Prep For SAT Subject Test in Literature

Showcase Your Literature Knowledge

There are six to eight sets of questions on the test, each based on a different literary text.

Points Minutes Questions
200–800 60 ≈60
Multiple Choice

This test reflects what is commonly taught in high school. Due to differences in high school classes, it’s likely that most students will find questions on topics they’re not familiar with. This is nothing to worry about. Students do not have to get every question correct to receive the highest score (800) for the test. Many students do well despite not having studied every topic covered.

Skills Needed

  • Knowledge of basic literary terminology, such as irony, stanza, image, tone, alliteration and speaker (highly specialized terms are not covered).
  • Understanding of the following literary concepts:
  • Overall meaning, including effect and theme
  • Form, including structure, genre and organization
  • Use of language, including word choice, imagery and metaphor
  • Meanings and connotations of specific words in context
  • Narrative voice, including tone and attitude
  • Characterization in narrative and dramatic selections
Source of Questions Approximate % of Test
American literature
written by authors from the United States
40–50%
English literature
written by British authors
40–50%
Other literature written in English
past tests have included writers from India, Ireland, Canada and the Caribbean
0–10%
Chronology Approximate % of Test
Renaissance and 17th century 30%
18th and 19th centuries 30%
20th century 40%

Books We Work With

SAT II Subject Tests in Literature

Our one-on-one tutoring for these exams requires The College Board’s Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests or/and Barron’s SAT Subject Test for Literature.

Course structure:

  • Students preparing for the Literature Subject Test generally meet for five 90-minute sessions.

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