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About the SAT

The SAT has four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (with calculator). There is also an optional essay that is recommended or required by some colleges.

Section

Minutes to complete

Number of questions

Subjects

Math

80 Minutes

58 Questions

Testing algebra, problem solving, data analysis, and advanced math

Reading

65 Minutes

52 Questions

Understanding complex passages and identifying words in context

Writing and Language

35 Minutes

44 Questions

Targeting grammar and argument-building abilities

Essay*

50 Minutes

*Optional

Some schools may require the Essay, so be sure to ask before you take the SAT

How to prepare

No matter what stage of SAT prep you’re in, Kaplan can help raise your score. Just getting started? Check out our free SAT and PSAT Practice Test and join one of our free online SAT info sessions.

Scoring the test

The SAT is scored on a 1600-point scale, with the Math and the Reading/Writing sections each awarded between 200 and 800 points. The optional essay is evaluated separately and doesn’t factor into the overall score. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so it’s always better to guess if you’re not sure. Find out what makes a good SAT score.

Not sure if the SAT is right for you?

If you’re deciding between the SAT and the ACT, you’ll want to know the benefits and format of both tests. Learn the differences between the SAT and ACT, and take our ACT vs. SAT quiz to learn which test is best for you.

Practice makes perfect

Taking the PSAT is a great way to practice for the SAT, and could make it easier to afford college. Your score on the PSAT can qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship Awards. Learn more about the PSAT.

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