SAT Reading Practice Test

The SAT Reading Exam accounts for half of your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score. It is going to test you on skills you have been acquiring not only throughout high school, but your entire life. To do this, the test focuses on the fundamental core of your education. You will be tested on questions that emphasize your ability to think critically and logically, and reason based on evidence and information you are given in reading passages.

SAT Reading Practice Test

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The questions can cover anything from determining the meaning of a word in context to understanding the author’s main point and are broken down into the following essential reading skills:

1. Command of Evidence

There will be three different types of questions to test your command of evidence on the SAT Reading Exam: determining the best evidence, interpreting data and understanding how an argument uses or fails to use evidence.

2. Words in Context

Questions that test your ability to understand the meaning of a word in context will present familiar words that may have been used in an unfamiliar way. You will need to be able to understand the meaning of the word based on the context clues around it.

3. Analysis in History/Social Studies and Science

Analysis in history/social studies and science questions will test your ability to use informational graphs and charts to solve problems, synthesize information or revise the text of the passage to align with the data being presented.

SAT Reading Exam Passages

On the SAT Reading Exam, you should anticipate being pressed for time unless you have thoroughly prepared for the exam by learning to gauge your time while taking SAT Reading practice tests. You will be given a total of only 65 minutes to respond to 52 multiple-choice questions based on five passages. Most of these passages will be stand-alone, but will encounter one pair of passages. Each passage will have between 500 and 750 words. The passages will be broken down as follows:

  • 1 US and World Literature Passage
  • 2 History and Social Studies Passages
  • 2 Science Passages

Each passage, or pair of passages, will be followed by a series of questions about what you have read. You will need to select the best possible answer to each of these questions. Your answer will be based on what is stated or implied in the passage or pair of passages. Some questions may also include accompanying graphics, such as a table, for you to consider for your answer.

Dual Passages

The two passages paired together will be about either History and Social Studies or Science. These passages are shorter, and will discuss the same topic. The questions following the dual passages will cover each one individually and both as a collective whole. As you read, pay attention to key differences to help you answer the questions that follow.

Types of Questions

Infer, Imply or Suggest

Questions that use the words “infer,” “imply” or “suggest” are reading comprehension questions. You may need to read between the lines to some extent, but not as comprehensively as you may have done in higher level English classes. You will not be able to find the answer to the question directly in the text, but there will be supporting details within the passage.


Vocabulary-in-context questions will take vocabulary from the related passage and test you on whether you understand the meaning of the word based on the context of the text. With these questions, you will often encounter familiar words used in unfamiliar contexts, so it is important that you thoroughly read the passage for comprehension, rather than relying on your previous knowledge.

Main Idea and General Questions

The first question about each passage or pair of passages will be a general question. It is important to read the entire passage before attempting to respond to these questions. They typically ask about one of the following:

  • Main idea of the passage
  • Narrative point of view
  • Shift that occurs

Charts and Graphs

Unlike the charts and graphs you will encounter on the SAT Math Exam, you can expect these to be simple and straightforward. You will not need to do any computations. Instead, you will take the passage you just read and combine it with the information provided to determine an answer. Most of the time you will encounter these charts and graphs along with the science passages. You will be asked to use the information provided to support or refute claims that have been made within the text, or solve a problem.

Preparing for the SAT Reading Exam

Since time is a critical component for the SAT Reading Exam, you should plan ahead and prepare by timing yourself as you take SAT Reading practice tests. Doing this will allow you to get an idea of how quickly you will need to read through the passages and respond to the questions. Keep in mind that some passages may take several minutes to read, especially as you need to read for comprehension.

As you answer questions, get a feel for which ones you are able to respond to more quickly and easily. These should be the questions you attempt to answer first on the exam before you move on to the questions that may take you more time. Our SAT Reading Practice Test and accompanying SAT Reading Study Guide can help you determine which questions these may be for you.

Your SAT Reading Exam score will fall within the range of 200 to 800 and is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. Unlike previous versions of the test, you will not be penalized for any incorrect answers. This means you should attempt to answer every question, even if you are not sure it is correct.

Scores will be released approximately two weeks following your testing date. They will be sent to the colleges of your choice within ten days of being made available to you. To choose which colleges receive your report, you will need to login to your account through College Board.

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Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 10/17/2017


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