SAT Exam Format 2023: Check Subject Wise SAT Paper Pattern & Duration here


Piyush Kohli

Piyush KohliStudy Abroad Expert

Updated on Dec 26, 2022 15:46 IST

SAT Exam Pattern includes two sections - Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math and an optional essay. EBRW and Math sections are scored on a range of 200-800. Although, SAT essay is optional, however, it is demanded by colleges at the time of the application process. The SAT Essay is scored on a range of 2-8. The total duration of the test without the Essay section is 3 hours and 15 minutes including breaks. The Essay section is of 50 minutes. In this article, we have given the SAT exam structure in detail.

Most of the questions in the SAT are multiple choice, however, in some of the math questions you need to write in the answer rather than select it. There is no negative marking, so, if you're not sure of the answer, it's better to guess than leaving the question.

SAT Exam Pattern Highlights


3 Hours (Without Essay)



Language of Paper     



Reading, Math, and Writing


5 times a year

Score Scale     


SAT 2023 Exam Pattern

The exam pattern for the SAT exam includes two sets of exams. The first is the SAT Reasoning Test and the SAT Subject Test. The SAT Reasoning Test is the exam that is opted for students looking to pursue higher education in countries abroad. This is one of the most sought-after competitive exams, the scores of which are vastly recognized in the universities/ colleges abroad. The second SAT test is the SAT Subject Test, which is opted by students who are looking to study a particular subject in great detail. Candidates wanting to appear for SAT can opt for either of the SAT exams. The SAT exam pattern/ syllabus is different for both exams.

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SAT Paper Pattern

The SAT Reasoning Test is mostly objective in nature and for a total of 3hrs and 50mins including the optional essay section. The essay in SAT is optional in nature and if candidates decide against sitting for it, the entire SAT Test duration is of 3 hrs. Candidates would have to attempt a total of 155 questions including the essay.  The following is the latest SAT Exam/Test Pattern for students looking to appear for their next SAT Reasoning Test for higher education to universities/ colleges abroad.

SAT Sections

Number of Questions

Total Duration (mins)




Writing & Language









Note: The SAT Optional Essay is no longer a part of the test now.

SAT Pattern with Score Range

The SAT question paper pattern includes two main sections – evidence-based reading and writing, and mathematics.

SAT Section and no. of questions

Time Duration (mins)

Score Range


(52 Questions)


Evidence-based Reading & Writing score

200 to 800


10 minutes

Writing & Language

(44 Questions)


Math- No Calculator

(20 Questions)


Math score

200 to 800

SAT Subject Test Exam Pattern

The SAT Subject Test evaluates the knowledge of candidates in specific subjects. The exam pattern for SAT Subject Test is for a total of 60 mins and candidates can opt from the 20 subjects available for candidates to choose from. Candidates are graded on a scale of 800 points. The subjects available are as follows.






Modern Hebrew

Korean with Listening

French with Listening

Chinese with Listening

Spanish with Listening

Japanese with Listening

German with Listening

World History



US History



Math I

Math II

Candidates looking to excel in their SAT exam need to be updated with the latest SAT syllabus to be able to score well. Candidates are always advised to start SAT preparations months in advance to be able to put in their best during their examination. Students wanting to prepare for the SAT can either opt for the Self-Study method or take the assistance of coaching institutes or both. Both methods have their unique benefits and are equally good with quantifiable benefits. There are a lot of times that many students could find appearing for their SAT exam challenging. Hence, it is always important for candidates to have appeared for as many SAT Mock Tests / SAT Practice Papers as possible to be able to self-evaluate their preparations and appear for their SAT Exam.

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Still need clarity on SAT? Read SAT and SAT Exam Pattern frequently asked questions and learn more about the test.

SAT Exam Pattern FAQs

Q. What is the pattern of SAT exam?

A. The SAT exam includes 4 sections. Read the SAT exam pattern in detail in the above article.

Q. What kind of questions are asked in the SAT?

A. The SAT test includes 154 multiple-choice (MCQs) questions and 1 options essay. Different types of SAT questions are
Sections Type of questions
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis (17 questions)
  • Passport to Advanced Math (16 questions)
  • Additional Topics in Math (6 questions)
  • Heart of Algebra (19 questions)
  • Command of Evidence (10 questions)
  • Words in Context (10 questions)
  • Analysis (32 questions)
  • Expression of Ideas (24 questions)
  • Standard English Conventions (20 questions)

Q. Is SAT exam hard?

A. SAT includes a various set of questions from very easy to very difficult. Easy questions are usually answered correctly by 90% of the students while hard questions are answered correctly by less than 30 % of students. To know whether SAT is difficult or not one must learn the SAT exam pattern. So, if you like reading and more into words then the Reading section will be smooth for you. Similarly, you need to understand the complete pattern and see whether it is difficult for you or not.

Q. What is the SAT score required to get into Harvard?

A. As such there is no specific SAT score requirement for getting into Harvard, however, test takers should have scored at least 1460 to be considered by Harvard for admission.

Q. Is negative marking there in the SAT?

A. In the earlier version candidates lose marks for every wrong answer, whereas, in today's SAT test there is no negative marking. So, you should try to answer as many questions as you can.

Q. Can I pass the SAT without studying?

A. SAT is hard! However, if you are good in Math, Reading and Writing then you may not require coaching to get a good score on SAT. It is better to take a practice test and decide whether you require tutoring or you prepare for it on your own.

Q. Can you pass the SAT in one day?

A. It is not possible to prepare for the SAT test in one day. If you are a brilliant student and have been outstanding in Math, Reading, Writing and have good vocabulary then also you need time to understand the SA exam pattern.

Q. How to improve SAT score?

A. Identify your weak areas and if possible also find the reason then you will be able to work on them better. Starting working on your weak areas and also give practice tests timely, so, you won't lose hold on other areas. Also, keep a time-bound approach to get your targeted score. Also, see if you need to change your strategy or study pattern then do it.

Q. What is the highest SAT score?

A. A perfect SAT score or the highest SAT score is 1600. Very few test takers are able to achieve this score.

Q. Do I need to bring a pencil for SAT test?

A. You should bring at least two pencils and an eraser for SAT. Test takers are not allowed to bring pens at the test center.

Q. Are calculators allowed in the SAT exam?

A. Candidates are allowed to bring a basic calculator for the Math calculator section. You can check the  SAT Calculator policy and learn which types of calculators are allowed at the test center.




Vaishali Verma

2 days ago

I'm bad at maths so I need to start from basic so which month should I give sat

Reply to Vaishali Verma


Ekankee Choyal

a week ago

Hey there, ive read somewhere that SAT(digital) would be conducted on 7 April 2023 too, is it really? because here in the article it's 6 MAY directly after 11th march. So let me know please.

Reply to Ekankee Choyal



3 months ago

I forgot to register for december SAT how to do it now
please help

Reply to s


Piyush KohliStudy Abroad Expert

a month ago

Hi, you can attempt for the next SAT test date.


Hussein Khadra

3 months ago

I have heard that there is a new sat format for both English language and Math.
Kindly please if any could help me out by providing links or materials to prepare for the new sat.
Thanks in advance.

Reply to Hussein Khadra


Piyush KohliStudy Abroad Expert

2 months ago

Hi Hussein, you can check the SAT pattern here

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