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SAT Question Types

Want to know what you’re going to see when you take your SAT? I’m going to break down exactly how many of each kind of question there’ll be on your test so you know what to expect and what to practice most. Make sure to follow some of the links in this post to get a better idea of what these question types actually look like.

Let’s divide them up by the SAT’s main topics.

 

SAT Question Types – Math

There are a total of fifty-four math questions on the SAT.

Multiple choice: 44 math questions give you possible answers, so you’ll have lots and lots of chances to use process of elimination.

Grid-in questions: There’s one small group of 10 grid-in questions. You come up with the answer on your own and bubble it in:

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There are a ton of different categories you could use to break down the SAT’s math questions, but it’s a bit tricky since many more difficult questions will involve more than one skill. Officially, the College Board breaks it down into four categories:

Numbers and operations: 11–13 questions

Algebra and functions: 19–21 questions

Geometry and measurement: 14–16 questions

Data analysis, statistics, and probability: 6-7 questions

But that’s not the whole story. We’ll go more into detail about how well represented various skills are in another post. For now, just know what’s not tested (trigonometry and calculus, for example) and what’s very important.

 

SAT Question Types – Reading

The critical reading sections include two kinds of questions.

Sentence completions: These come at the beginning of each SAT section, and you’ll see 19 of them total. Some of those will have one blank, and a few of them will have two blanks.

Reading comprehension: Questions on passages make up the majority of SAT critical reading at 48 questions. There’ll be a total of four short passages (paragraph length) and five medium-to-long passages.

Two of those short passages will be paired off. They’ll be about one topic and have a single set of questions that follow them. That’s true for two of the longer passages as well.

They’ll be about any number of different topics, including one fiction passage.

 

SAT Question Types – Writing

Of course, the essay makes up a pretty big chunk of your SAT writing score. Besides that, there are three types of writing multiple choice questions.

Improving sentences: 35 questions will ask you how to fix an error in a sentence.

Identifying sentence errors: 18 questions will ask you where the error is.

Improving paragraphs: 6 questions will ask you how to improve an error-riddled paragraph.

They’ll deal with a variety of grammar and style issues from verb tenses to wordiness.

 

Practice every SAT question

By the time you take the test, you’ll want to have practiced every type of SAT question extensively. That means doing a lot of practice questions.

And don’t forget to take some full-length SAT practice tests too!
 

About the Author

Lucas is an SAT and TOEFL expert at Magoosh and has been teaching standardized test preparation since 2008, including the SAT, ACT and TOEFL. He lived in Prague for two years yet speaks better Japanese than he does Czech. Follow him on Google+!

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