SAT Sections - What to Expect on the Test

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The SAT has three sections, the math, critical reading and writing sections. The SAT sections each have three parts. In total, you will be taking nine mini-tests.

Here's how the the SAT sections are broken down:

  1. Math - the math section has three test, two 25 minute tests and a 20 minute test. You'll be presented with two types of questions: multiple choice and grid in. There are two sections to each test, the multiple choice section and the grid in section. Each of these are ordered by difficulty from easiest to hardest. So, you will answer multiple choice starting with the easiest, finishing with the hardest, then move on to the grid in, starting with the easiest, finishing with the hardest.
  2. Critical Reading - In this section you will have two 25 minute tests and one 20 minute test. Each test presents you with a passage, between 100 and 850 words. You're then asked to answer multiple choice and sentence completion questions. It is best for you to skim the article, read the questions, and then come back to find the answers in the passage. You'll need to study vocabulary for the sentence completion questions.
  3. Writing - You will be writing one essay, and answering questions on two other tests about grammatical errors. For the essay, you'll be given then topic, and you'll be expected to write a coherent essay with a thesis and an argument. You don't need any prior knowledge to complete this essay, so don't worry about the topic. In the last two tests, you'll be timed 20 minutes and 10 minutes. You'll have to rely on your knowledge of the Enlgish language and grammar to do well on this portion.

An important fact to remember is that questions are equally weighted and are ordered from least to most difficult, with the particular arrangement of the math section being the only difference. When taking the test, use your time effectively and answer the easiest questions first. It's important that you begin studying in advance, as there are a lot of concepts that are covered in the SAT sections.

Don't focus on one particular SAT section too much during your study. If one in particular gives you trouble, give it some extra attention, but don't let the other areas suffer. You can make up for deficiencies in one SAT section with higher scores in the other two.

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There are many resources on the internet that you can use for study. I've linked to a few that are good quality and will prepare you for the new SAT and provide SAT prep worksheet pages. Remember that it is possible to make a 2400 on the SAT, that is within your control. How you study and having a good plan for taking the test are two things that can make the difference in your score. Also, know that subject knowledge is not the only key to doing well. In addition, you need effective test taking strategies that will prepare you for the reality of taking this timed test.

There are more effective ways to take the test, so while you're looking for practice material, keep that in mind. The links I've provided give you free study material as well as test taking tips. Start early, study often, and good luck!

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SAT Sections - What to Expect on the Test

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This article was published on 2010/04/14