Scholastic Aptitude Test

SAT Hierarchy

About SAT SAT Tips & Strategies PSAT-NMSQT

About SAT

Scholastic Aptitude Test

The SAT tests skills that you are learning in high school—skills you're likely to need in college.

Length of the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

The SAT is three hours long. The optional Essay is an additional 50 minutes.

Here are the main components of the SAT:

# Subject Name Time Questions Number
1 Reading Test 65 minutes 52 questions
2 Writing and Language Test 35 minutes 44 questions
3 Math No calculator 25 minutes 20 questions
4 Math Calculator permitted 55 minutes 38 questions
5 Optional essay section 50 minutes -


The SAT is scored on a 400 to 1600 scale. You will also receive subscore reporting for every test—math, reading, and writing and language—plus additional subscores to provide added insight into your test performance.

Scoring on the SAT

The main thing you need to know about your SAT scores is that they’re more detailed and more holistic than ever before. The SAT is now scored out of 1600 (the old SAT was out of 2400), and there are new subscores and cross-section scores to consider as you evaluate your performance. Let’s take a look at what we’re working with:

  1. Your total score is your overall score and is a combination of your section scores (see below). The highest composite score for the redesigned SAT is 800+800, or 1600. The average score is 1000.
  2. Your section scores are the individual scores for the two main sections of the SAT: reading/writing and math. Each of these sections is scored out of 800, and they are added together to get your overall score.
  3. The essay is optional in the redesigned SAT and will not be factored into your overall SAT score. The essay scores will be shown separately on the report
  4. Your essay, should you choose to write one, will be scored on three measures: Reading, Analysis and Writing (a good way to remember it: RAW). You will receive a score of 2 to 8 in each of these areas.

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SAT Tips & Strategies

SAT Time Management

The Two Passes Strategy is a method you can use to structure your time strategically while working through a group of questions. It can help to ensure that you don't run out of time before you have had the chance to work on the questions that are easier for you.

Tips for managing your study time

High school is full of activity. Whether you play sports, act in school plays, have a job, take care of siblings, or are taking hard classes - or even doing more than one of these things! - you have almost certainly looked at the clock before and been shocked by how little time you have to get everything done. Throw SAT prep into the mix, and it can seem like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

While you may not be able to cut down on all of your responsibilities during SAT practice time, there are some ways you can structure your planning and studying to keep things going smoothly and ensuring that nothing gets left by the wayside. Several high school students offered up some of their time management suggestions:

BIG TIP #1: Make a study plan
BIG TIP #2: Keep yourself on track
BIG TIP #3: Stay organized

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The format and content of the PSAT/NMSQT is almost the same as the SAT.

There are actually three different PSAT exams:

  1. PSAT 8/9
  2. PSAT 10

What to expect on the test

If you are already familiar with the structure of the new SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT will feel familiar to you. Just like the new SAT, the revised PSAT/NMSQT focuses on college and career readiness, and it echoes the same knowledge and skills tested by the redesigned SAT. The test also follows a similar format as the SAT and is also two hours and 45 minutes long. The content is broken into three sections:

  1. Math (48 questions)
  2. Reading (47 questions)
  3. Writing (44 questions)

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