Pillar I: Use the Structure of the Test

“Wiz-dom” on the first Pillar

Words of Wiz-dom-The SAT ALWAYS has ten sections. That is part of the standardization or predictability of the test.

“Wiz-dom” on the General Structure

Reading (3 Sections)


  • Two 25-minute sections
  • One 20-minute section


The structure of the three reading sections is very predictable (standardized).   Knowing the following will help you pace yourself.

Section A:

  • 5 Sentence Completion
  • 2 Short Passages (4)
  • 2 Medium Passages (15)

Section B:

  • 6 Sentence Completion
  • Long or Paired (13)

Section C:

  • 8 Sentence Completion
  • 2 Short Passages (4)
  • Long or Paired (1)

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Format

Section Organization:

The  Sections A, B and C that are detailed above can come in any order

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Section Organization

Math (3 Sections)


  • Two 25-minute sections
  • One 20-minute section


  • Multiple Choice (44)
  • Fill-in-the-Blank (10)

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Time and Format

Section A:

20 Multiple-Choice Questions

Section B:

8 Multiple-Choice and 10 Fill-in-the-Blank (Student-Produced Response)

Section C:

16 Multiple-Choice

Sections A and B can come in either order but C is always last.

Content: (based on Demystifying the SAT chapters)

  • Arithmetic (approximately 30%)
  • Algebra (approximately 25%)
  • Geometry (approximately 20%)
  • Miscellaneous Math (approximately 25%)

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Content

Section Organization

  • 20 Multiple Choice
  • 8 Multiple Choice / 10 Fill-in-the-Blank

(Either of the above two sections can be first.)

  • 16 Multiple Choice (always the last section)

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Section Organization

Experimental (Unscored) Section (1 Section)

  • 25 Minutes
  • Math, Reading, or Writing (Multiple-Choice)
  • Why/What
  • Unpredictable

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Experimental Section

Words of “Wiz-dom”-Use the scoring procedures (also predictable) to raise your score.

Raw Score = Number correct adjusted for number wrong

  • Every Correct Answer = 1 point
  • Wrong Multiple Choice = -1/4 point
  • Wrong Fill-in-the-Blank = 0 points (no penalty)
  • Blank = 0 points (doesn’t help or hurt)

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Raw Score

Is Guessing Penalized or Rewarded?

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Guessing

Percentile Score= Percent of other test takers you outscored

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Percentile Score

Scaled Score = Comparison to “Norm Group” based on your Raw Score.

  • 200 to 800 on Math, Reading, and Writing Sections
  • Approximately 495 = Reading Average
  • Approximately 515 = Math Average
  • Approximately 490 = Writing Average

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Scaled Score

Questions Organized from Easy to Hard

  • Within question format (All math, Sentence Completion, and Writing Multiple-Choice)
  • The exceptions are Reading Passage and 6 Passage Related Writing Multiple-Choice questions.

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Questions Organized from Easy to Hard

Words of “Wiz-dom”- You don’t need to get nearly the same percentage on the test that you do in school to get an equivalent score. An average score on the test equates to approximately 50% of the possible points. There’s no way in school that you get an average grade if you get less than 50% correct! The point is you can miss and skip a lot of questions and still get a decent score. If you get stumped, keep moving. There are points waiting to found somewhere else. Set a target score.

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Set a Target Score

Your target score: Reading ________ Math _______ Writing _______
Total _________

Look at a scaled score chart for a released test. Using that chart and the target score you established, how many points do you need?

Keep in mind this is not the number right. It is the number of points after the adjustment for wrong answers is made.

So what percentage do you need to get correct?

Reading Points/67 = ______________%
Math Points/54 = _______________%

Writing (Multiple-Choice)/49 = __________%

Words of “Wiz-dom” on Your Target Score

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