College PrepSATSAT Reading

What Types of Questions Are on SAT® Reading?

As you prepare for the Reading Test on the SATⓇ exam, you may be wondering what kinds of questions are asked. After reading each passage, you may face any of these question types.

Here is a breakdown of the types of questions in the Reading section: 

1. Analogy

These questions will ask you to make inferences about connections through the passages. You will be asked about relationships between the paired passages or between the passages and accompanying graphics. You may also be asked to make comparisons between two arguments or perspectives.

2. Analyzing Data Graphics

These questions test your ability to make inferences and find connections between the data provided in the passage and the data provided in an accompanying graphic. These graphics may be presented as a chart, graph, or table. You should be able to assess the relationships or comparisons between the graphic and the passage. 

3. Author Technique

These questions ask you to make inferences about the author’s motivations. This includes navigating the feelings an author may have had by assessing their use of tone or mood. You will be asked to make judgments about specific lines or word choices and make inferences about their purpose for the author’s feelings and motivations. The techniques asked about in these questions are mostly centered on tone and mood. 

4. Big Picture

These questions will ask you about the main ideas in the passage. You should complete these questions last, as you will have had many opportunities to pinpoint the details, functions, and connections within the passage. You will need to understand the text in its entirety to answer these questions accurately. The SAT test assesses your reading comprehension skills, and these questions are designed to evaluate this across an entire text. 

5. Evidence Support Questions

These questions rely on your ability to provide reasoning for your answer choices. They are meant to assess your ability to back up claims by providing evidence. You will be asked to provide evidence that supports your answer choices and evaluate how evidence is used by the author to support their claims. You will also assess how the text’s arguments could be improved by evidence and determine how the data in an accompanying graphic supports the passage’s claims. 

6. Function

These questions ask you to think about how a word or phrase is used in the text. You will have to understand the surrounding contexts and pinpoint the impact the specific word or phrase has on the passage as a whole. These questions are not about defining the words or phrases in question but about understanding their function in the text

7. Inference

These questions rely on your ability to pinpoint suggestions made in the text. This may include filling in missing information, defining a word or phrase based on its context, or evaluating the author’s perspective. The answers to these questions are not found directly in the text. Instead, you will have to think independently and make inferences based on what you have read. 

8. Little picture

These questions will ask you about the details. You can expect to find questions about specific lines or paragraphs, and you may be asked to pinpoint how these details are significant to the passage as a whole. 

9. Words in Context

These questions will ask you to look at the context surrounding a word or phrase and define it based on the surrounding circumstances. This type of question tests your comprehension of the word’s purpose in relation to mood, tone, style, or meaning for the text as a whole.

You can practice each question type on the Reading section of the SAT test through UWorld’s SAT Prep course. We have thousands of sample questions that are realistic to the difficulty and style of the official exam. We also offer detailed explanations for these questions to help you understand why you answered incorrectly and set you up to improve your performance for specific question types.