SAT Critical Reading

Critical Reading

SAT Critical Reading

The Critical Reading portion of the SAT consists of three scored sections: two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. There are two main types of questions on the Critical Reading section of the test:


The following table summarizes the 3 Critical Reading sections on the SAT:

Section Total Time Total Number of Questions
Section1 25 24 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 5-8 Sentence Completion questions
  • 16-19 Passage Based questions
Section2 25 24 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 5-8 Sentence Completion questions
  • 16-19 Passage Based questions
Section3 20 19 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 5-8 Sentence Completion questions
  • 11-14 Passage Based questions

Common Passage-Based Critical Reading Questions

Passage-based Critical Reading sections on the SAT normally contain questions such as:

  • What is the main idea of the passage?
  • What is the tone of the passage?
  • What is the passage's theme?
  • Why does the author mention certain pieces of information in the passage?

SAT Critical Reading Skills

The Critical Reading section of the SAT tests basic reading and vocabulary skills that most schools cover at or before the tenth grade. Many techniques can be used to improve a student's score. Following is an overview of areas tested in critical reading section of the SAT:

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