The redesigned SAT is a 3 hours and 50 minutes college entrance exam. The test contains an optional essay and four multiple choice sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (calculator). Scores are reported for two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. Each section is scored on a scale of 200 to 800 with an overall score ranging from 400 to 1600.

Reading: The reading test is 65 minutes long and consists of 52 multiple-choice questions based on five passages from literature, history, social studies, and science. Students are asked to determine the author’s tone, understand the main idea, locate details, draw inferences, make comparisons, and understand vocabulary in context.

Writing: The writing test consists of 44 multiple-choice questions and is 35 minutes long. Questions are based on reading passages that contain errors in sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation. Students are asked to identify these errors as well as improve the overall quality and effectiveness of writing.

Math (no calculator): The no-calculator portion of the math test consists of 15 multiple-choice questions and 5 grid-in questions. Students have 25 minute to complete this section. Questions draw from numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, statistics, data analysis, probability, and trigonometry. Many math questions come in the form of word problems; the ability to decode and translate them into math terms is key to success on this section.

Math (calculator): The calculator portion of the math test consists of 30 multiple-choice questions and 8 grid-in questions. Students have 55 minute to complete this section. Questions draw from numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, statistics, data analysis, probability, and trigonometry. Many math questions also present as word problems in this section.

Optional Essay: Students have 50 minutes to respond to a short passage and analyze the effectiveness of the author’s argument. The essay is considered optional because many (though not all) colleges require it.

How to outgame the SAT →