Know Your Test

  • GRE
  • GMAT
  • SAT

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is now only available as a computer-adaptive test. This is how it works: instead of having a pre-determined mixture of easy, medium, and hard questions, the computer will select questions for you based on how well you are doing. The first question will be of medium difficulty; if you get it right, the second question will be selected from a large group of questions that are a little harder; if you get the first question wrong, the second will be a little easier. The result is that the test automatically adjusts to your skill level. The Tough questions have more credit than easier ones.
You can still earn a very high score even if you answer several questions incorrectly. Correct answers to Harder questions leads to large score as compared to easier questions. This means to Get large score more difficult questions has to be answered.

Some (Very few) Universities may demand Subject GRE :

  • Your GRE scores are valid for 5 years.
  • You may appear again in GRE after one month

Section Questions Duration

  • Verbal 30 30
  • Analytical 2 writing Tasks 75
  • Quantitative 28 45
  • Verbal/Quant./Anal. 30/35/2(writing tasks) 30/60/75

Types of Questionsm :

  • Analogies 7*
  • Sentence Completion 6*
  • Antonyms 9*
  • Reading Comprehension 3*
  • Mathematical comparisons 14*
  • Problem Solving 10*
  • Chart 4*


2 writing Tasks
*a 45-minute "Present Your Perspective on an Issue" task and a 30-minute "Analyze an Argument" task. The "Issue" task states an opinion on an issue of general interest and asks you to address the issue from any perspectives you wish, as long as you provide relevant reasons and examples to explain and support your views

Some Facts

Maximum score for sections Verbal, Quantitative is 800.An analytical writing score will be reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments. GRE is generally required by universities in North America (USA and Canada). Most Universities require General GRE for admission to MS and Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences. Generally for engineering Students score above 1800 is considered good for admission for middle order universities ranked between 40 to 90 .There may be some deviations? For all engineering Students GRE Q is most important for best results GRE Q must be well above 730 ,GRE.
A above 650(A>4.0/6.0),GRE V above 400. GRE score can considerably improve University Ranking. TOEFL is most important. TOEFL score must be well above 213.Generally Top 50 ranked Universities may require GRE>2000(770+,500+,>4/6) and TOEFL>250.For International students Verbal section is quite difficult. So they must prepare hard on vocabulary.
Note : Work hard in GRE Quantitative. Work on Permutation/combination, probability, mean/median/mode...etc.


  • First 15 Questions of each section are most Important!
  • Most of People will find Quantative section most easy but be careful, avoid making silly mistakes. Note you wont get extra score if you finish this section before time!
  • According to survey Analytical section is very lengthy so pace from beginning. Again first 15 questions are important.
  • These days Games in Analytical section are tougher with easier Logical reasoning questions.
  • Questions on Probability, Permutations , combinations , mean, mode, standard deviation are common.
  • Verbal section is Toughest for people not having English as native language best solution is to learn as many words as possible.
  • Answer all questions in each section .There is negative marking for questions unanswered. So at last 2 minutes just guess all remaining questions.
  • Dont panic even if your score is low!
  • Be prepared for 4 Universities to apply online.
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The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) is a standardized assessment. Each individual test that is administered contains the same format and areas of content. The test is comprised of three main sections-analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. Each of these areas is measured using different types of questions that have specific instructions for each.
Questions are chosen from a very large pool of test questions categorized by content and difficulty. Only one question at a time is presented to you on the screen. The first question is always of middle difficulty. The selection of each question thereafter is determined by your responses to all previous questions. In other words, the adaptive test adjusts to your ability level-you will get few questions that are too easy or too difficult for you.
You must answer each question and may not return to or change your answer to any previous question. If you answer a question incorrectly by mistake-or correctly by lucky guess-you answer to subsequent questions will lead you back to questions that are at the appropriate level of difficulty for you.

Analytical Writing Assessment

The GMAT with the Analytical Writing Assessment, consists of two essays topics selected by the computer. 30 min are allowed to respond to each topic. One task is to analyse an issue; the other is to analyse an argument.


This section tests elementary mathematical skills. This section contains 37 multiple-choice questions of either two question types, Data Sufficiency or Problem Solving. You are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the section.


This section contains 41 multiple-choice questions on Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. The duration is 75 min.

Sections Questions Timing Score
Analytical Writing Assessment
Analysis of an Issue 1 topic 30 minutes 0 to 6
Analysis of an Argument 1 topic 30 minutes
Optional Rest Break 5 minutes

GMAT Quantitative

Problem Solving(*24 Questions)Data Sufficiency(*13 Questions) 37 questions 75 minutes 0 to 60

Optional Rest Break 5 minutes

GMAT Verbal

Reading Comprehension(*13 Questions) Critical Reasoning(*14 Questions)Sentence Correction(*15 Questions) 41 questions 75 minutes 0 to 60
GMAT Total 200 to 800

Your GMAT score can significantly affect your chances of admission. Without a good score, you have little or no chance of making it to a top school. You need to practice on the computer for the writing section of the GMAT – in which you have to type two essays on the computer in 60 minutes. If you are not used to regularly working on the computer, you might find yourself woefully short of words on the day of the test.
The GMAT requires you to have strong fundamentals in Math (High School) and English grammar.
Note: Probability questions are becoming common on the GMAT. Most test guides are obsolete and do not address these questions.DON'T guess randomly. Always try to eliminate as many answer choices as possible before you confirm your response. For Maths section be Cool with Questions are easy so don't be too quick. You won't get extra score if you finish early!

TIPS on Probability

For Independent Events Probability of A and B P(A and B) = P(A) × P(B).
In other words, the probability of A and B both occurring is the product of the probability of A and the probability of B. Probability of A or B P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B). In other words, the probability of A or B occurring is the sum of the probability of A and the probability of B.

For Dependent Events

If A and B are not independent, then the probability of A and B is P(A and B) = P(A) × P(B|A)
where P(B|A) is the conditional probability of B given A.
# There are m different ways of doing the first part, and there are n different ways of doing the second part. The problem is to find the number of ways of doing the entire job.

answer is:m*n


Quantitative TIPS

Format of GRE quantitative Section
Mathematical comparisons 14*
Problem Solving 10*
Chart 4*

Be Cool! Its very important for quantitative section. Prepare well on Mode ,Median, Probability, Permutations, Combinations. You may be getting around 4 questions on above topics.

We are listing some TIPS.

  • 0 is not prime number.
  • 1 is not prime number.
  • 2 is prime number.
  • probability =(Result you are looking)/(Total results).
  • n!(n factorial)=n*(n-1)*(n-2)*...1
  • Permutations is arrangement of things in definite order. While in Combination order doesn't matter. Median is the middle value in a set of numbers above and below it.

Example 1 : Consider G={2,4,7,8,9,12,14}
In this case 8 is median because there lies three other numbers before and after 8.
Example 2 : Consider G={2,4,7,8,9,12}
In this case median will be average of 7 and 8 i.e. 7.5
Mode is the number or range of numbers in a set that occurs the most frequently.
Example Consider G={1,2,4,8,17,2,4,5,6,7,8,2}
In the above set 2 occurs thrice so this is mode.
Range is defined as difference between maximum and minimum numbers in a set.
For above set Range is 17-1 i.e. 16.
Standard Deviation of a set is measure of the set's variation from its mean.
Example Consider two sets G1={3,4,3,4} and G2={10,15,14,16}
Then It can be seen G1 has lower S.D. as compared to G2.
...Practice well!

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The main reason behind TOEFL is that you can complete your Education in English successfully.

The TOEFL is now only available as a computer-adaptive test. This is how it works: instead of having a pre-determined mixture of easy, medium, and hard questions, the computer will select questions for you based on how well you are doing. The first question will be of medium difficulty; if you get it right, the second question will be selected from a large group of questions that are a little harder; if you get the first question wrong, the second will be a little easier. The result is that the test automatically adjusts to your skill level. But the Reading Comprenhson is not computer adaptive. The Tough questions have more credit than easier ones.

  • TOEFL score is valid for two years.
  • You can take TOEFL once in a month.
  • 213(CBT) is equivalent to 550(Paper based) and 250 to 600.
  • You can request paper for writing section, but it may delay your score report.
  • TOEFL may not be required by students of those countries whose native language is English.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®) is undergoing some important changes. In order to meet the challenge of providing a more comprehensive assessment of an applicant’s ability to understand and use the English language in an academic environment, the next generation TOEFL® has been developed to assess all four language skills - listening, reading, writing, and speaking. While some questions in each of the sections will be similar to questions found on the current computer-based TOEFL® test (CBT), others will be new. The scoring system will change as well. Each of the four language skills will now be reported on a scale of 0 to 25 and there will also be a total score. In addition, the next generation TOEFL® will no longer have computer-adaptive sections; it will be a linear assessment test covering a full range of question difficulty. Note taking will be allowed on the new TOEFL® in order to better reflect real-life academic situations. The new TOEFL® will take approximately four hours to finish.

Starting in July 2004, students will be introduced to this new version of the TOEFL® on the Internet. Full-length tests will be unproctored (i.e.: not supervised), and the scores will be given to the examinee only. In September 2005, the next generation TOEFL® will begin to be administered at official ETS test centers.

A very important change to the TOEFL® is the inclusion of a mandatory speaking component - the Academic Speaking Test (AST). This test will last approximately 20 minutes, and will take place over the telephone.Your responses will be recorded on tape and then reviewed later and given a score. During the test you will be asked six questions, two of which will focus on familiar topics. The other four will ask about short conversations, lectures, and reading passages. Both the questions and the reading passages will be printed in the test book. The time you have to prepare your response and speak will be printed below each question. The preparation time begins as soon as the question is finished, and you will be told when to begin speaking. See below for examples.

Example 1 :
Narrator: Number 1. You will now be asked to give your opinion about a familiar topic. After you hear the question, you will have 15 seconds to prepare your response and 45 seconds to speak.
Some students study for classes individually. Others study in groups. Which method of studying do you think is better and why?
Preparation time: 15 seconds
Response time: 45 seconds

Example 2 :
Narrator: Number 2. You will now read a short passage and then listen to a talk on the same topic. You will then be asked a question about them. After you hear the question, you will have 30 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.
The administration at Central University feels it needs to find a way for more people to be able to attend sporting events. Read the article from the university newspaper below. You will have 45 seconds to read it. Begin reading now.


Now listen to a student who is speaking at a student council meeting about the stadium plans.

Student : I’m all for saving money, but money isn’t everything. If you look at the area around the stadium, you’ll see that expansion would cause the main street to be rerouted right around a main classroom building. Can you imagine the added noise? Also, they’ll have to build where there are now student parking lots, and we barely have enough parking spaces as it is. And you know that it’ll take up part of the large open area next to the Student Center and that’s become a really popular place for students to hang out in good weather. This is what they should be worried about, not money.


The student expresses her opinion about one of the university’s plans for a new stadium. State her opinion and explain the reasons she gives for holding that opinion.

Preparation time: 30 seconds
Response time: 60 seconds


As you can see from these two examples, the new TOEFL® contains questions that integrate the four basic communication skills; thus, the test is an excellent measure of how well individuals are able to communicate in english in an academic situation. This integrated approach will help students prepare for success in the real academic environments they will be in once they begin their studies.
ESL-Pro, Free-TOEFL, and Free-English will be closely monitoring the introduction of the next generation TOEFL® and will be among the first to offer high-quality test preparation materials for this exam. Check back with us regularly to stay tuned!

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The International English Language Testing System’ IELTS is an internationally owned and globally recognized direct English Language assessment of the highest quality and integrity readily available throughout the world.

IELTS is a bench marking for those seeking international education and desire global mobility.


IELTS is a comprehensive test for English language proficiency designed to assess the ability of non-native speakers of English who intend to study in the medium of English.

IELTS is required in order to pursue academic or non academic training. The test is designed so as to judged the various areas which one can encounter during his/her medium of English instruction.

IELTS is accepted by most in Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand’s academic institutions. IELTS is accepted by many professional organizations including the New Zealand. Some universities in U.S.A also accept IELTS such as Harvard B.S. Immigration Services, the Australian department of immigration and Multicultural affairs, the Australian Medical Council, the UK Medical Council, the UK ministry of defense and UK Nursing Council.

IELTS Exam Details

The test is jointly assessed and run by Cambridge E SOL, IELTS Australia : IDP Education Australia. A revised version IELTS was introduced in 1995.

All the vocational & training programmes in UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada require IELTS.

The examination in India is conducted by British Council and IDP. There are centres located all over India. Any student seeking the examination can contact the nearest test centre or can go to the local British Council office / IDP. He/She should contact the test centre to find out the date of next test and collect the IELTS handbook and an application form. The filled application form should be seat back to the test centre with the test fee. According to the availability of seat he/she will be given a date and time of the test.

The candidates are tested in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are two levels: Academic and General level. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. There is a choice of Reading and Writing Modules according to whether a candidate is taking the Academic or General version of the test. Academic Reading and Writing modules are suitable for those seeking admission to undergraduate and post graduate courses. General Reading and Writing modules are suitable for candidates who are going to English- speaking countries to complete their secondary education or to undertake work experience or training programmes not at a degree level. The general modules are also used for immigration purposes.

The Results are available on the net within a week. All four modules are equally weighted. Individual module score and overall score are of equal importance. The IELTS results are reported on the nine band scale. Most universities and colleges accept 6.5 or 6.0 for entry to academic programmes, but different institutions accept different IELTS scores for different types of courses.

The test modules are taken in the following order.

4 sections, 40/42 questions 30 minutes.

Academic Reading General Reading
3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes

Academic Writing General Writing
2 tasks, 60 minutes 2 tasks, 60 minutes

11 to 14 minutes

Total test time
2 hours 44 minutes

The test report have a validity of two years.
How to prepare for IELTS

Following hints may help in the preparation of IELTS.

  1. Gamming is not an effective study technique. As there is no prescribed text regular practice is essential. The skills require a period of time to build up.
  2. Remember each of four modules carries the same weight so they should be treated equally.
  3. Plan your time table. Use your time efficiently.
  4. Give break between your practice sessions.
  5. Should know the procedures and length of the test. The order of sections, length and time is of great importance. There are many resources available to help you to practice these skills.
  6. A study group is an excellent idea. Individual may raise issues that you may not have considered.
  7. Try to mark your weak section and then lay more stress on it.

Examination Technique

A good examination technique is always helpful in achieving a good score.
Remember that every section is marked independently. Do not jeopardize your performance in one section just because you believe that you have done badly in another. Do not under estimate or try to predict your outcome. You may, in fact, might have done better than you imagined.

Focus on what you know rather than on what you don’t know while you are doing the test.

Ensure that you adhere to time. Time management is very important as it correspond to the numbers of marks given for a particular question.
As there is no negative marking it is a good idea to write down an answer guess wisely even you are not sure of it. Some students omit an answer to come back on the end but do not have enough time.

Skills for Listening Module test tape

In the Listening part of test is played only once. Therefore a number of skills are required to tackle it. The recording is played for 30 minutes. Listening, reading and writing have to be synchronized as the three things have to be done at the same time.

Understanding and following the instructions is very important. They are both written on question paper and spoken on the tape. You must read and listen to the instruction carefully. Ensure that you follow then exactly and answer the correct way.
The listening module has four sections. They are either a monologue or a dialogue. An announcer will usually briefly outline the topic, situation and who is talking.

Before the recording begins 30 seconds are given to read and become familiar with the questions. This helps in preparing to listen for the exact information required. After each section 30 seconds are given to check your answers. Check that all the answers correspond with the given instructions.

The first suggestion is to write the answers as you hear them. Waiting could be a mistake because later you will not remember the answer as you won’t get the chance to listen to the same piece again. As you get the chance to read the questions before listening, you will be able to concentrate your attention just to the part you are interested in. don’t lose time trying to understand everything. You always have to know what questions you are waiting for. When you hear the answer write it at once or if you do not understand it, start reading, the next question and wait for the answer.

Some hints for previewing & predicting

  1. Read instructions carefully, do not just glance them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tasks.
  2. Often the speakers will give you an answer and then correct themselves. Watch out for this. It is a common trick.
  3. Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration.
  4. Small errors can lead to low score such as spelling, omitting(s) or incomplete times eg. 1.30.
  5. Don’t panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
  6. Don’t leave blanks, you might as will guess, you won’t be penalized.
  7. May have to change the parts of speech of the words they hear in order to grammatically match the gap on the question paper

Checking and Rewriting

At the end of the test you get 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Check carefully that you have transferred your answers correctly to the answer sheet. Try to write something in all the 40 spaces even if you are not sure of the correct answer. A wrong answer is as wrong as no answer: so try. You could be lucky.

Skills for the Reading Module

The Reading Module is divided into Academic and General. Here the main problem is time. You are supposed to read 3 passages and to give a total of 40 answers. Therefore 20 minutes for each passage, which is sometimes not enough. If you are nor able to complete pass on to the next section. Remember you are not given any extra time at the end of the test to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Many candidates think so because they have extra time in listening.

Second : read the questions carefully before reading the passage, this is very important. If you read the passage without knowing the questions you will waste your time usually, but not always, you find the answers in order.

Third : read the instructions given carefully. You must ensure that you understand exactly what is required and in what form. If you are asked to write only three words stick to it. Sometimes students write four or five words which is wrong. This does not fetch any marks.

The questions are given to test the various ability of the students. They are

Summary Completion
Matching headings to paragraphs.
Identifying the writer’s view
Multiple Choice
Selecting Factors
Table Completion
Matching causes and effects
Interpreting the instructions and questions.

When you are looking for a question look at ways paragraphs are organized. Don’t panic if you don’t know anything about the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don’t need any specialist knowledge. Try and predict content of paragraph from the opening sentence. Leave a question if you can’t answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have too. Don’t concentrate on words you don’t know. It is fatal and wastes valuable time. Careless mistakes costs many marks. Check spellings. Be careful with singular and plural.

Checking your answer

After you have completed your answers for each section, you need to check them. Check that you have followed the instructions exactly. Transfer the answers after completing each passage so that if run short of time at least all the answers attempted are on the answer sheet. If you have time, return to the answers you marked because you were ensure and see if the answers you have given are the best ones.

Do not leave any answers blank you do not lose marks for incorrect answers.

Skills for writing Module


There are two tasks and has to be completed in an hour. The first is a visual analysis and second a composition about an argument of general interest: it is usually suggested to spend 20 minutes for task I and 40 minutes for task II but you have to decide on your strategy on the basis of your ability. However, remember to read both titles before you start writing. In this way your sub-conscious will start thinking about the second task while you are writing the first task.

Task one

About 20 minutes can be spent on this task as a visual task there to be converted into words. You are asked to present in about 150 words the diagram, table, graph or short piece of text. There are three important steps you should follow: preparation, writing and editing. Highlight the key words, clearly, divide the paragraphs and don’t repeat the ideas in different ways. Learn to recognize how long is 150 words in your hand writing. You don’t really have time to count.

When discussing the date presented in the task, identify significant trends and give examples that relate to the given information to support your statements.

Remember that the use of verbs should be correct.
Ensure your ideas are arranged logically.
Concluding sentence (optional)

Task two (common for Academic and General)

Don’t rush Task two, it’s longer and carries more weight. Stick to the topic. Paragraph simply with one idea in each paragraph. Get used to re-reading several times and make corrections. Try to avoid grammatical mistakes and make a composition in order: the paragraphs have to be clear. Leave a line between them. Remember the illegible handwriting will reduce your final score.


You may wish to spend about 5-7 minutes working out exactly what you are going to do. The writing style should be formal & academic. Candidates should make sure that they read and answer the question fully. Candidates purpose is to develop his point of view in a convincing way. He should ensure that they are arranged in a logical order. Candidates should write at least 250 words.

How long does it take?

Candidates are asked to spend not more than 40 minutes on this task.
On what one they tested and assessed.

Their ability to present the argument clearly giving evidence and argument or examples to support their ideas are assessed. They are also assessed on how will their ideas are organized and the accuracy of the language they use. They should make sure that all of their ideas are relevant to the question. Short answers will be penalized. Candidates will not be penalized if the answer is longer. However, if they write long answer they may not have time for checking and correcting at the end. Candidates should plan their ideas, select most relevant ones and organize these so that they are presented as clearly and accurately as possible within the time allowed. Candidates must use their own words when writing their answer.

Examiners assess the answers according to these criteria

  1. Task Response
  2. Coherence and Cohesion
  3. Lexical Resources
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

Candidates must write their answers on the answer sheet provided.

General Training Writing Task - I

Candidates need to write an informal or semifinal or formal personal letter of at least 150 words.

A situation or a problem is given and they need to request informative and/ or explain the situation.

To do this they may

  1. Ask for and/or provide general factual information.
  2. Express needs, wants, likes or dislikes.
  3. Express opinions or complaints.
  4. Make suggestions / recommendations / requests.

The problems or situations are about the common everyday ones.

What style must candidates write in?
It depends who they are asked to write to and how will they are supposed to know them i.e audience. They need write in a style that is appropriate for their audience and that will help them to achieve their purpose for writing eg.
Writing to friend (informal)
Writing to a manager (formal)

Candidates do not need to include addresses on their letters unless they are specifically asked to do so or unless the need for an address is implied in one of the bullet points.

Skills for Speaking Module

Speaking consists of a conversation between the candidate and the examiner for 10 to 14 minutes. Its test the ability to communicate effectively not just the grammatical accuracy. You must speak more than the examiner.

The test is divided into three sections.

Part one - The examiner will ask you question about yourself.

Part two - The topic for your talk will be written on a card which the examiner will hand you. Read it carefully and then make some brief notes. You have 1 to 2 minutes to think about what you are going to say. Think of all what you know.

Part three – Once your talk in part two is over, your examiner will ask you further questions related to the topic in part two. Don’t be afraid to take initiative in part three of the speaking test. This is the chance to show your fluency, your opinion and your vocabulary.

Remember whenever you are asked for your OPINION about ANYTHING you can always give both the positive and negative aspects of the subject in question. You will get a better score if you have made a comparison of the subject. Remember the examiner has had a long hard day, and is a human too so be interesting, try to keep eye contact and stop fidgeting while speaking.

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The SAT is the nation's most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. It tests students' knowledge of subjects that are necessary for college success: reading, writing, and mathematics. The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college—skills that students learned in high school.

The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge they have attained in and outside of the classroom—including how they think, solve problems, and communicate. The SAT is an important resource for colleges. It's also one of the best predictors of how well students will do in college.

Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year in the U.S. and U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, and six times a year overseas.

The SAT includes several different question types, including: a student-produced essay, multiple-choice questions, and student-produced responses (grid-ins). Select any section below to learn more about specific question types.

The Critical Reading Section

Time : 70 min. (two 25-min. sections and one 20-min. section)
Content : Critical reading and sentence-level reading
Item Types : Reading comprehension, sentence completions, and paragraph-length critical reading
Score : 200-800

The critical reading section, formerly known as the verbal section, includes short as well as long reading passages. Questions can be based on one, or sometimes two, reading passages. Some questions are not based on reading passages, but ask you to complete sentences.

The critical reading section measures:

Sentence Completions

Sentence Completion questions measure your :
-Knowledge of the meanings of words
-Ability to understand how the different parts of a sentence fit logically together

Passage-based Reading

The reading questions on the SAT measure a student's ability to read and think carefully about several different passages ranging in length from about 100 to about 850 words. Passages are taken from a variety of fields, including the humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and literary fiction. They vary in style and can include narrative, argumentative, and expository elements. Some selections consist of a pair of related passages on a shared issue or theme that you are asked to compare and contrast.

The Mathematics Section

Time : 70 min. (two 25-min. sections and one 20-min. section)
Content :Number and operations; algebra and functions; geometry; statistics,
probability, and data analysis Item Types : Five-choice multiple-choice questions and student-produced responses
Score : 200-800

The SAT includes mathematics topics from up through a third-year college preparatory course, such as exponential growth, absolute value, and functional notation. It also places emphasis on such topics as linear functions, manipulations with exponents, and properties of tangent lines. Important skills such as estimation and number sense are measured through the multiple-choice and student response (grid-in) questions.

May I use a calculator?

Yes. Students may use a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator. The College Board recommends that students use a graphing (or at least a scientific) calculator for the SAT, although it's still possible to solve every question without a calculator.

The mathematics section has two types of questions :
- Multiple Choice
- Student-Produced Response Questions

Multiple Choice

The questions that follow will give you an idea of the type of mathematical thinking required to solve problems on the SAT. First, try to answer each question yourself, and then read the solutions that follow. These solutions may give you new insights into solving the problems or point out techniques you'll be able to use again. Most problems can be solved in a variety of ways, so don't be concerned if your method is different from the one given. Note that the directions indicate that you are to select the best of the choices given.

Student-Produced Responses

Questions of this type have no answer choices provided. Instead, you must solve the problem and fill in your answer on a special grid. Ten questions on the test will be of this type.

It is very important for you to understand the directions for entering answers on the grid!

You will lose valuable testing time if you read the directions for the first time when you take the test. The directions are fairly simple, and the gridding technique is similar to the way other machine-readable information is entered on forms.
A primary advantage of this format is that it allows you to enter the form of the answer that you obtain, whether whole number, decimal, or fraction. For example, if you obtain 2/5, you can grid 2/5. If you obtain .4, you can grid .4. Generally, you should grid the form of the answer that you obtain naturally in solving the problem. The grid will only hold numbers that range from 0 to 9999. Decimals and fractions can also be gridded.

When there is a range of possible correct answers, your gridded response must lie within the range. For example, consider a problem for which all numbers between 4 and 5, exclusive, are correct answers. For this question, although 4.0002 is within the range (4 < x < 5), its rounded value 4.00 is not within the range and therefore would not be considered a correct answer to the problem.

Approaches to Student-Produced Responses

Decide in which column you want to begin gridding your answers before the test starts. This strategy saves time. We recommend that you grid the first (left-hand) column of the grid or that you right-justify your answers.

If the answer is zero, grid it in column 2, 3, or 4.Zero has been omitted from column 1 to encourage you to grid the most accurate values for rounded answers. For example, an answer of 1/8 could also be gridded as .125 but not as 0.12, which is less accurate.

A fraction does not have to be reduced unless it will not fit the grid.For example, 15/25 will not fit. You can grid 3/5, 6/10, or 9/15. The decimal form, .6, can also be gridded.

Do your best to be certain of your answer before you grid it.If you erase your answer, do so completely. Incomplete erasures may be picked up by the scoring machines as intended answers.

Check your work if your answer does not fit on the grid.If you obtain a negative value, a value greater than 9999, or an irrational number, you have made an error.

Make an educated guess if you don't know the answer.On student-produced response (grid-in) questions you don't lose points for wrong answers.

Always enter your answer on the grid. Only answers entered on the grid are scored. Your handwritten answer at the top of the grid isn't scored. However, writing your answer at the top of the grid may help you avoid gridding errors.

The Writing Section

Time : 60 min. Content : Grammar, usage, and word choice Item Types : Multiple choice questions (35 min.) and student-written essay (25 min.) Score : 200-800

The writing section includes both multiple-choice questions and a direct writing measure in the form of an essay.

Short Essay

The short essay measures your ability to:

  • Organize and express ideas clearly
  • Develop and support the main idea
  • Use appropriate word choice and sentence structure
  • You'll be asked to develop a point of a view on an issue, using reasoning and evidence — based on your own experiences, readings, or observations — to support your ideas.
  • The essay will be scored by trained high school and college teachers. Each reader will give the essay a score from 1 to 6 (6 is the highest score) based on the overall quality of the essay and your demonstration of writing competence.
  • Get more information about the essay:
  • Sample Essay Question
  • Essay Scoring Guide

Please note that the essay images seen by readers for scoring purposes are clearer than the images we can display for students and institutions on our website.


The multiple-choice writing questions measure your ability to:

  • Improve sentences and paragraphs
  • Identify errors (such as diction, grammar, sentence construction, subject-verb agreement, proper word usage, and wordiness)
  • Try multiple-choice questions:
  • Identifying Sentence Errors
  • Improving Sentences
  • Improving Paragraphs

About the SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, and your ability to apply that knowledge.

The SAT Subject Tests are the only national admissions tests that give you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of content in specific subjects, such as English, history, mathematics, science, and various foreign languages.

Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Some colleges specify the SAT Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take. These tests give you and colleges a very reliable measure of how prepared you are for college-level work in particular subjects. Used in combination with other background information (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a dependable measure of your academic achievement and are a good predictor of future college performance in specific subject areas.

The SAT Subject Tests offer you an additional opportunity to show colleges what you know and what you know you can do.

SAT Subject Tests fall into five general subject areas :


  1. Literature


  1. US History
  2. World History


  1. Mathematics Level 1
  2. Mathematics Level 2


  1. Bilology E/M
  2. Chemistry
  3. Physics

All SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, multiple-choice tests. However, some of these tests have unique formats:

  • The SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M contains a common core of 60 general-knowledge multiple-choice questions, followed by 20 multiple-choice questions that emphasize either ecological (Biology E) or molecular (Biology M) subject matter. Before testing begins, you must choose which test you will take, either the ecological or molecular. Students are not allowed to take both tests in one sitting. If you do, your scores may be canceled.
  • The SAT Subject Tests in Mathematics (Level 1 and Level 2) have some questions that require the use of at least a scientific or graphing calculator. Mathematics Subject Tests are developed with the expectation that most students will use a graphing calculator.
  • The SAT Subject Tests in Languages with Listening (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish) consist of a listening section and a reading section. Students taking these tests are required to bring an acceptable CD player with earphones to the test center.

For more detailed information, including recommended preparation, anticipated skills, test format, sample questions, and more, visit the Subject Tests Preparation Center.

Which SAT Subject Tests should you take?
Before deciding which tests to take, make a list of the colleges you're considering. Then review school catalogs, College Search Engines, or College Handbooks to find out whether the schools require scores for admission and, if so, how many tests and in which subjects.

Use your list of colleges and their admission requirements to help plan your high school course schedule. You may want to adjust your schedule in light of colleges' requirements. For example, a college may require a score from a SAT Subject Test in a language for admission, or the college might exempt you from a freshman course requirement if you do well on a language SAT Subject Test.

Many colleges that don't require SAT Subject Test scores will still review them since they can give a fuller picture of your academic background

If you're not sure which SAT Subject Test to take from a subject area, talk to your teacher or school counselor and visit the Subject Tests Preparation Center.

When should you take SAT Subject Tests?

Most students take SAT Subject Tests toward the end of their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year.

Take tests such as World History, Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject, while the material is still fresh in your mind. If you take such courses in your freshman or sophomore year, and you are eligible for fee waivers, you can request a fee waiver to test before your junior year. For foreign language tests, you'll do better after at least two years of study.

The Unscored Section

In addition to the nine scored sections of the SAT, there is one 25-minute section that we use to ensure that the SAT continues to be a fair and valid test. Don't be worried: the section does not count towards your score. It may be a critical reading, mathematics, or writing multiple-choice section.

It is common test development to use an unscored section to try out new questions for future editions of the test. It also ensures that scores on new editions of the SAT are comparable to scores on earlier editions of the test. This helps to ensure the fairness of the SAT, which is one of our primary objectives.

Test Order

The SAT is comprised of 10 total testing sections. The first section is always a 25-minute essay, and the last section is always a 10-minute multiple-choice writing section. Sections two through seven are 25-minute sections. Sections eight and nine are 20-minute sections. Test-takers sitting next to each other in the same session may have test books with entirely different content orders for sections two through nine (mathematics, critical reading, and writing).

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