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The SAT Reading Test: What to expect

An overview of the SAT Reading Test.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user dominicparente
    Hi, just a general question here. How should I go about reading the literature passages on the SAT. I do extremely well on the science and social science passages, but I struggle on the literature passages. Is there any advice you can give me? Thanks!
    (33 votes)
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    • old spice man blue style avatar for user Ziad
      This is truly one of the harder portions of the reading section. I would suggest reading tons of literature on your free time. It helped me so much especially when you get into a habit of reading several books a month. You begin to understand the structure and tone of each passage which you can obviously transfer to the reading portion!
      (5 votes)
  • eggleston blue style avatar for user Olivia Ke
    I don't get why some people score 1550+ on SAT. Are there any strategies to perform my best on test days?
    (23 votes)
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  • leafers sapling style avatar for user Amana Awwad
    What should i do first? Should i read the passage first or read the questions? How should I initially start?
    (10 votes)
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    • old spice man blue style avatar for user Ziad
      If you have great time management and have a little wiggle room, I believe you should definitely read the questions before reading the passage. Without any great time management, you would be better off reading the passage first!
      (4 votes)
  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user NathanFischer
    I have a question that was in khanacademy's SAT practice reading test, it start off like this -->
    Inside the hollow interior laid a small package wrapped in wax paper.

    The sentence above seems grammatically correct to me, but however khanacademy said the correct answer would be this sentence -->
    Inside the hollow interior lay a small package wrapped in wax paper.

    Could anyone explain to me why the second is grammatically correct whereas the first one isn't. Thanks to whoever helps me! :)
    (12 votes)
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    • mr pants purple style avatar for user Olivia  **INACTIVE**
      The difference between lay and lie is one of the most common difficulties of the English language, so I don't blame you for being confused. :)
      Laid is a past tense form of the verb lay. The verb lay means "to put or place something." Based on this definition, the first sentence doesn't make any sense. The small package isn't placing anything anywhere. It's just lying there.
      Lay is a past tense form of the verb lie. The verb lie means "to rest or recline." This verb makes sense in the sentence. The small package is resting inside the hollow interior like all good small packages should do :P
      The confusing part is that the past tense of the verb lie is lay. When lay is used in the present tense, it means to set something down, but when it is used in the past tense, it means to rest or recline.
      What also troubles many people is that the word lie can also mean "to tell an untruth," so that's when you want to look at the context of the word.
      Hope this helped!
      (2 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Kanika
    Hi, I am trying to study for the reading part of the SAT. I do well on the science and social science. But I can't understand literature as well and the history is really hard for me. Any suggestions to help. I don't have much time to prepare
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user 21suzanne.wiley
    What strategy should some one with test stress try, any advice?
    (5 votes)
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  • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user sy258288
    In which grade do people take this test I'm in 8th grade so can somebody tell me because In she said what you may encounter but I want to know when do we take the test.
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Misam Halimy
    Is there any online test for sat like toefl??
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Abdul-Azeem
    How do I become interested in reading the passages fast if I am not much of a reader?
    (3 votes)
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    • duskpin tree style avatar for user Mikaiah Oxford
      KA coach Dave Travis has an awesome tip in a reply on this issue! Type "psych yourself up" in the search bar and you should find it in the discussions under "Dave answers student questions about the SAT." Hope that helps! It helped me for sure.
      (3 votes)
  • aqualine sapling style avatar for user jo06211
    How should I go about reading the literature passages on the SAT.
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Janessa_INCA
      Your proctor should every once and awhile call out how much time you have left on your test depending on what section of the PSAT or SAT you are currently on. Provided that you feel that you have enough time, I highly encourage you to read some of the questions that are related to the passage(s) in order to get a better idea of what you should be looking for while reading.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

The SAT consists of tests in Reading, Writing and Language, and Math – plus an optional Essay. This video focuses on the Reading test. This test is designed to measure how well you read and interpret the kinds of texts you’ll encounter in college and your career. All of the questions are linked to literary or informational passages from engaging, published works. These will include single passages – which may have one or more informational graphics – and paired passages. You’ll have 65 minutes to read the passages and answer 52 questions. There is one literary passage on the test, which is drawn from an American or international work of fiction – such as a short story or novel. The remaining passages will be informational – taken from non-fiction works in the areas of history, social studies, and science. Included in these non-fiction works will be a passage or a pair of passages taken from the U.S. founding documents or the Great Global Conversation – works from around the world that focus on topics like freedom, justice, and human dignity. The purpose of each passage in the Reading Test might be to tell a story, make an argument, or explain a study or experiment. The passages will range in complexity from a ninth-grade level up to what you would expect to see in the first year of college or other postsecondary training. The questions on the Reading Test fall into three main categories; Information and Ideas: Questions that focus on what the passage says — directly or indirectly; Rhetoric: Questions that ask you to think about how the author conveys his or her meaning; And Synthesis: Questions that require you to draw conclusions and make connections between passages or between passages and informational graphics. You’re in the right place to learn more about the SAT Reading Test – right here on Khan Academy. So, let’s get started with some free hands-on practice!