Essential Tips for the SAT Writing & Language Section (2023)

The SAT Writing & Language section is difficult.

The current SAT exam (pre-March 2024) has two English-based sections: Reading and Writing & Language. The SAT Writing & Language section tests your knowledge of standard English grammar and mechanics using brief texts. Starting in March 2024, when the College Board officially transitions all students to the digital format of the SAT, there will be no separate Reading and Writing & Language sections. There will only be one Reading and Writing section. However, before that happens, four 2023 SAT test dates are still left with the “old” structure.

So, here are some tips to help you prep for this critical section of the SAT.

Breaking down the SAT Writing & Language section format

The SAT Writing & Language section tests high school students’ command of the English language – the other is the Reading section. As we mentioned, the SAT is going completely digital starting in March 2024. The test pattern will change slightly, and you need an in-depth guide to help break down all the changes.

The SAT Writing & Language section gauges a high school student’s ability to use the conventions of standard English grammar, punctuation, and use in short passages.

Important components of the section


For the Writing & Language section of the SAT, you’ll get four passages with 44 multiple-choice questions to answer in 35 minutes. These questions test your knowledge of grammar, use, punctuation, and style by asking you to edit the passages for errors. So, get ready to brush up on your English skills.

Question types

In the SAT Writing & Language section, you can expect to find questions about punctuation, grammar, syntax, and rhetorical skills. These types of questions are designed to evaluate a student’s understanding of standard English conventions. They test their capacity to refine a text for better clarity and flow and their comprehension of a passage’s purpose and audience.


The score range of SAT Writing & Language section is 200 to 800, which accounts for half of the language component of your overall score. It’s worth trying every question since there’s no penalty for wrong answers.


Preparing for the Writing & Language section requires several strategies, like taking practice tests and brushing up on grammar rules and concepts. It’s key to be familiar with the test format and the types of questions that will be asked to do well in this section.

Developing a study plan for the SAT Writing & Language section

Can you score 800 on the SAT Writing & Language section? With a good study plan, yes, you can. Creating an effective study plan for SAT Writing and Language section prep is key to maximizing your score. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Setting your target score

It’s essential to start your study plan by setting a target writing and reading score. Think about what schools you want to get into and determine the minimum SAT score they ask for. Use that as a base and aim for a bit higher – that’ll give you a better chance of getting in.

Identifying weak areas

After you’ve figured out your target score, take some time to pinpoint where you need to improve. Practice tests can help you spot which topics you should focus on to help you reach your goal. That way, you can study the things that’ll give you the most significant boost.

Planning study time

Once you’ve evaluated your performance and pinpointed which areas need improvement, it’s important to plan how much time you’ll dedicate to SAT prep. Ensure your schedule is balanced, leaving room for other activities and commitments – not just SAT prep.

Using prep materials

There are plenty of test prep materials out there that you can choose from (even budget-friendly and free resources!). Official SAT Writing & Language section practice tests, review books, and even online tutoring. So grab some that work for you and get started on your prep.

Reviewing mistakes

After taking practice tests, look at the questions you got wrong and figure out why you missed them. See if there’s any kind of pattern to your errors, and figure out which type of questions you need to pay more attention to.


A student studying for the Writing section of the SAT.
Image by Freepik

Learning the basics of grammar and punctuation

Revisit your old grammar lessons to brush up on the basics. Follow these tips to make the most out of your efforts:

Begin by brushing up on the fundamentals of grammar and punctuation. You can refer to textbooks or online resources to help you with this. Concentrate on the most frequently used patterns of sentence formation, verb forms, subject-verb agreement, and punctuation symbols.

Making flashcards for the grammar and vocab you find difficult and regularly reviewing them can help you remember them better. Give it a try.

Using a tutor can be really beneficial if you want to sharpen your grammar and punctuation abilities. They provide individualized study plans, recognize areas that need improvement, and offer tailored feedback and advice.

Preparing with practice tests

Plenty of resources exist if you’re looking to prepare for the SAT Writing & Language section. The College Board website has official SAT question practice tests. Many other test preparation sources are available for you to prep with!

Taking practice tests is a great way to figure out where you stand, familiarize yourself with the test format, and sharpen your test-taking skills.

If you are pressed for time and have less than a month to prepare for SAT, practice as many example questions as possible. With little time, example questions will give you the best idea of what to expect from the test.

Tips for test day preparation

It’s really important to get ready for the SAT. Here are some tips to help you do great on test day and improve your SAT scores.

  • Ensure you get a good night’s sleep before the exam. Fatigue can impair your concentration, focus, and performance.
  • Begin the day with a nutritious breakfast and, if allowed, bring some healthy snacks like fruits and nuts to sustain you during the exam.
  • Have all the necessary materials ready for the day of the test, including your admission ticket, government-issued ID (passport, driver’s license), an acceptable calculator, pencils and erasers, snacks, and a water bottle.
  • On test day, dress comfortably in layered clothing and shoes that won’t restrict you. This will help keep you relaxed and focus on the exam better.
  • Plan to arrive at the testing location at least 30 minutes before the start to check in and acclimate to the surroundings.
  • Once the exam begins, read and follow the instructions and the proctor’s directions carefully to maximize your score.
  • Allot enough time for each section. Don’t spend too long on one question, or you may not have time for the rest.
  • Take a deep breath, stay relaxed, and focus on the test. Don’t let other test-takers or feelings of panic distract you. Believe in yourself and do your best to get the score you deserve!

The big picture

Want to score high in the SAT Writing & Language section? Follow these tips and make sure to prepare effectively. The College Board offers free practice, example questions, and free guides to assist with this. Additionally, online services like Lessonpal online SAT tutoring are great options if you’re looking for an experienced tutor.

Keep a study plan handy and focus on improving your grammar and punctuation skills. In no time, you’ll be on your way to achieving the SAT Writing & Language section score you want for your college application.

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