to which you’re applying, your application deadlines and your personality. 

The SAT exam is a standardized test/exam that measures a student’s skills in three core areas: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. Students in classes 11 and 12 take the SAT test/exam so that they can submit their scores to colleges as part of the college application process.

Examining the SAT Exam Syllabus :

According to the syllabus, the SAT exam takes place in two parts- General Test and Subject Test. Where on one hand Subject-based exam tests your skills on the hold of a specific subject, the general exam is comparatively common of the two and holds the most relevant position for the students aiming to seek education abroad. Here, we will discuss the syllabus of the General SAT exam under the heading of “SAT Syllabus and Exam Format” mentioned below. SAT exam tests the reading/writing, mathematics and the optional-essay section of a student.

SAT Syllabus and Exam Format

Subject Duration Subsections Questions Score Range
Math 80 minutes Calculator allowed for 37 questions

Calculator not allowed for 20 questions

  • Problem-solving and data analysis
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Arithmetic
Reading 65 minutes Total 52 questions
  • Sentence Completion
  • Tests understanding of passages from the US and world Literature, History/Social Studies, and Sciences (500-750 words)
200-800 (combined with Writing section)
Writing and Language 35 minutes Total 44 questions
  • Tests ‘Expression of Ideas’ and ‘Standard English Conventions’ through passages related to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities and Science
  • All questions from extended prose (400-450 words)
200-800 (combined with Reading section)
Essay (optional) 50 minutes One 50 minutes optional essay This section requires students to evaluate an argument through the analysis of evidence not scored
Total 3 hours (with optional 50 minutes) 154 questions 1600

SAT Syllabus for Mathematics :

List of topics for Mathematics in the SAT exam:

  • Solving linear equations and linear inequalities
  • Interpreting linear functions
  • Linear inequality and equation word problems
  • Graphing linear equations
  • Linear function word problems
  • Systems of linear inequalities word problems
  • Solving systems of linear equations
  • Solving quadratic equations
  • Interpreting nonlinear expressions
  • Quadratic and exponential word problems
  • Radicals and rational exponents
  • Operations with rational expressions and polynomials
  • Polynomial factors and graphs
  • Nonlinear equation graphs
  • Linear and quadratic systems
  • Structure in expressions
  • Isolating quantities
  • Functions
  • Ratios, rates, and proportions
  • Percents
  • Units
  • Table data
  • Scatterplots
  • Key features of graphs
  • Linear and exponential growth
  • Data inferences
  • Center, spread, and shape of distributions
  • Data collection and conclusions
  • Volume word problems
  • Right Triangle word problems
  • Congruence and similarity
  • Right triangle geometry
  • Angles, arc lengths, and trig functions
  • Circle: Equations and theorems
  • Complex numbers

The Makeover of the SAT Syllabus :

From March 2016, the SAT incorporated new elements in its test pattern. According to College Board, the conducting authority of the SAT exam, the changes have been made to make SAT more ‘relevant in the changing times’. “The (SAT) test has been redesigned to make it clearer and useful for the students both at the college level and also in their career paths,” says Lisa Jain-India Representative of College Board.

One of the most important elements that has been changed is that SAT will be scored on a total of 1600 while the Evidence-Based Reading/Writing and Math sections will each be scored on a 200 to 800 point scale.

Below are the few other changes brought in SAT

  1. The Essay will be optional
  2. The duration of the SAT will be about 3 hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the Essay
  3. No points will be deducted for incorrect answers
  4. Calculators will be permitted only on certain portions of the Math section, and not throughout.

Comparison of the Major Features: Current SAT vs. the Made over SAT

Parameters Current SAT The Made Over SAT
Total Testing Time

Made Over SAT testing time subject to research


3 hours and 45 minutes 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
Constituents Critical Reading





Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Reading Test

Writing and Language Test


Essay (optional)


Key Features
Emphasis on general reasoning skills

Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts

Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)

Continued emphasis on reasoning alongside a clearer, stronger focus on the knowledge, skills and understandings most important for college and career readiness and success

Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone and impact

Rights-only scoring (a point for a correct answer but no deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)


Essay Required and given at the beginning of the SAT

25 minutes to write the essay

Tests writing skill; students take a position on a presented issue


Optional and given at the end of the SAT; postsecondary institutions determine whether they will require the Essay for admission

50 minutes to write the essay

Tests reading, analysis and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text


Score Reporting


Made over SAT scores subject to research


Scale ranging from 600 to 2400

Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Critical Reading; 200 to 800 for Mathematics; 200 to 800 for Writing

Essay results scaled to multiple-choice Writing


Scale ranging from 400 to 1600

Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three traits for Essay

Essay results reported separately


Sub score Reporting None Sub scores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, admission officers, educators and counselors

SAT Round-Up

Frequency – SAT is conducted 7 times/year – 6 times simultaneously in the US and the rest of the world and for the additional 7th time in the US only.

Duration – 3 hours

Sections – math, reading and writing

Cost –

  • $52.5 (approx.) plus $42 (Non-U.S. Regional Fee)
  • For subject tests, an additional $26 as basic subject test fee
  • For SAT subject tests, a certain additional fee might be required.

Max Score – 800 per section

SAT Exam’s Best Practices

Before displaying the data related to the SAT, we want to inform you what exactly SAT is like when it comes to preparing for a better performance in this test/exam. Writing, Critical Reading and Mathematics comprise SAT and truly speaking, the time limit allocated is a daunting factor in it. Therefore, we present the best practices for you, the curious SAT aspirant, that can keep you ahead in the exam, far than the others.

Critical Reading

The Critical Reading section of the SAT test/exam tests and examines you on reading comprehension. It examines both your vocabulary and your analytical skills. Always be updated with the latest vocabulary, you can’t score well in SAT if you rely only on your elementary vocab. Practice sample papers as much as you can. Never leave reading to the last moment, this leaves you boggling. Working on samples will surely prove to be a time lessening factor. Analyze your choices of answers carefully. Check for a word that you have selected. Eliminate the choices that do not match with your viewpoint.


The Mathematics section of SAT test/exam consists of multiple choice questions. As such, it is important that your concepts in mathematics are crystal clear. The only way to crack this section of the exam is by practicing more and more problems. It will lead you efficiently manage time for all questions. To assist you in this, many sample papers on mathematics are available there on our SAT section. These sample papers usually help you to understand the type and kind of questions that come in the mathematics section of the exam. What we recommend is clearing your concepts in elementary mathematics, too. Since SAT is taken for college-level admissions, the topics are related to the mathematics fresh out of school. So, make sure you keep your school-mathematics books intact.

Problem-solving and Data Analysis, Algebra, Geometry make mathematics syllabus of SAT test/exam literally vast and it is difficult to practice and repeat all types of topics. This makes it important to memorize and remember the mathematical rules, especially in geometry. One way to do this is by going through rules and classical examples in your mind. This will surely lessen your adaptability time with newer questions.


Grammar: The very first step in the exam is to get your grammar right. The multiple- choice questions which involve selecting the right answer will mostly test your grammar skills. So, bring out your shelved “Wren and Martin”, the “R S Aggarwal” and other grammar books and get started with your grammar.

Read: Your preparation is largely incomplete without reading. You will also be asked to write an essay in the exam. The best way to prepare for it would be to keep a track of recent happenings across the world. This will help you to put your point across when writing the essay.

Write sample essays: Take a topic and start writing on it. Have a look at most common topics that usually come in SAT examination. Consider these points while writing:

Which direction do you want to give to your essay and with which arguments?

Jot down all points for or against the issue.

Filter your points. Keep only those that survive the robust reasoning.

Divide your argument into sections to make your points clear.


SAT Exam Dates 2018 – 2019

The organization publishes an official calendar for the dates and deadlines of the SAT exam, and the test is generally scheduled on Saturdays. Fall season witnesses a higher proportion of tests in the calendar, and it is generally difficult to sit for 2 SAT exams in a row if the result for 1st comes out below par. Internationally, the SAT is offered mainly every month from Oct-Jan.

SAT Exam Centers across India:

  1. New Delhi
  2. Bangalore
  3. Calcutta
  4. Cochin
  5. Pune
  6. Mussoorie
  7. Kodaikanal
  8. Hyderabad
  9. Mumbai
  10. Chennai

What to bring to the SAT center:

  • Admission ticket
  • A valid photo ID
  • 2 pencils with erasers
  • An acceptable calculator with extra batteries
  • A watch to keep track of time
  • Drinks and snacks (for the break)



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By Asad yar Khan

Asad Yar Khan is Former Chairman of AMC, an educational NGO. A passionate proponent of education development, his favour...more

Asad Yar Khan is Former Chairman of AMC, an educational NGO. A passionate proponent of education development, his favourite rendezvous for writing is less

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