SAT - Test Structure

Test Structure

SAT Test Format

The SAT is divided into ten sections, each of which tests one of three subject skills: Critical Reading, Mathematics or Writing. Each subject receives a score (which is a multiple of 10) on the scale of 200-800. Total scores are calculated by adding up the scores of the three individual subject areas. Every SAT also contains a 25-minute "experimental" section that may be in any of the three major subject areas. The experimental section is used for future administrations of the SAT and does not count toward the final score, but is impossible to distinguish from the graded sections of the exam. The following table summarizes the structure of the test:

Subject Area Maximum Score Sections Total Time
  Writing   800   3 Graded Sections:
  1. Essay Section (25 Minutes)
  2. 35 Questions (25 Minutes)
  3. 14 Questions (10 Minutes)
  60 Minutes Grammar, usage, diction, vocabulary, and paragraph-level reading
  Maths   800
  1. 20 Questions(25 Minutes)
  2. 18 Questions(25 Minutes)
  3. 16 Questions(20 Minutes)
  60 Minutes Numbers, operations, geometry, statistics, and algebra
  800 19 Multiple Choice Questions
  1. 24 Questions(25 Minutes)
  2. 24 Questions(25 Minutes)
  3. 19 Questions(20 Minutes)
  70 Minutes Critical reading, sentence-level reading, and vocabulary

The essay is the first section on the SAT and the 14-question Writing section is always the last. Sections 8 and 9 are 20-minute Critical Reading and Math sections. The other five sections can appear in any order. The test itself takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. Considering additional time for breaks, registration check-in, and other similar activities, students should expect to spend about 5 hours at the test center on SAT test day.

Writing Section Sub-Scores

Every SAT Reasoning Test contains a 25-minute essay. The essay sub-score is reported on a 2-12 scale. (Essays that are not written on the essay assignment, or which are considered illegible after several attempts at reading, receive a score of 0.)

Students may also receive, for an additional fee, the Question and Answer Service, which provides the student's answer, the correct answer to each question, and online resources explaining each question.

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