What to Expect from SAT Passage Types?


The SAT is a standardized test given by the College Board that measures students’ skills in three areas: reading, writing and math. The goal of the SAT is to give colleges an idea of how prepared you are for college-level work. A lot of students get nervous about their score on this test because they’re worried about not meeting expectations or not doing as well as they could have. But there’s something else you should be worried about: whether or not you’ll know what’s on it! That’s why we’re going to take some time today to talk about passage types—the different types of paragraphs you might read when taking your exam.

SAT Exam: Syllabus and pattern

  • The SAT is a standardized test that can be taken by students in high school and college. It’s an important part of the college admissions process, as well as being used by colleges to measure the academic performance of their applicants. The current version of this test was introduced in 2016, though it has changed several times since its initial release in 1926.
  • The SAT is divided into four sections: Math, Writing/Language Arts (WLA), Reading Comprehension/Critical Reading (RC) and Essay/Research Paper (ERP). Each section contains between 20-25 questions; there are three essay prompts for ERP–one per section–and two for RC questions; there are also two experimental sections that don’t count towards your score but provide valuable feedback about how you might improve on future tests if you took them again!

SAT Exam: Reading Passage Types

The SAT exam will ask you to read passages from a wide range of topics. The reading section in SAT exam includes:
• Science, Mathematics and Technology Passages (often called Science Passages)
• Social Science Passages (often called Social Studies Passages)
• Humanities (Lit/Art/Music) Passages (also known as Literature Passages or Arts Passages)

1. Science, Mathematics and Technology Passages

The most common type of passage on the SAT Reading Test is one that deals with science, mathematics, and technology. These passages are usually about science or technology, but they don’t always have to be. For example, if you’re reading a passage about how people use technology in their everyday lives, it would still fit into this category even though it doesn’t mention anything about physics or chemistry.
The best way to prepare for these types of passages is by reading extensively in publications like Scientific American or Popular Science magazine–anything that will help you get used to reading academic language!

2. Social Science Passages

  • Social science passages are about social issues, like politics, history and economics. These passages tend to be about controversial topics that have been debated by experts in the field. As a result, they can be difficult to understand because they’re written in a formal style.
  • Social science passages may include charts or graphs which show data on how people feel about an issue (for example: “The majority of Americans support stricter gun control laws”). You might also see tables of information comparing different groups’ opinions on an issue (for example: “People who own guns think that owning guns makes them safer; people without guns think owning guns makes them less safe”).

                                            (Read More: How to improve SAT Writing section?)

3. Humanities (Lit/Art/Music) Passages

• The author’s purpose is to analyse a literary work, a piece of art or a musical composition.
• The tone is formal and academic.
• The argument is based on the evidence provided in the passage.

4. Unscored Passage

  • The fourth type of passage is an unscored one. This means it will not be scored and thus cannot affect your score. You’ll see this in the second section of the test, where it appears before your first scored reading passage.
  • The purpose of this kind of passage is to help calibrate SAT scores by providing a benchmark for students’ performance on non-scored questions that do not count toward their final grade (and therefore don’t require any specific knowledge). Therefore, these passages are designed with content that’s widely known throughout society–for example, an article about how dogs were domesticated or how people can help save endangered animals from extinction.
  • Since you don’t need any background knowledge to understand these passages, they’re good examples of what “easy” passages would look like on the SAT Writing Test!

Types of SAT passages those are tricky!

The SAT Reading Test has four types of passages. The first is called the Science, Mathematics and Technology Passage, which includes topics like technology, astronomy and physics. The second is Social Science Passages that focus on history and cultures around the world. The third type of passage is Humanities (Lit/Art/Music) Passages that cover literature from different time periods or genres such as poetry or short stories written by authors like Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe. Finally there’s an unscored passage at the beginning of every section which can be either one of these three types listed above depending on what they want to test you on that day!

(Read More: How to score 800+ on math section in SAT exam?)

How to Answer Passage Type Questions in SAT?

  • First, you should be able to identify the main idea of a passage. This is the most important thing to do because it tells you what the author is trying to say and why they are saying it. If you can’t figure out what an author’s main point or purpose is, then chances are that you won’t be able to answer any of the other questions correctly either!
  • Next, look for clues in each text that help explain tone (how someone feels) and purpose (what someone wants). The writer might have an emotional reaction toward something in their writing; this could indicate positive or negative feelings toward something else in society as well as reveal whether they view themselves as part of a group within society who has been affected by certain events or issues discussed throughout their work.

1. Identify the Main Idea

The main idea is a statement that summarizes the main point of a passage. It’s often stated in the first sentence of the first paragraph, but not always: sometimes it will be implied by what comes before and after it. Either way, it should be clear from context when you read through a passage on test day! The best way to identify a passage’s main idea is by looking at how many times it repeats itself throughout each section; this will help you determine which details are most important for understanding what they’re saying overall.

(Read More: The latest changes in SAT 2023-2023)

2. Recognize Author Tone and Purpose

  • In order to understand author tone and purpose, you must first recognize that they are two different things. Tone is the author’s attitude toward the subject; it can be positive (approving), negative (disapproving) or neutral. Purpose is what motivates an author to write about a particular topic; it could be to persuade, inform or entertain.
  • Each passage type has its own purpose and tone associated with it–you can identify them by looking closely at how language is used in each passage type:

3. Use the Evidence in a Passage to Reach a Conclusion

The right answer will be supported by evidence from the passage. Do not use any information that is not stated or implied in the passage (unless you are asked to do so).
• If there is no evidence provided, then don’t make assumptions about what it could be.
• Don’t assume that something is true just because you think it might be true; instead look for evidence in support of your assumption and see if there’s anything there before making an educated guess.

4. Determine an Author’s Arguments, Opinions and Reasoning

• Determine what type of passage you are reading.
• Ask yourself “What does this passage say?” and “Why does it say it?” This will help you figure out what the author is trying to argue or prove.
• Look for words like “because” or “since” that indicate that one thing causes another thing (i.e., the author’s reasoning).
• Look for words like “I believe,” which indicates an opinion on the subject matter being discussed in a particular paragraph or section of text.
• Using such tips would help in enhancing your SAT score.

5. Draw Inferences from the Text

Inference is a conclusion that you draw from the evidence in a passage. You can infer that the author believes X because of Y, where Y is evidence in the passage. You can also infer that an author believes X because of Z, but this doesn’t mean that you have to believe Z yourself. Inference questions ask you to consider all possible answers and choose one or more based on what’s written in your text.
Inference questions are usually worded like this:

In the text, it seems like ____ (author). However, there may be other reasons why it could be interpreted differently than we think: _____ or _____

6. Be prepared for anything!

When you’re taking the SAT, you can expect to see a variety of passage types on the test. You should be prepared for anything!
• Know what you are looking for in each passage.
• Practice on your own by reading passages and answering questions; this will help you develop an instinctive sense of what’s going on in the text, which is important because many questions ask about how well-written or organized a paragraph is (or isn’t).
• Know your strengths and weaknesses — know which parts of reading comprehension tests give you trouble so that when one comes up on exam day, it won’t throw off your whole score! The more familiar with these types of passages are before taking them again during practice tests or actual exams; then later down line if need be retaking them again if needed until passing with flying colours 🙂


The SAT Reading Test is a challenging exam, but it’s not impossible. If you know what to expect from each passage type and how to answer questions about them, then you’ll be well on your way toward scoring high on this section of the SAT. For more guidance and extensive preparation, approach for SAT training classes.