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The second verbal section of the SAT is called SAT Writing and Language.

Students have 35 minutes to answer 44 questions in this section.

About half of those questions are about punctuation and grammar usage according to accepted English standards. The second half evaluates “expression of ideas,” or rhetorical abilities.

50 percent of your SAT verbal score is derived from your performance on this section, which is graded on a scale from 200 to 400.

Compared to Evidence-Based Reading, which has 52 questions, the writing and language section has fewer questions. As a result, each question on the Writing and Language section is theoretically worth more on its own.

In this article we will discuss the following:

  • SAT Writing and Language: Introduction
  • SAT Writing and Language: What You Actually Need to Know
  • SAT Writing and Language: General Tips

1. Introduction

Each of the four passages on the SAT Writing and Language test. They address the following subjects:

  • Science
  • Humanities
  • History
  • Social science
  • Career fields

With each passage, there are 11 questions.

Writing and Language questions don’t come at the end of the passage like they do in the Reading section; they appear all throughout.

This is how that appears:


There isn’t a single passage on the SAT Writing and Language that is “harder” than the other. In fact, it’s likely that each passage will include a good mix of questions about grammar, punctuation, and how ideas are expressed.

However, most students might find it simpler to answer a punctuation question than an expression of ideas question! But that’s something we’ll cover later.

Types of Questions

The Writing and Language section is divided by the College Board into two subscores:

Standard English Grammar and Expression
The two broad question categories in this section are represented by these subscores.

Questions on Standard English Conventions measure your understanding of the fundamental grammatical and punctuation rules.
Questions about the expression of ideas assess a writer’s skill in writing techniques like rhetoric, diction, and idea organization.
This may seem like a lot, but once you know what questions to anticipate, it gets much simpler!

The SAT is standardized exam, which means that the same set of concepts are covered on every test. Additionally, the SAT Writing and Language exam only assesses a limited number of grammatical and rhetorical concepts.

This implies that you do not need to spend time learning and memorizing endless amounts of grammar rules. You also don’t need to be an expert in rhetoric to succeed here.

How do you succeed on the SAT Writing and Language section? Knowing what is tested and becoming 100% comfortable with those ideas beforehand!

2. What Should You Know About the Writing and Language Section

Students must be familiar with the following ideas in order to succeed on the SAT Writing and Language section:

College Board Sub-score Concept
Standard English Conventions
Apostrophes: Plural vs. Possessive
Colons and Dashes
Combining and Separating Sentences
Comma Uses and Misuses
Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers
Essential & Non-Essential Clauses
Parallel Structure
Pronoun and Noun Agreement
Question Marks
Relative Pronouns
Verbs: Agreement and Tense
Word Pairs and Comparisons
College Board Sub-score Concept
Expression of Ideas
Add, Delete, Revise
Diction, Idioms, and Register
Sentence and Paragraph Order
Sentence vs. Fragments
Shorter is Better

This chart illustrates how questions on Standard English Conventions (i.e., grammar) will test your understanding of accepted usages of punctuation, grammar, and other conventions.

The following is an example of a Standard English Conventions question:


You will be tasked with enhancing written communication effectiveness in questions titled “Expression of Ideas.

A typical Expression of Ideas query might resemble the following:


As you can see from these examples, unlike the questions about Standard English Convention, most Expression of Ideas questions have a question in front of them.

This typically means that questions on Expression of Ideas take longer to complete than questions on Standard English Conventions. They frequently call for a thorough comprehension of context rather than memorization of grammar rules.

Sometimes they might even seem more difficult! However, on test day, they still carry the same number of points.

Breackdown of the Questions

As was previously mentioned, students can anticipate working through 20–22 questions on English conventions and 20–22 questions on expression of ideas.

Here is a summary of everything:

Question Type Number of Questions
6-12 questions
Writing Strategy
20-26 questions
3-8 questions
Misc. Grammar Topics
0-5 questions
Charts and Graphs
1-4 questions

As you can see, writing strategy is a topic that the Writing and Language section covers a little bit more than grammar rules.

Some students become a little anxious when they see the “Charts and Graphs” questions here. After all, this is the grammar section.

All four SAT sections contain questions on charts and graphs (including Evidence-Based Reading).

Don’t let these worry you. Although some data analysis is involved, they primarily gauge a student’s capacity for combining verbal and numerical information.

Here is an example query:


3. SAT Writing and Language: General Advice on How to Deal With It.

What techniques are necessary to ace the SAT Writing and Language section? Here are a few excellent general advices.

1. Read the complete text

Students can succeed on the Writing and Language section without having a deep understanding of the passages, unlike the SAT Reading section.

As a result, there will typically be 1-2 questions per passage that ask students to connect a fact, a title, or a transition to the passage’s main idea.

This makes it a good idea to skim the passage before moving on to the questions. Students might miss the big picture if this isn’t done. Students should read the passage quickly before starting the questions.

2. Determine which concept is being tested by the question.

For hints, compare the answer options to see how they differ from one another. Do some of the answer options make the subject possessive while others use a plural subject?

If so, then this is most likely an apostrophe-related query. Finding the error and fixing it is much simpler once students have identified the guiding principle.

3. Show that the given answers are incorrect.

There is only one grammatically correct response to each Standard English Convention question, so keep that in mind. In addition to selecting the correct response, it’s crucial to examine each alternate response and determine why it is grammatically incorrect.

Students should look more closely because they may be missing something if they ever feel that there are two or more grammatically sound answers. It’s crucial to carefully check each response because the SAT likes to include “nearly correct” options that seem reliable at first.

All but one option should be able to be definitively ruled out by students.

The Expression of Ideas questions can be a little more challenging because while multiple responses may be grammatically correct, only one will most effectively convey the author’s intention.

4. Using less words is commonly better.

In most cases, the shortest answer will be the correct one if more than one answer is grammatically correct. Shorter is always preferable in writing, and the SAT loves to test on wordiness and how to avoid it.

Therefore, students should check the answer choice that says, “DELETE the underlined portion” before selecting it because it is usually accurate.

Keep in mind that your best friend is the elimination process. In order to determine how the answer options differ, compare them to one another if you ever get stuck on a rhetorical question. You’re probably better off leaving out any information that isn’t absolutely necessary from an answer choice.

5. Connect it.

Finally, students should check that their chosen answer fits the passage before choosing it. In the context of the passage, an answer that makes perfect sense on its own might be incorrect.

Important Notice!

Something you need to know about "No Change"

You’ve probably noticed that almost every question offers the option of “No Change” as an answer.

Although many students are hesitant to select this option, it should be treated just like any other answer option.

The “No Change” option is necessary due to the layout of the Writing and Language section in order for the passages to be read in their entirety without any gaps. The information that is highlighted, however, has the same chance of being true as any other answer option.

Read the entire textual passage that has been underlined before choosing your response, and treat it just like any other option! What sets it apart from the other responses? What principle is being tested, and how does the original phrasing compare to that principle?

For the rhetorical questions, it’s especially crucial to remember to check the original text; the answer that was originally in the passage might have been the shortest one, so don’t ignore it when you’re trying to play the “shorter is always better” card.



The key to passing the SAT Writing and Language section is practice more than anything else.

Although many students use their ears to solve problems, most of the questions test strict guidelines that can be learned and mastered.

None of these ideas are particularly challenging, but understanding them takes some time and effort.

How can you be certain you’re receiving the best instruction possible?

We highly advise enrolling in one of our cutting-edge SAT programs. The best way to ensure success as you prepare for the SAT is to work with experts who use authentic College Board materials.

 Seek Excellent SAT Tutoring

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As an SAT Examinee, you must have knowledge about SAT Exam dates, so you can plan your schedule based on the date you intend to set for the SAT exam. Planning will help in managing time for studying and preparing properly for the SAT Exam. Down below is a link that shows the SAT Exam Dates for the Acadmic year of 2022/2023.