The SAT at a Glance

Like the ACT, the SAT is a nationally administered, standardized paper-and-pencil test that helps colleges evaluate candidates. All colleges now accept scores from the SAT and ACT interchangably. This means you'll have the opportunity to decide on which test you'll perform better. And in many cases, students prepare for and take both exams. Is the SAT or ACT is better for you?

Generally, you'll take the SAT for the first time in the spring of your junior year. This allows you enough time to re-take the test during the fall of your senior year if you're not satisfied with your score.

The Anatomy of the SAT

The SAT lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes and tests your critical thinking skills, as well as your ability to analyze and solve problems in math, critical reading, and writing. The 25-minute essay will always be the first section you see, and the 10-minute multiple-choice writing section will always be the last. The other sections can appear in any order.

Section Length Question Types
Critical Reading Two 25 Minute Sections
One 20 Minute Section
19 Sentence Completions
48 Reading Comprehension
Math Two 25 Minute Sections
One 10 Minute Section
44 Multiple-Choice
10 Grid-Ins
Writing One 25-Minute Section
One 10-Minute Section
One 25-Minute Essay
18 Identifying Sentence Errors
25 Improving Sentences
6 Improving Paragraphs
Experimental One 25-Minute Section Can be Critical Reading, Math, or Writing. Does not count towards your score

AP®, Advanced Placement Program® or Pre-AP® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product. SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product. ACT® is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc. PSAT/NMSQT® is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation which were not involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.
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