Did you find the SAT lengthy?

Time plays a vital role when you are taking the SAT. As an SAT test taker, at times you might find it a bit longer. However, the trick is to plan and budget your time well and get the pacing tips to achieve your desired score.

How Long is SAT?

The SAT is a 3 hour duration test and if you opt for the optional essay, you will take 3 hours and 50 minutes to complete.

Understanding the Test Length

Let us have an understanding on how these 3 hours are broken up by section? Have a look on how your SAT test day schedule looks like:

Reading 65 min 52
Writing and Language 35 min 44
Math 80 min 58
Essay (optional) 50 min 1
TOTAL 180 min
(230 min with Essay)
154 + 1 Essay (optional)

SAT Exam: The Structure & Format

1.    The Evidence-based Reading and Writing section

The section consists of 52 questions which you need to attempt in 65 minutes. You will be given five passages in total. Let’s have a look.

  • 1 passage on U.S. or world literature
  • 2 passages of history/social studies
  • 2 passages in science (which may include graphs and/or charts)

2. The Math section

It has two sections which you need to complete in 80 minutes. You will have25 minutes to solve 20 questions, but remember that calculator is not permitted in the first section.

3. The (Optional) Essay

In this section, you will be given a 650-700 word passage to read and then you will be asked to write an essay analyzing how the author constructed his or her argument. This section is graded on three broad parameters:

  • Reading
  • Analysis
  • Writing

While taking the SAT, avoid spending too much time on hard questions. The problem is if you first rush on to answer the easy and medium questions, there are more chances that you might end up making careless mistakes.


Here are some tips to help you ace the test:

1. Slow Down to score well

Remember that your SAT score does not depend on the number of questions you answer; however, it is the number of questions you answered correctly.

2. Take the practice test as real

Time yourself exactly the same as you will be taking to complete the actual SAT.  Find how much time you need to crack the hard questions and also develop a sense to utilize the time.

3. Don’t get trapped by tough questions

Don’t get trapped by tough questions or the time-consuming questions. Try not to spend much time on the questions you have been dealing with. If you’re running short on time, guess and move on.

We would love to see you spread some love by sharing this article, as it may help many who are planning to take the SAT, or any other course too. If you have decided to work on your entrance exam and conquer it, a good test prep institute like Manya can definitely help. Also, do remember to share with your friends and family if you found this useful.