studying for digital sat

The SAT® is changing in spring 2024. While many aspects of the test will remain the same as the current paper-and-pencil SAT, there will also be some changes. Continue reading to learn more about the Digital SAT Reading and Writing section.

Digital SAT Reading and Writing Module Structure

The Digital SAT includes two reading and writing modules. Each module has 27 questions to be completed in 32 minutes, giving you an average of about 71 seconds per question. The first module will be a baseline module with a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Your performance on this baseline module will determine whether your second module is harder or easier than the first. If you’re placed into an easier module, your maximum score will be capped, so to earn a top score, you need to excel on that first module and tackle the hardest second module.

The reading and writing modules will follow a predicable structure. You’ll see questions grouped by type and then ordered by difficulty. For example, the first 7 or so questions will be questions that fall under the heading of “craft and structure.” Of those seven questions, you might have 3 that are words in context questions, which are very similar to the words in context questions on the current SAT reading and writing sections. Within those three words in context questions, they’ll appear in order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest. When you reach the next type of question, they’ll once again be ordered from easiest to hardest. This changes your strategy as you approach the reading and writing sections. On the paper and pencil test, the order of questions is unpredictable. When you can predict not only the order of question types but also the relative difficulty of question types, you can better maximize your time on the test.

Reading and Writing Learning Areas on the Digital SAT

The Digital SAT reading and writing section has different question types in each of the four main learning areas.

Craft and Structure

In the craft and structure domain, you’ll see three types of questions:

  • Words in Context
  • Text Structure and Purpose
  • Cross-Text Connections

Words in context questions test your ability to define words based on context or to determine the best word choice for a given context. Text structure and purpose questions ask you to analyze how a text is put together, what its overall purpose is, and what the purpose of each individual component is. Cross-text connections questions ask you to analyze the relationship between two texts. These questions will make up the first six to eight questions on each module.

Information and Ideas

In the information and ideas domain, you’ll see three types of questions:

  • Central Ideas and Details
  • Command of Evidence
  • Inferences

Central ideas and details questions focus on identifying main ideas and supporting details in a text. Command of evidence questions come in two forms: text evidence and quantitative evidence. Text evidence questions ask you to identify a piece of evidence – a finding from a study or a quote from a given work – support a particular claim. Quantitative evidence questions ask you to use information from a graph or table to support a claim. Finally, there are inferences questions, which ask you to dram a conclusion based on information in the text. The questions in this learning area will make up the next six to eight questions on the module.

Standard English Conventions

In the standard English conventions learning area, you’ll see two types of questions:

  • Sentence Boundaries
  • Form, Structure, and Sense

You don’t need to worry too much about the difference between these question types because this is the one learning area where the question types get mixed together. These questions will all test grammar, usage, and mechanics knowledge. You’re expected to identify and correct errors in a given text. The questions in this domain make up the next five to eight questions in the module.

Expression of Ideas

Finally, we have the expression of ideas learning area. Here you’ll find two types of questions:

  • Transitions
  • Rhetorical Synthesis

Transition questions ask you to identify the best transition for a given context. Rhetorical synthesis questions are probably the most unfamiliar questions on the test. They offer a list of notes on a given topic and ask you to identify the statement that best uses those notes to accomplish a particular rhetorical goal. Questions in this learning area make up the final four to six questions in the module.

Digital SAT Reading and Writing Webinar

Watch our webinar below to learn more about the Digital SAT reading and writing module and try out some practice questions.


Want to learn more about Digital SAT changes? Visit our Digital SAT Resource Hub.