Reading and Writing Specifications

The various tests in the SAT Suite of Assessments measure the same skills and knowledge in ways that make sense for different grade levels. The Reading and Writing section keeps pace with student progress, matching the scope and difficulty of work in the classroom.

In the Reading and Writing section, students answer questions that test their ability to read, analyze, and use information and ideas in passages (texts); explain how and why authors make the choices that they do; revise passages to improve how information and ideas are expressed; and edit passages so that they meet expectations of Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.

Test length:

  • 1st module: 25 operational questions and 2 pretest questions
  • 2nd module: 25 operational questions and 2 pretest questions
  • Total: 54 questions

Time per module:

  • 1st module: 32 minutes
  • 2nd module: 32 minutes
  • Total: 64 minutes (~1 minute and 11 seconds per question)

Table 1. Reading and Writing Section Content Domains and Question Distribution

Content Domain Domain Description Skill/Knowledge Testing Points Question Distribution
Craft and Structure Students will use comprehension, vocabulary, analysis, synthesis, and reasoning skills and knowledge needed to use and determine the meaning of high-utility academic words and phrases in context, evaluate texts rhetorically, and make connections between multiple topically related texts.
  • Words in Context;
  • Text Structure and Purpose;
  • Cross-Text Connections
13–15 questions
Information and Ideas Students will use comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills and knowledge as well as what's stated and implied in texts (including in any accompanying informational graphics) to locate, interpret, evaluate, and integrate information and ideas.
  • Central Ideas and Details;
  • Command of Evidence (Textual, Quantitative);
  • Inferences
12–14 questions
Standard English Conventions Students will use the ability to edit texts to conform to core conventions of Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.
  • Boundaries;
  • Form, Structure, and Sense
11–15 questions
Expression of Ideas Students will use revision skills and knowledge to improve the effectiveness of written expression in accordance with specified rhetorical goals.
  • Rhetorical Synthesis;
  • Transitions
8–12 questions