The SAT is a standardized test that evaluates students writing, math and verbal skills and assigns a score to their abilities, which helps colleges and universities determine the students' competitiveness in the application process. The SAT has three sections: math, writing and critical reading. Many refer to the critical reading as the verbal section, because this section tests students' language abilities and reading comprehension.
The verbal section of the SAT operates on a scale of 200 to 800. The section is broken down into two major sections: passage-based reading and sentence completion. Passage-based reading constitutes 72 percent of the verbal section, and sentence completion constitutes the other 28 percent. The verbal score is added to a student's math and writing scores in order to get an overall score between 600 and 2400. Students can choose whether or not to send scores to colleges at the end of the test.
Verbal Section Overview
The verbal section of the SAT presents the easiest questions first, and the questions get progressively harder towards the end. Passage-based reading presents passages of a variety of lengths, and students must interpret these passages for major themes, biases, concepts and facts. The sentence completion section asks students to complete sentences with vocabulary words and phrases. In addition, this section also includes analogies, in which students complete a pair of words by comparing them to another pair of words.
Questions and Timing
The SAT's verbal section consists of 67 questions. 48 of these questions are multiple choice and 19 are sentence completion questions. Individuals must complete the section in 70 total minutes, although the section is broken down into three timed sections. The first two sections are 25 minutes long, and the third section is 20 minutes. The SAT takes three hours and 45 minutes overall, and the verbal section constitutes approximately 30 percent of the test time.
Students cannot send scores from one component of the test to a university without sending the scores for the entire test. Students can send individual test scores at no additional charge, as long as they send the scores on the day that they take the test through a program called Score Choice. Otherwise, all of their test scores will be released to colleges. Students can submit scores after the test by going to the SAT's homepage at sat.collegeboard.com/home.
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