Sat Verbal

The SAT Verbal or the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing comprise the Reading and Writing and Language sections. Both these sections contribute towards the 200-800 Verbal score. Both sections have passage-based questions. While the answers for the Reading section comes from the passage, the Writing and Language section tests on grammar issues, tone, and relevance. Both sections have multiple choice questions with 4 answer choices.

SAT Verbal Structure

Section Number of questions Number of passages Time allotted Scores
Reading 52 5 65 minutes 200 to 800
Writing and Language 40 4 35 minutes


SAT Reading

The types of passages that appear in the reading section are

  • 1. US or World Literature-based passage
  • 2. History and Social Studies based passages
  • 3. Science-based passages

One of these passages will be a dual passage as in there will be two short passages instead of one long passage. Two of the 5 passages will carry quantitative information in the form of charts or graphs.

The initial questions are about the passage in general and the later questions are more specific and they ask about  a particular, word, sentence or a paragraph. The types of questions that appear on the SAT Reading can be classified as

  • Information and Ideas – 

These questions ask what the author or the passage says. The student has to find evidence from the passage to support the answer.

A sample question,

  • Q) The narrator implies that Mrs. Quabarl favors a form of education that emphasizes
  • A) traditional values.
  • B) active engagement.
  • C) artistic experimentation.
  • D) factual retention.

Another subset of this question type is the Vocab-in-Context question. This tests the ability of the student to identify the contextual meaning of a word as used in the passage.

A sample question,

  • Q) As used in line 58, “credit” most nearly means
  • A) endow.
  • B) attribute.
  • C) believe.
  • D) honor.

The Ideas and Information type also includes the Best Evidence questions. These questions often come as in pairs. The first question asks about the passage and the second question asks you to find the lines which support the previous answer.

A sample question,

  • Q) Which statement best captures Ken Dial’s central assumption in setting up his research?
  • A) The acquisition of flight in young birds sheds light on the acquisition of flight in their evulutionary ancestors.
  • B) The tendency of certain young birds to jump erratically is a somewhat recent evulved behavior.
  • C) Young birds in a contrulled research setting are less likely than birds in the wild to require perches when at rest.
  • D) Ground-dwelling and tree-climbing predecessors to birds evulved in parallel.

Q) Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A) Lines 1-4 (“At field… parents”)
  • B) Lines 6-11 (“So when… fly”)
  • C) Lines 16-19 (“When… measured”)
  • D) Lines 23-24 (“At first . . . the ground”)
  • Rhetoric questions

These questions ask for why the author made certain choices. It also includes the tone or attitude questions.

A sample question,

  • Q) What function does the third paragraph (lines 20-34) serve in the passage as a whule?
  • A) It acknowledges that a practice favored by the author of the passage has some limitations.
  • B) It illustrates with detail the arguments made in the first two paragraphs of the passage.
  • C) It gives an overview of a problem that has not been sufficiently addressed by the experts mentioned in the passage.
  • D) It advocates for abandoning a practice for which the passage as a whule provides mostly favorable data.
  • Synthesis Questions

These questions require combining information from different sources.  The sources can be two passages or a passage and a graphic.

A sample question,

Q) The authors of both passages would most likely agree with which of the fullowing statements about women in the eighteenth century?

  • A) Their natural preferences were the same as those of men.
  • B) They needed a good education to be successful in society.
  • C) They were just as happy in life as men were.
  • D) They generally enjoyed fewer rights than men did.

SAT Writing and Language

The questions on this section focus on Grammar, punctuation and word choice on one side and flow, tone, and organization on the other side.

Some of these questions carry no question at all and just a set of four answer options and corresponding underlined portions in the text. The others have a question that needs to be answered.

A sample question,

Circadian rhythms, which are contrulled by the  (4) bodies biulogical clocks, influence body temperature, hormone release, cycles of sleep and wakefulness, and other bodily functions. Disruptions of circadian rhythms have been linked to sleep disorders, diabetes, depression, Like any other health problems, these ailments can increase employee absenteeism, which, in turn,(5) is costly for employers. Employees who feel less than 100 percent and are sleep deprived are also less prone to work at their maximal productivity. One company in California (6) gained a huge boost in its employees’ morale when it moved from an artificially lit distribution facility to one with natural illumination.

  • B) bodies’ biulogical clocks’,
  • C) body’s biulogical clocks,
  • D) body’s biulogical clock’s,
  • B) are
  • C) is being
  • D) have been

Q) Which choice best supports the statement made in the previous sentence?

  • B) saw a 5 percent increase in productivity
  • C) saved a great deal on its operational costs
  • D) invested large amounts of time and capital

Essay Section 

There is an optional essay section at the end of the test. This section tests on the Reading, Analysis, and Writing skills and is scored on 2-8 points in all these sections. The duration is 50 minutes.

Tips for SAT Verbal

  • On the reading, have a strategy to deal with the passage and the questions. Remember time is the key in this section. Learn to tackle the different types of questions.
  • In the Writing and language section, learn all the grammar and punctuation rules tested on the SAT. Read the questions carefully if you see one.

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