Evidence-Based Reading Test
The New SAT Reading Test lasts 65 minutes and is comprised of 4 individual
passages and 1 pair of passages. This pair will be made up of two shorter,
related passages by different authors that address a similar topic or theme.
Each passage or pair will be between 500 and 750 words, for a total of 3250
Each passage will have 10 or 11 questions, for a total of 52 questions for
the entire section. In every SAT Reading Test there will be 2 passages which
are accompanied by graphics, and 1 or 2 graphics for each of those two passages.
You will be asked a couple of questions about these graphics and how they
relate to the passage. The New SAT does not feature any sentence-completion
questions previously used in the SAT.
The passages you will encounter may include informative passages, persuasive
passages, and narrative passages. The passages will contain all of the information
needed to answer the questions on the test; you will never need to rely on
any of your own prior knowledge about the material.
All passages in the SAT Reading Test will come from previously published
sources, and may represent a variety of tones and styles. The chart below
shows the specific breakdown of passage types that you will see in each Reading
||Number of Passages
||Classic and contemporary literature from the United States and around
|History and Social Studies
||Both basic concepts and recent development in the social sciences and
humanities, including anthropology, communication studies, economics,
education, human geography, law, linguistics, political science, psychology,
|Founding Document or Great
||Historically important, foundational
texts from the United States (Founding Documents, ie Bill of Rights),
other historically and culturally important works dealing with issues
at the heart of civic and political life (Great Global Conversation)
||Both basic concepts and recent developments in the natural sciences,
including Earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics
The questions associated with the passages will assess whether or not you
understand information and ideas in the text, and are able to analyze the
author’s use of persuasive language and argument. You will also be tested
on combining information from related pairs of passages, as well as from passages
and their graphs.
The questions will be presented in a consistent order; however, they are
not presented in order of difficulty. You will first face more general questions
about central ideas, themes, point of view, and the overall text structure.
This will be followed by more specific questions that may ask for the meaning
of a particular word or phrase, or to find the specific evidence that supports
a claim. Many of these questions will have line references, which will point
to the material being discussed in the question.
You’ll be asked a variety of questions for each passage, but the question
types themselves will be repeated often. For example, you may be asked about
the text structure of more than one passage on your test. There are also two
question types that will appear with every passage. You will always be asked
two Words in Context (PDF) questions, and two Evidence (PDF) questions for
each passage or pair of passages.
On the New SAT's Writing and Language Test, you will be asked to revise and
edit text from a range of content areas. Your job is to decide whether passages
can be improved by making changes to the words, punctuation, or sentence order.
The questions in this section will test your knowledge of grammar rules and
of the elements of effective writing. Parts of the passages will contain errors
in grammar. You will be asked to correct errors in sentence structure, usage,
and punctuation. Other parts of the passages need to be revised to better
express the ideas of the author. This will involve improving the development
and organization of the passage as well as correcting errors in language use.
The revised SAT Writing Test is made up of 4 passages and 44 multiple choice
questions. You will have 35 minutes to read the passages and answer the questions
in this section. This means that you will have on average less than nine minutes
to read each passage and answer the 11 questions that follow.
The Writing Test will ask you to read four passages and answer accompanying
questions. These passages may be similar to essays you have read in the classroom
and are typically four to five paragraphs long. The topics of the passages
always include careers, social studies, the humanities, and sciences.
- The career passages usually present new trends or debates
in major fields of work, such as health care, technology, or business.
- Social studies passages discuss figures, movements, or
events from history as well as topics in the social sciences. These social
science topics might be drawn from anthropology, psychology, sociology,
or linguistics, as well as economics, education, geography, law, or political
- Humanities passages consider topics in the arts and letters,
including figures and trends in fine art, music, dance, poetry, and prose.
- Science passages examine ideas, inventions, and discoveries
in the natural sciences, which include earth science, biology, chemistry,
The passages will be 400-450 words in length, broken up into paragraphs.
At least one passage will also contain an informational graphic. The graphic
may be a table, graph, or chart that conveys information that is related to
the passage topic.