Information about the SAT Format

SAT Test Format

The SAT runs three hours and 45 minutes. There are three main subject areas of the SAT: Critical Reading, Math and Writing. The test is divided into 10 sections – there are three sections for each subject area, and one "experimental" section that could be in any of the three subjects.

The test begins with a 25-minute Writing section, which involves writing one essay. The last section of the test is always a 10-minute Writing section that contains only one type of multiple-choice question called "Improving Sentences." The eight sections in between the first and last section can appear in any order. They include: two 25-minute Math sections; two 25-minute Critical Reading sections; one 25-minute Writing section; one 25-minute experimental section, which could be Math, Writing or Critical Reading; one 20-minute Math section; and one 20-minute Critical Reading section.

The SAT is scored on a scale of 600 to 2400. Each subject area (Math, Writing and Critical Reading) is scored on a scale of 200 to 800. The three subject area scores are added together to get the total score.

The three SAT subject areas are: 

  • Critical Reading: The questions in the three Critical Reading sections include Reading Comprehension questions and Sentence Completion questions. Both of these types of questions are used to test reading comprehension skills and vocabulary.

  • Mathematics: The three Math sections test algebra, geometry, arithmetic, data analysis, statistics and probability.

  • Writing: The writing section of the SAT is made up of one essay section and two sections focusing on grammar. The 25-minute essay question is always the first section of the test. A 10-minute Improving Sentences section is always the last section of the test. Somewhere in between there is a 25-minute section that includes three types of multiple choice questions: Identifying Sentence Errors, Improving Sentences and Improving Paragraphs.