SAT Exam Syllabus 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on Sept. 29, 2021, 1:53 p.m.

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SAT Exam Syllabus 2021

The SAT exam syllabus includes topics that students have already studied in high school. Preparing for the SAT syllabus shouldn't be a challenge for those who paid attention to their classes in school and performed well, in general.

SAT Test is designed to measure students' skills & abilities to interpret things and to understand their clarity on basic concepts of English and Mathematics. College Board has announced important changes in SAT, which are effective from 2021. The highlights of the new format of SAT are mentioned below:

  • Types of SAT: There were two types of SAT i.e. SAT General and SAT Subject. The SAT Subject Test has been discontinued. International students do not have the option to take SAT Subject test after June 2021.

  • SAT Essay: The SAT Essay part has been scrapped. 

As SAT is a general test covering general concepts of Reasoning, Maths, English etc, the syllabus is not specifically defined by the College Board. However, students can expect questions from general topics on Engish, Reasoning, Maths etc. which they have already studied in high school.   

Students planning to take the upcoming SAT can begin their preparation for SAT  in the topics and subjects related to SAT Reasoning Test which includes Reading Test, Writing and Language Test, Math Test and an Essay (optional). Students can refer to the SAT Practice Papers to have each section or component of SAT. There are certainly important topics that one should prepare for, in order to score high in the SAT. CollegeDekho brings to you all the important topics every SAT aspirant needs to cover to pursue their study abroad aspirations. 

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Quick Overview of the SAT Reading Test Syllabus

The SAT Reading component of the SAT 2021, focuses on the knowledge and skills that a student learns in high school. This section will have questions based on passages and information provided through graphical representation such as graphs and charts. 

All the basic information regarding syllabus for the SAT Reading Test has been given below:

Type of Questions Multiple Choice Questions
Total Number of Questions 52
Time Allotted to the Section 65 minutes
Questions Based On

One literary passage (fiction) and rest will be informational passages (non-fiction)

What Will it Test? Ability to tell a story, make an argument and explain a study or experiment
Level of Questions 9th grade level to the first year of college

Detailed Syllabus for the SAT Reading Test

The pattern of the questions asked in the SAT Reading section has been explained below.

  • Some passages may be paired with other passages.

  • There may be one literary passage and the remaining may include informational passages (non-fiction). Informational passages can include graphs, tables and charts. Mathamatical knowledge is not required here.

  • The Reading Test may include passages on classic or contemporary work of U.S. or world literature along with either a U.S. founding document or a text in the Great Global Conversation they inspired. Foundational concepts and developments in Earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics are some other topics that may be included in the section. It will also have a selection about psychology, sociology, economics and any other social science subject.

Quick Overview of the SAT Writing and Language Test Syllabus

All the questions in the SAT Writing and Langauge Test, will be passage-based. Check the detailed syllabus for the SAT Writing and Language Test here.

Following are the highlights of SAT Writing and Langauge Test syllabus:

Type of Questions Multiple Choice Questions
Total Number of Questions 44; 11 questions per passage
Time Allotted to the Section 35 minutes
Passages Based On Career, Science Humanities and History/Social Sciences
Passage Writing Modes One non-fiction narrative, one to two
Informative/explanatory texts, and one to two arguments
Complexity Level 9th-10th grade to early postsecondary

Detailed Syllabus for the SAT Writing and Language Test

To  get an idea about the type of questions asked in the SAT Writing and Language section, check out the syllabus here. 

  • Total number of passages is 4.

  • One Passage on a career-related topic and other passages on each Humanities, History/ Social Studies and Science.

  • The length of each passage is around 400 to 450 words, totalling it to 1,700 words and the total time allotted to attempt the entire passage is 35 minutes. Thus, each question needs to be answered in less than a minute, which is inclusive of the time required to read the passage.

The questions are distributed in the following ways.

  • Expression of Ideas: 24 questions, generally six per passage.

  • Standard English Conventions: 20 questions, generally five per passage.

  • Command of Evidence: 8 questions, generally two per passage.

  • Words in Context: 8 questions, generally two per passage.

  • Analysis in History/Social Studies: 6 questions (all of the Expression of Ideas questions on the history/social studies passage)

  • Analysis in Science: 6 questions (all of the Expression of Ideas questions on the science passage).

Quick Overview of the SAT Math Test Syllabus

The SAT Math Test under the SAT 2021 Test is divided into a Calculator portion and a Non-Calculator portion. Check out the syllabus for the same here.

Here is the summary of the SAT Math Test syllabus.

Type of Questions Multiple choice and Student-Produced Response
Total Number of Questions 38+20
Time Allotted to the Test Calculator Portion - 55 minutes
Non-Calculator Portion - 25 minutes
Questions Based On Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, Additional Topics in Math
Passage Writing Modes One nonfiction narrative, one to two informative/explanatory texts, and one to two arguments
Complexity Level 9th-10th grade to early postsecondary

Detailed Syllabus for the SAT Math Test

Detailed below is the information you need to know all about the important topics to cover for SAT Math Test 2021.

Heart of Algebra (19 Questions)

  • Analyzing and fluently solving linear equations and systems of linear equations.

  • Creating linear equations and inequalities to represent relationships between quantities and to solve problems.

  • Understanding and using the relationship between linear equations and inequalities and their graphs to solve problems.

Problem Solving and Data Analysis (17 Questions)

  • Creating and analysing relationships using ratios, proportional relationships, percentages, and units.

  • Representing and analysing quantitative data.

  • Finding and applying probabilities within the context.

Passport to Advanced Math (16 Questions)

  • Identifying and creating equivalent algebraic expressions.

  • Creating, analysing, and fluently solving quadratic and other non-linear equations.

  • Creating, using, and graphing exponential, quadratic, and other non-linear functions.

Additional Topics in Math (6 Questions)

  • Solving problems related to area and volume.

  • Applying definitions and theorems related to lines, angles, triangles, and circles.

  • Working with right triangles, the unit circle, and trigonometric functions.

Contribution of Questions to Cross-Test Scores

  • Analysis in Science-  8 questions.

  • Analysis in History/Social Studies - 8 questions.

Note: Questions in the no-calculator portion are more conceptual in nature and don’t require a calculator to be solved.

FAQs on SAT Syllabus

1. Are there any changes in the syllabus for SAT 2021 due to COVID-19?

Currently, there are no changes in the syllabus for the SAT exam due to COVID-19. However, in case of changes, relevant communication will be sent out to the students. Candidates must note that the SAT Essay and Subject test has been scrapped.

2. What are the important topics in Mathematics for SAT 2021?

Some of the important topics in Mathematics for SAT 2021 include Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Advanced Math such as trigonometric, quadratic and non-linear equations.

3. What are the common topics for the Reading Test in SAT 2021?

The Reading Test in SATs usually consist of non-fictional and fictional passages, which are to be read by the candidate and analysed to offer correct answers to the relevant questions.

4. What does the SAT Reading Section evaluate in a student?

The Reading Section in an SAT evaluates the text analytical skills of the student, their ability to tell a story, make an argument and explain an experiment or study.

5. Is the SAT easier than JEE Mains?  

It entirely depends on the student and their level of preparation. However, the SAT is said to be comparatively easier than JEE Mains in terms of the Math section. While JEE focuses on PCM, the SAT tests your critical thinking skills among other things. 

6. How much time will I get in the Reading Test Section of the SATs?

Candidates will be given a total of 65 minutes to answer 52 MCQ-based questions in the Reading Section of the SAT 2021.

7. What topics are expected in the SAT Writing and Language Test?

Among the topics for SAT Writing and Language Test, you can expect to find passages on Career, Humanities, Sciences and History or Social Sciences.

8. How much time should I spend on the Writing and Language section of SATs?

As per the guidelines, all candidates should spend a total of 35 minutes to answer the 44 questions in the Writing and Language component of the SAT.

9. What type of questions will be asked in the Writing and Language section of the SATs?

Applicants will be scored on questions such as the expression of ideas, standard English conventions, command of evidence, words in context, analysis of history or social sciences, along with the analysis in sciences as well.

10. What is the difficulty level of SAT Exam?

The complexity of the questions asked in SATs usually rate at a level between 9th and first-year college. Each section will be designed to offer a fair level of difficulty to the test takers.

Have Further Doubts About SAT Syllabus?

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