SAT Test Subjects | What To Actually Focus On

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You know that the SAT tests you on a variety of subjects. However, before starting your test prep, make sure to know what SAT test subjects you actually need to review.

Besides knowing the subjects themselves, you also need to figure out how much time you need to actually study for the SAT itself.

SAT Test Subjects To Review

Subjects Tested In SAT Reading

All SAT Reading questions are based on examining passages.

The section contains five passages with 52 multiple-choice questions. This breaks down to approximately 10-12 questions covering each passage.

Some passages are paired together, while others have graphics, such as tables or graphs to examine.

At least one passage each covers the following topics:

  • U.S. or world literature
  • U.S. founding document or a text inspired by one
  • Social science (examples include economics, psychology, sociology)
  • Science (Earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics)

It’s important to note that all the information you need to answer questions is provided in the passages. Don’t worry about having prior knowledge about the specific subject matter being examined.

Subjects Tested In SAT Writing and Language

Like the Reading section, SAT Writing and Language questions revolve around passages.

There are four passages with a total of 44 questions. Again, that breaks down to 11 questions per passage to answer.

Each passage revolves around one of these four subjects:

  • Careers (passages cover trends or debates in specific professional fields)
  • Social Studies (passages tackle topics from areas including anthropology, history, psychology, political science, or sociology)
  • Humanities (passages explore ideas in literature, drama, art, music, or dance, or cover specific authors)
  • Science (passages focus on biology, chemistry, Earth science, or physics)

The passages themselves fall into these three formats:

  • argument-based
  • explanatory
  • nonfiction narrative

At least one passage is accompanied by a diagram to interpret too. Each passage will be filled with various errors including:

  • punctuation
  • word choice
  • sentence structure
  • organization

You are asked to identify and fix them.

Subjects Tested In SAT Math Section

The College Board sorts its SAT Math questions into a number of subcategories.

These subcategories are:

  • Heart of Algebra
  • Passport to Advanced Math
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis

Specific Subject Matter To Review

Basic Algebra

  • Linear functions
  • Single variable equations
  • Systems of linear equations
  • Absolute value

Advanced Algebra

  • Manipulating polynomials
  • Quadratic equations
  • Dividing polynomials
  • Exponential functions
  • Function notation
  • Solving exponential equations
  • Solving exponential equations

Problem Solving and Data Analysis

  • Ratios and proportions
  • Scatterplots and graphs
  • Categorical data and probabilities
  • Experimental interpretation
  • Median, median, mode, standard deviation

Additional Topics

  • Coordinate geometry – lines and slopes
  • Coordinate geometry – nonlinear functions
  • Geometry – circles
  • Geometry – lines and angles
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry – solid geometry
  • Geometry – triangles and polygons
  • Complex numbers

Going over these specific subjects and topics will help you better find your weakest areas. Better yet, you’ll figure out how to best optimize your available study time.

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