SAT Exam Syllabus 2021

SAT Exam Syllabus 2021


The SAT is neither a test of academic excellence, nor a test of intelligence, nor a test of aptitude. It only tests you on some Math and English topics that are covered in high school. Writers do not give the SAT exam syllabus or any reference books that a student can work through to prepare for the SAT exam. It is, however, possible, to analyze each section and its question types to understand the content and skills required for the SAT exam syllabus.


1. The Reading Test

The SAT Reading Test is formally a Test of Reading Comprehension. It uses passages from Science, History/Social Studies, and Fiction to test how well you ‘interpret, synthesize, and use evidence from a wide range of sources’. In addition to questions about the passages, it will also have questions that require you to interpret accompanying tables, charts, and graphs. What matters is how carefully you read the passages and answer the questions based on what you have read. Consistent timed practice with reliable material and taking full-length tests are ways in which you can improve your scores. Just reading and comprehending do not get your points. Thus the section actually turns out to be a test of your ability to answer the questions rather than just your ability to read and comprehend.

One passage in each test will be from a US Founding Document or from a document on a related theme from elsewhere; these documents will typically be on themes such as justice, liberty, equal rights, dignity, and governance. Though there are no prescribed books you can read to prepare for the SAT test, a familiarity with the historical context of the US Founding Documents and the vocabulary used in such passages will help.

The SAT tests Command of Evidence explicitly. A number of questions will ask which part of the text provides the evidence for the answer to the previous question.

The SAT does not ask questions that require you to know obscure and uncommon words. Vocabulary in Context questions will ask about words from the passage. These are often common, familiar words used in unusual ways or with their secondary, less common meanings. You need to develop habits and skills to use clues from the context to figure out what the words mean.

However, improving your vocabulary should be part of your SAT preparation. Since the Reading passages are often complex and sometimes technical or abstract, good vocabulary skills will help you to understand the passages better and answer the questions more easily.

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2. The Writing and Language Test

The SAT Writing section tests your knowledge of grammar and punctuation and the effective use of language. Fortunately, SAT tests you on just a handful of common grammar rules. By mastering those rules and having a systematic approach you can ace these questions with ease. Definitions of rules are not tested; what is tested is the correction and identification of errors.

Some grammar concepts and rules that you will need to know are subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, parallelism, and modifiers. Quite a few questions will test your knowledge of punctuation and the linking of phrases and clauses.

The Writing section also asks questions about style, tone, word choice, transitions between paragraphs, passage structure, and passage coherence.

At Manya Education, we teach students to do the Writing Test by applying three basic principles– Consistency, Precision, and Concision.


3. The Math Test

For most of the SAT Math section, you need to know 6th to 10th Grade math covering arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, and basic trigonometry. Some Advanced Math and “Additional Math” concepts will involve Quadratic and Exponential functions, Geometric and Trigonometric concepts, and Complex Numbers.

Very often on the SAT, a math question is hard not because it tests a hard concept; it is hard because most students get it wrong. Therefore, careful reading and a systematic approach can get you a great score.

One part of the Math test does not allow the use of the calculator, the other one does. If you use a calculator, and we recommend that you do, make sure that you are familiar with its usage and also that you are using one that conforms to SAT’s calculator policy

“Careful reading” is the key to success on the SAT maths, especially because the questions themselves can be long and wordy. Some SAT maths questions seem to be tests of reading comprehension as much as of Math.

The test writers often include a few traps in the question wording or in the answer choices in such a way that if you don’t read carefully, you are likely to fall for those traps. Therefore, knowing the test is more important than just studying academic content. That’s why we at Manya Education believe that the SAT just tests “how good you are at taking the SAT”.

SAT is a trademark registered and owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with and does not endorse this product or site.


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What is the SAT exam syllabus?

The SAT Exam comprises 4 sections in all. The syllabus covers the basics the student has learnt in English and Mathematics during his/her school years. The questions come as multiple-choice questions.

Which subjects are there in the SAT exam?

The SAT broadly is categorized into the Reading, Writing & Language, and the Math Sections. The Reading section tests the comprehension skills of the students via 5 passages that cover topics from US/World Literature, History/Social Sciences, and Science. The Writing & Language section tests the students’ knowledge of grammar, usage of the English Language, and expression of ideas. All of this is tested through 4 passages covering topics from Humanities, Science, Careers, and History.

The 2 Math sections are divided into Calculator and No Calculator sections and cover topics from Algebra, Problem Solving & Data Analysis, and some Advanced Math involving quadratic equations and functions.

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

There is no change in the syllabus for the 4 sections that comprise the SAT. One change though is that the Essay has been waived off and will not be a part of the test.

What is the difficulty level of the SAT Exam?

The SAT is a test that gives a mix of difficulty levels in questions. Mostly the questions are distributed equally in the easy, medium, and harder difficulty level questions, but all the same, you win just 1 point for any level of question. So you should focus on getting more questions right rather than the number of questions you work on. Anyways, there is no negative marking. So you have to answer all questions, maybe even guess when there’s no time.

What are the important topics in mathematics for SAT 2021?

The important topics in Math include Algebra, which tests on linear equations; Problem Solving & Data Analysis, which includes numbers and operations; and Advanced Math that measures the students’ understanding of complex equations.

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

The common topics are 1 passage from the classic-contemporary work of US/World Literature, a pair of passages from History/ Social Sciences-usually about the US founding documents or texts from the Great Global Conversation, economics, sociology, etc. And a pair of passages from Science-concepts from earth science, chemistry, physics or biology…

What does the SAT Reading Section evaluate in a student?

The SAT Reading section measures the reading and comprehension skills of a student. The range of reading skills required are tested through questions on

Command of Evidence-the answer to such questions always needs the evidence from the passage or even graphs and charts.

Words in context- these questions test the interpretational skills of a student.

Analysis of History/social science and Science- examining data or hypotheses and drawing conclusions.

How much time will I get in the Reading Test Section of the SAT?

You get just 65 minutes to complete the Reading section of the SAT. The number of questions under each of the 5 passages will be 10-11. That makes for 52 questions to be answered in one hour and five minutes.

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

There is no topic that you can expect in the Writing & Language section. The 4 passages that you are asked questions from will be based on careers, social sciences, history, humanities, and science. The questions will mostly ask you to fix grammatical errors or improve the organization, ideas, and structure of passages.

What should I study for SAT English?

You do not have any specific course syllabus on the SAT that you can have prior knowledge of. All questions on the Reading and Writing are evidence-based questions. So how you prepare for the SAT would be to know the skills and strategies of working questions correctly in as little time as possible by reading passages and understanding the text.

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

Since the Writing and Language section comprises 44 questions to answer in 35 minutes, you hardly have a minute to answer 1 question. Hence, learning ways to answer easier questions faster and keeping more time for the tougher ones is the way to strategies in this section in order to complete all the questions.

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

There are broadly two types of questions on the Writing & Language section:

The proofreader questions test you on the grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and usage of the English language.

The editor questions ask you to improve the ideas and organization of a passage, make the correct word choice according to the style and tone of a passage, add or delete sentences to improve the passage structure, and even combine sentences in the most effective manner.