SAT Test Duration & Time Explained

The SAT test evaluates a student's skills and knowledge in math, writing, reading and writing. The entire SAT test takes approximately 4 hours 7 minutes, including breaks.

The SAT's purpose is to assess high school students' college readiness. The SAT is about more than just preparation. It also requires time management skills. Each question can only be answered and completed in a given time.

It is important to understand the questions and the time it takes to complete each section of the SAT. Let's review the SAT test times as well as some strategies that can help you optimize your testing time to increase your SAT score.

How long does the SAT test take?

The SAT test consists 4 sections. Each section takes 180 minutes.

The complete SAT test can be completed in 4 hours if you take the optional essay section. Each section will take between 25-60 minutes. The essay writing section takes 50 minutes.

This table shows the SAT test time with breaks.

SAT Test Section How many questions are there in total? Time Length (Exam Duration)
Reading 52 One hour and five minutes
Split   Ten minutes have elapsed.
Writing & Language 44 Thirty-five minutes have elapsed.
Math without Calculator 20 Twenty-three minutes have elapsed.
Come apart   Five minutes of time.
Calculation (Utilizing Calculator) 38 Fifty-five minutes.
Split   In two minutes, time will be up.
Essay Writing (optional) 1 Fifty minutes in length.

You should remember that each section of the exam is an entirely new test. You can't go back to the same section after you have completed one. You can't return to the same section after the time has expired.

Three breaks are available during the exam. The essay section will not require you to take three breaks.

You will have a ten-minute break, while the five-minute break after the math not calculator portion will be five. Two minutes will be given for essay writing before you resume.

The entire SAT test will take around four hours, including the Essay Writing section.

How many questions are there on the SAT?

The total SAT test contains 154 questions and an optional essay section. Here are the questions for each section of SAT Test:

  • SAT Reading Section: 52 questions
  • SAT Writing & Language Section: 44 questions
  • Section: 20 Questions of SAT Math without Calculator
  • Section 38 of SAT Mathematics (with Calculator)

What time does the SAT test start?

The SAT exam begins at 8:30 am. The test center opens at 7:45 am. Admission to the testing rooms is at 8 AM. Students are not permitted to leave the testing area after the SAT exam begins.

After the proctor has distributed materials and given instructions to students, the SAT test will start at 8:30 AM. You can count the time and see what time you have left.

The remaining time for each section will be announced by the test-proctor. The test proctor will announce the remaining time when the section is at its halfway point. The second announcement happens when there are five minutes left. Depending on whether the optional written essay was taken, the SAT exam will end at 11:40 AM or 12:45PM.

You can reschedule the test instead of having to reregister if you're late for your test date. This will save you money on registration and testing fees.

Strategies to help you pace yourself during the SAT Test Times

The key to success on the SAT is time management and knowing how much time each question should take. You will be given between 1 and 10 seconds for each question. You will have to spend around one minute and ten seconds for each question.

Here is a breakdown illustrating how long it takes to answer each SAT question.

SAT Test Section SAT Time per Question
Reading 1 min and 15 secs
Writing & Language Forty-seven seconds.
Math without Calculator a minute and fifteen seconds
Calculations (Using a Calculator) One minute and sixteen seconds.

Learn to pace yourself – Use practice tests to help you learn how to pace yourself. This will help you determine the time it takes to answer each question. Because two sections take nearly an hour, it is crucial to have stamina. You will need to be able to quickly answer the questions.

Remember that the total time included the time required for reading the passages in both the Reading section and the Writing section. Spend too much time at first and not enough for the end. Avoid spending too much time looking through the passages and rereading them. You should read the passage, absorb it, then answer your questions.

Reading section: The passages range in length from 500 to 750 words, and each passage has 10-12 questions. Each passage should be read once you are done answering questions.

The writing and language tests have four passages that are between 400 and 450 words in length. Each passage should be completed in eight minutes.

It is possible to answer questions along with the passage. This will help you save time and make the most of your reading time.

The math section will take you approximately 75 seconds. This is a short time. It is important to practice reading and understanding word problems and story analysis before the test.

It's not the difficult part of math that takes the longest. It's understanding and reading the questions.

SAT Time Management Tips & Strategy for Answering Questions

Take notes while reading – Similar to the Reading section. While it may seem wasteful, it will help you save time.

Create a note taking strategy in advance of the test.

This will allow you to answer questions even if the question isn't clear.

Start with the easiest questions To keep your pace, you should always begin with the simpler questions first before moving on to more difficult questions. Try to answer the easiest questions first. This will help you save time and allow you to focus on more challenging questions.

If you spend too much time reviewing questions, it will be difficult to complete the task. Mark it and guess the question if you get it right the first time.

Avoid double-checking your answers mid-test. Allow enough time to finish the test and check each section. This means that you will spend less time on each question and won't need to go back to the previous questions at the end of the test. It is time-consuming to second guess yourself.

Answering a question is the end of it. You can move on to other things. If you're really interested in the question, ask it again.

You can guess the answers you don't know – Another tip to help you save time on SAT is to guess the answers to difficult questions that you don't understand. The SAT does not penalize students who give incorrect answers. You can improve your score by guessing when you have time, especially in short periods. Answer the page immediately!

Find the correct answer –If your confusion is causing you to not know which one, then you can eliminate all incorrect answers. It is also possible to eliminate answers that appear very similar. This will increase your chances of finding the right answer.

A watch is a great way to track your time. However, there are certain restrictions that will limit the number of devices you can bring with you on the day. You are prohibited from using devices that can record and transmit data, as well as playback or receive content. Smartwatches and other devices that can record, receive, transmit or playback content are prohibited.


  • kaydenmarsh

    I am Kayden Marsh, 34yo educational blogger and school teacher. I am a mother of two young children, and I love spending time with them and learning new things. I also enjoy writing about education and children's issues, and I hope to continue doing so for the rest of my life.

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