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The SAT: Format, Structure and Question Types

Learn More About SAT TutoringThe SAT is a college entrance exam that many colleges and universities in the United States use as part of the college admissions process. Looking for basic information about the SAT test format? We’ve got it!

SAT Basics

The SAT is a standardized test that measures a student’s skills in two core areas: Math, Evidence-Based Reading & Writing. Students in grades 11 and 12 take the SAT so that they can submit their scores to colleges as part of the college application process.

SAT Format

The SAT is composed of three main sections — Math, Evidence-Based Reading, and Writing. There is an optional 50-minute essay, and total testing time with the essay is 3 hours and 50 minutes. The breakdown of each remaining section can be found in the table below.

Section Sub-Section Total Testing Time & Breakdown Number of Questions Content/Skills Covered
Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Reading 65 minutes 52 reading and vocabulary in context
Writing 35 mintues 44 grammar and usage
Math 80 minutes;
1 55-minute calculator-optional section and
1 25-minute no-calculator section
58 heart of algebra, problem solving & data analysis, passport to advanced math, additional topics (geometry, trigonometry and pre-calculus)

Related Topics

  • For more specific information about the SAT Critical Reading sections, visit our SAT Critical Reading page.
  • For more specific information about the SAT Math sections, visit our SAT Math page.
  • For more specific information about the SAT Writing sections, visit our SAT Writing page.
  • For information about how the SAT is scored, visit our SAT Scoring page.
  • For information about upcoming SAT test dates, visit our SAT Test Dates page.

StudyPoint is a national leader in one-to-one, in-home test prep and academic tutoring. The test-taking techniques and strategies taught in our SAT tutoring and ACT tutoring programs enable students to earn higher test scores and gain admissions to competitive colleges and universities. Our expert subject tutors and personalized lesson plans help students earn better grades and become happier, more confident students. Whether you’re looking for a math tutor or any other type of academic tutoring, StudyPoint can help. To learn about tutoring programs in your area, feel free to contact us for more information.


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