Decoding the SAT: Understanding the Test Structure and Format


Dubai, known for its iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah, is a vibrant city that attracts people from all over the world. Among its diverse population, high school students in Dubai enjoy a multicultural environment, offering unique opportunities for cultural exchange and learning. Meanwhile, for high school students aspiring to pursue higher education in the United States, the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a significant milestone. This standardised test plays a crucial role in college admissions, and understanding its structure and format is essential for success. So, this article will take a closer look at the SAT, break down its components, and provide insights into what to expect and preparation methods like SAT classes in Dubai. Whether you’re a student preparing for the test or a parent seeking to support your child’s academic journey, let’s unravel the mystery of this important test.

The SAT at a Glance

It is a standardised test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It assesses a student’s readiness for college and provides colleges with a common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. Understanding the test’s structure is the primary step towards achieving a competitive score and gaining admission to your desired college.

Test Sections

This test consists of three main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW), Math, and an optional Essay (commonly known as the SAT Essay). Let’s explore each of these sections in detail.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)

  • Reading: This section assesses your reading comprehension skills. You’ll encounter passages from various subjects and answer questions that test your ability to interpret, analyse, and synthesise information.
  • Writing and Language: In this section, you’ll tackle questions related to grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. It evaluates your ability to revise and edit written content.


The Math section tests your mathematical skills, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. It assesses your problem-solving abilities and your ability to apply mathematical concepts to real-world scenarios.

Optional Essay (SAT Essay)

While this Essay is optional, some colleges may require or recommend it as part of the application process. The essay prompt typically presents an argument, and you’re tasked with analysing the author’s persuasive techniques.

Understanding Its Format

Now that you’ve covered the test’s sections, let’s delve into the format:

  • Duration: The SAT, including the optional Essay, takes about 3 hours and 50 minutes to finish writing. Without the Essay, it’s about 3 hours.
  • Scoring: This test is scored on a scale of 400 to 1600, combining test results from the Math and EBRW sections. The SAT Essay is scored separately.
  • Question Types: The SAT features multiple-choice questions and some grid-in questions in the Math section. The Essay requires you to provide a written response.

Strategies for Success

SAT preparation can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavour. So, here are some tips to help you navigate the test effectively:

SAT Classes in Dubai

  • Consider enrolling in SAT classes in Dubai if you’re in the area. These classes are designed to provide expert guidance, strategies, and practice tests to help you excel on the SAT.
  • SAT classes can help you become familiar with the test’s structure, timing, and question types. They also provide a supportive learning environment.

Practice Thoroughly

  • Practice tests are your best friends when preparing for the SAT. Take as many practice tests as you can to become comfortable with the test format and improve your time management skills.

Time Management

  • Managing your time while taking the test is crucial. Each section has a time limit, so practice pacing yourself to ensure you can complete all questions within the allotted time.

Essay Preparation

  • If you choose to take the SAT Essay, practice writing essays in response to various prompts. Focus on constructing clear arguments and providing evidence to support your points.


The SAT is a significant milestone in the college admissions process, and understanding its structure and format is essential for success. Whether you’re considering SAT classes in Dubai or self-guided study, diligent preparation and effective test-taking strategies will help you achieve your desired score. Remember that the SAT is just one component of your college application, but mastering it can open doors to exciting educational opportunities.