How Long Is the SAT?

Last Updated on April 20, 2023

The SAT booklet is the same length and width as standard U.S. Letter paper. So, the SAT is about 11 inches long (and 8.5 inches wide) … Ha!

Now that we’re all smiling, let’s dive into the two closely interrelated meanings of “How long is the SAT?” that you came here for:

  • Duration: How much time does the SAT take ?
  • Total volume: How many questions are on the SAT?

We’ll also touch on other factors related to SAT timing, including scheduled start time, breaks, and proctors’ warnings.

Here are the topics we’ll cover:

What is the total testing time, how long does the sat last, start to finish, how long will i spend in the test center.

  • What Warnings Will My Proctor Give?

When Should I Get to the Test Center?

Who completes the essay, what is the length of the sat with essay, what’s next.

Let’s start by taking a look at how long each section of the SAT is.

How Long Are the SAT Test Sections?

The 2022-2023 SAT will have four sections. As shown on the College Board website , the sections will always appear in the same order, with the following durations:

The total testing time for all four sections of the 2022-2023 SAT (without the essay)—for the test sections only, NOT counting breaks—is 180 minutes.

The total testing time for the 2022-2023 SAT (without the essay) is exactly 3 hours.

When Are the Breaks During the SAT?

There are two scheduled breaks between sections:

  • Between Sections 1 and 2 , the two verbal sections, you’ll get a 10-minute break .
  • Between Sections 3 and 4 , the two math sections , you’ll get a 5-minute break .

Pay attention to the designated areas where you need to stay during the SAT. During these two breaks, you’ll most likely be restricted to the testing area, restrooms, and the adjoining hallway. If you stray from the designated areas, or if you’re overheard discussing any part of the exam with others, you’ll be dismissed and your scores will be voided!

Including breaks, the 2022-2023 SAT will last 195 minutes, or 3 hours and 15 minutes.

This is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint! So, at home before the test, be sure to eat a nutritious, well-balanced meal that is rich in both protein and complex carbohydrates. (But don’t stuff yourself.) This type of meal will be the ideal breakfast to fuel your brain for the duration of the SAT, so you’re unlikely to ‘crash’ partway through the test or experience big swings in your alertness. A balanced breakfast can also help regulate your stress levels during the SAT .

From start to finish, including breaks, the 2022-2023 SAT lasts for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

The entire duration of your 2022-2023 SAT experience on test day will include the time needed for preliminary procedures: filling out your personal information on the answer sheet, signing and dating your forms, and going over rules and procedures with your proctor.

These initial formalities should take about half an hour, for a grand total of 3 hours and 45 minutes of closed-door time inside the test center.

Since you can be admitted up to 15 minutes early, you could be inside the test center for up to 4 hours.

How Can I Track Time During the SAT?

Your testing area should have at least one clock prominently displayed where you can easily see it without having to wheel around or crane your neck.

In addition, your proctor will issue a predetermined set of time cues out loud for all test-takers to hear.

What Time Warnings Will My Proctor Give?

Here is the entire slate of time cues that your proctor will be instructed to speak aloud.

SECTION 1: Reading (65 minutes)

At the beginning: Time starts now.

After 30 minutes: You have 35 minutes remaining in Section 1.

After 60 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 1.

After 65 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

10-Minute Break

The proctor should post the clock time that ends the break, when testing will resume. The proctor will not be required to give any time cues out loud during the break.

SECTION 2: Writing & Language (35 minutes)

After 15 minutes: You have 20 minutes remaining in Section 2.

After 30 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 2.

After 35 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

SECTION 3: Math, No Calculator (25 minutes)

After 10 minutes: You have 15 minutes remaining in Section 3.

After 20 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 3.

After 25 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

5-Minute Break

The proctor should post the time when testing will resume. The proctor will not necessarily issue any cues aloud.

SECTION 4: Math, With Calculator (55 minutes)

After 25 minutes: You have 30 minutes remaining in Section 4.

After 50 minutes: You have 5 minutes remaining in Section 4.

After 55 minutes: Please stop work and put your pencil down.

Your proctor will issue spoken time warnings on the schedule above. These will be valuable no matter what, but especially if there is any issue with the clocks in your testing room.

For Saturday administrations of the 2022-2023 SAT, the doors at your test center will open by 7:45 AM. The doors will close at 8:00 AM sharp.

Don’t be late! If you arrive after the doors close, you’ll be turned away and your test will be canceled.

What About the Optional Essay?

The optional SAT essay of previous years is no more. The weekend administrations of the 2022-2023 SAT, on nationwide test dates, will not offer an essay section.

However, there is a small group of test-takers in certain states who will, in fact, see an essay on their 2022-2023 SAT. If you’re one of these test-takers, you’ll write the essay as an additional section, after you finish the four sections that make up the SAT without essay.

The only 2022-2023 SAT administrations with an essay will be given during school hours, in states that have adopted the SAT as part of their mandatory statewide 11th grade public-school assessment testing. These states are Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

If you’re a rising junior at a public high school in one of these states, you’ll take the SAT with essay at school sometime in March or April 2023. If that’s you, please check with your high school guidance counselor or your college admissions advisor for exact test dates and times.

If you’re one of the “chosen few” who will take the 2022-2023 SAT with essay, you’ll have all the same timings and proctor cues as above, plus an additional 2-minute break and a 50-minute period during which to plan and write your essay.

Therefore, for these in-school administrations, the following times apply:

  • The total testing time will be 230 minutes (3 hours and 50 minutes).
  • The total duration from start to finish will be 247 minutes (4 hours and 7 minutes).
  • Your total time spent inside the testing area will be at least 277 minutes (4 hours and 37 minutes).

Good luck, and enjoy your test prep!

Now that you know everything about SAT testing time, check out some tips for motivating yourself to study for the SAT .

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How Long Should I Study for the SAT?

About The Author

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Ron is an inveterate strategist who has always delighted in discovering ‘hacks’ in every corner of his life—cracking standardized tests, charting optimal routes through Southern California's infamous traffic, finding and negotiating bargains, tweaking his own diet and sleep patterns, and more. And in his very first teaching job, back in high school sharing SAT strategies with his own classmates, Ron found the same passion for paying his accumulated knowledge forward. Since those days, Ron has taught in high-school and college classrooms, coached youth track-and-field athletes, and, of course, made a career in test preparation. Ron enjoys long trips on the open road; a bewildering variety of music, from classical to hip-hop to forró to electrocumbia; sharp, well-fitted, and slightly idiosyncratic outfit choices, on himself and others alike; 105-115ºF (40-45ºC) summer days with endless sunshine; and, most of all, building a life with his wife, muse, and kindred spirit, Sarah.

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Time pressure can bring out your worst instincts as an SAT test-taker.  After all, how often on a high school English or Math test do you have one minute or less to answer a question?

How long is the SAT?

Learn how to budget your time on each section of the SAT , and get the pacing tips you need for the score of your dreams.

How Long Does the SAT Take?

The SAT clocks in at 3 hours (3 hours and 15 minutes with breaks). And if you choose to sign up for the optional essay , the SAT takes 3 hours and 50 minutes to complete (or 4 hours, 5 minutes with breaks).

SAT Test Length by Section

How are those 3 hours broken up by section? Here’s what your SAT test day schedule looks like:

Tips for SAT Pacing

Are you ready for your SAT date ? The biggest mistake many test-takers make is to spend too little time on the easy and medium questions, and too much time on the hard ones. The problem with this approach is that if you rush through the easy and medium questions, you are almost certain to make a few careless mistakes. Here are the pacing steps that will help you improve your score.

1. Slow Down, Score More

You’re not scored on how many questions you do . You’re scored on how many questions you answer correctly . Doing fewer questions can mean more correct answers overall!

2. Mimic the Real Thing

When you take practice tests, time yourself exactly as you will be timed on the real SAT. Develop a sense of how long 35 minutes is, for example, and how much time you can afford to spend on cracking difficult problems. If you know ahead of time what to expect, you won’t be as nervous.

Free SAT Practice Tests & Events

Evaluate and improve your SAT score.

3. Don’t Get Bogged Down on the Tough Questions

Don’t let yourself get trapped by hard or time-consuming questions. Stop the part of your brain that says, “But I’ve already spent so much time working on this question . . .  I know I can finish it!” If you’re stumped or running short on time, guess and move on. Learn more SAT tips for completing questions out of order. 

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How Long Is the SAT? 2023 Ultimate Guide

Aaron Simmons Profile Image

Aaron • Last updated on January 4, 2023

Are you planning to take the SAT soon? 

Before taking the exam, it is essential for you to know the SAT time limit as this is an essential part of your test preparation. In taking the SAT, you need to know more than just how to answer the questions and score high. It’s also crucial that you learn strategies for time management and pacing.

In this SAT time breakdown, we will answer the question: How long is the SAT test? We will identify the SAT time per section and how you can use the time to answer the test more efficiently. 

How long does the SAT take?

The SAT has three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The Math section consists of 2 tests: with a calculator and without. The SAT test length is 180 minutes or 3 hours, excluding the time for breaks. 

The optional Essay section, on the other hand, runs for 50 minutes. 

Below is the detailed breakdown of the times per SAT section:

What time does the SAT start?

The SAT begins around 8:30 to 9:00 am, depending on how long the preliminary procedure and reading of instructions will take. The testing center doors open at 7:45 am and close at exactly 8 am. 

Once you get inside the testing room, your electronic devices (except your calculator) and your bag will first be collected by the proctor. As soon as everyone is settled down and seated, the test materials are then distributed and the instructions read. 

Breaks during the SAT

Students need to take a break, especially during an intense and lengthy exam like the SAT. How long is the SAT with breaks included? 

The first break is 10 minutes long and will take place between the Reading section and the Writing and Language section. The next break, which is 5 minutes, will be between the two Math sections. 

For those taking the Essay section, a 2-minute break will be given after the Math test. 

Here is the SAT test time breakdown including the breaks:

You can use the breaks to leave the room, eat a snack, or use the restroom. 

Most testing centers include an additional experimental section as the last section on the SAT ( 1 ). This is for pretesting purposes. Do not worry much about it, though, for this section is NOT counted in the scoring process.

When will you finish the SAT?

The SAT time length is 3 hours and the breaks run for 15 minutes total. If you take the Essay section, you should finish between 12:15 and12:45 pm, depending on the time spent on the preliminary procedure and reading of instructions. If you are taking the Essay section, you should finish between 1:00 and 1:30 pm. 

Once your exam has concluded, the proctor will return your electronic devices and bag. 

How can you prepare for the lengthy SAT?

If you choose to take the Essay section, the SAT would take you nearly 4 hours to finish it. This is pretty long and will feel even longer when you’re nervous. What are the things that you can do to prepare for the long and intense SAT and to keep anxiety at bay?

Answer full-length practice tests

One of the most effective ways to prepare for the SAT is to answer full-length practice tests ( 2 ). These will help you get a good grasp of the actual test structure. Also, you will learn how to manage your time properly and efficiently so you can answer all the questions within the given timeframe. 

In answering SAT practice tests, it would be better to use official practice tests provided by the College Board. This is because the questions are similar to those of the actual standardized test. 

You should also answer newly released official practice tests. Doing so will give you an idea of the latest structure and flow. 

Time yourself

When answering a full-length practice test, time yourself. Now that you know how much time is allocated per section and the entire SAT, you can pace yourself accordingly. It is also recommended that you take breaks just like during the actual SAT. 

Timing yourself during the practice test will let you know how fast you can answer a certain section. If you find the allotted time insufficient, you can make adjustments to your answering process beforehand. 

With the given SAT test time and the number of questions per section, you will be able to calculate the average time per question, in which you can pattern your pace. 

Here is the average time you per question in each section:

Put into practice, you will be able to answer the SAT more efficiently. 

Time management on the SAT

Say, you are answering the actual SAT, how are you going to manage your time? 

According to US News ( 3 ), one of the most effective ways to take the SAT is to answer the easy questions first. Then, you can go back to the harder ones later. This way, you can allot more time to the more difficult questions. 

Experts also suggest that you use a watch to monitor your pace. Knowing the time given per section, you will be able to manage your time better. 

Stamina will also play a huge role in the SAT. The old SAT consisted of 10 small sections. In today’s standardized admissions test, subjects are distributed into four large sections. In answering questions in each section, it will be important for you to not only answer the questions quickly but to also keep the same pace throughout the test. 

Final thoughts

Now that you know how long the SAT takes, you can prepare for the test more efficiently and effectively. Being aware of the breakdown of the SAT exam time is going to be important for you. The SAT is a lengthy test, but always remember to stay relaxed and confident. Aside from your knowledge of concepts and theories, your time management will be crucial in attaining your goals on the SAT. 

  • https://blog.prepscholar.com/what-is-the-sat-experimental-section
  • https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/full-length-practice-tests
  • https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2019-02-22/how-long-the-sat-is-and-how-to-manage-that-time

The Optional SAT Essay: What to Know

Tackling this section of the SAT requires preparation and can boost some students' college applications.

Elementary school student series.

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Even though an increasing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements, students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so.

Although the essay portion of the SAT became optional in 2016, many students still chose to write it to demonstrate strong or improved writing skills to prospective colleges.

In June 2021, the College Board opted to discontinue the SAT essay. Now, only students in a few states and school districts still have access to — and must complete — the SAT essay. This requirement applies to some students in the SAT School Day program, for instance, among other groups.

How Colleges Use SAT, ACT Results

Tiffany Sorensen Sept. 14, 2020

High school students having their exam inside a classroom.

Whether or not to write the SAT essay is not the biggest decision you will have to make in high school, but it is certainly one that requires thought on your part. Here are three things you should know about the 50-minute SAT essay as you decide whether to complete it:

  • To excel on the SAT essay, you must be a trained reader.
  • The SAT essay begs background knowledge of rhetoric and persuasive writing.
  • A growing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements.

To Excel on the SAT Essay, You Must Be a Trained Reader

The SAT essay prompt never comes unaccompanied. On the contrary, it follows a text that is about 700 words long or approximately one page. Before test-takers can even plan their response, they must carefully read and – ideally – annotate the passage.

The multifaceted nature of the SAT essay prompt can be distressing to students who struggle with reading comprehension. But the good news is that this prompt is highly predictable: It always asks students to explain how the author builds his or her argument. In this case, "how” means which rhetorical devices are used, such as deductive reasoning, metaphors, etc.

Luckily, the author’s argument is usually spelled out in the prompt itself. For instance, consider this past SAT prompt : “Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved.”

Due to the essay prompt’s straightforward nature, students should read the passage with an eye toward specific devices used by the author rather than poring over “big ideas.” In tour SAT essay, aim to analyze at least two devices, with three being even better.

The SAT Essay Begs Background Knowledge of Rhetoric and Persuasive Writing

Since your SAT essay response must point to specific rhetorical devices that the author employs to convince the reader, you should make it a point to intimately know 10-15 common ones. The more familiar you are with rhetorical devices, the faster you will become at picking them out as you read texts.

Once you have read the passage and identified a handful of noteworthy rhetorical devices, you should apply many of the same essay-writing techniques you already use in your high school English classes.

For instance, you should start by brainstorming to see which devices you have the most to say about. After that, develop a concise thesis statement, incorporate quotes from the text, avoid wordiness and other infelicities of writing, close with an intriguing conclusion, and do everything else you could imagine your English teacher advising you to do.

Remember to always provide evidence from the text to support your claims. Finally, leave a few minutes at the end to review your essay for mistakes.

A Growing Number of Colleges Are Dropping Standardized Test Requirements

In recent years, some of America’s most prominent colleges and universities – including Ivy League institutions like Harvard University in Massachusetts, Princeton University in New Jersey and Yale University in Connecticut – have made submission of ACT and SAT scores optional.

While this trend began as early as 2018, the upheaval caused by COVID-19 has prompted many other schools to adopt a more lenient testing policy, as well.

Advocates for educational fairness have long expressed concerns that standardized admissions tests put underprivileged students at a disadvantage. In light of the coronavirus pandemic , which restricted exam access for almost all high school students, colleges have gotten on board with this idea by placing more emphasis on other factors in a student’s application.

To assess writing ability in alternative ways, colleges now place more emphasis on students’ grades in language-oriented subjects, as well as college application documents like the personal statement .

The fact that more colleges are lifting their ACT/SAT requirement does not imply that either test or any component of it is now obsolete. Students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so, especially those who wish to major in a writing-intensive field. The essay can also demonstrate a progression or upward trajectory in writing skills.

The SAT essay can give a boost to the college applications of the few students to whom it is still available. If the requirement applies to you, be sure to learn more about the SAT essay and practice it often as you prepare for your upcoming SAT.

13 Test Prep Tips for SAT and ACT Takers

Studying for college entrance exam

Tags: SAT , standardized tests , students , education

About College Admissions Playbook

Stressed about getting into college? College Admissions Playbook, authored by Varsity Tutors , offers prospective college students advice on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, SAT and ACT exams and the college application process. Varsity Tutors, an advertiser with U.S. News & World Report, is a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. The company's end-to-end offerings also include mobile learning apps, online learning environments and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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Your Guide: How Long is the SAT Without Essay?

how long is the sat without essay

Are you wondering about the duration of the SAT without the essay section? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the length of the SAT, its sections, and effective preparation strategies. Taking the SAT is an important step in your academic journey, and understanding the timing and structure of the test can help you maximize your performance. Let’s dive in!

  • The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks.
  • The test consists of three main sections: reading, writing and language, and math.
  • The reading section is 65 minutes, the writing and language section is 35 minutes, and the math section varies depending on whether a calculator is allowed.
  • The essay section is optional and adds an additional 50 minutes to the test duration.
  • Time management is crucial; prioritize easier questions first and utilize guessing strategies as there is no longer a penalty for guessing.

Now that you have a general understanding of the SAT duration without the essay section, let’s delve deeper into each section and explore effective strategies for success. By familiarizing yourself with the format and optimizing your time management skills, you can approach the SAT with confidence and achieve your desired results. Let’s get started!

Understanding the SAT Format

The SAT without the essay section lasts approximately 3 hours, excluding breaks, and features different sections with specific time allocations for reading, writing and language, and math. Let’s take a closer look at each section of the exam to understand the duration and format.

Reading Section:

The reading section of the SAT without the essay is 65 minutes long and consists of 52 questions. It assesses your reading comprehension skills through a variety of passages, such as literary fiction, social sciences, and natural sciences. The questions test your ability to analyze, interpret, and draw inferences from the given information.

Writing and Language Section:

The writing and language section allows 35 minutes for you to answer 44 questions. This section evaluates your ability to identify grammatical errors, improve sentence structure, and revise passages for clarity and coherence. It covers topics like grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills necessary for effective writing.

Math Sections:

The math portion of the SAT is divided into two sections: one without a calculator and the other with a calculator. The section without a calculator gives you 25 minutes to solve 20 questions, testing your ability to apply mathematical concepts and solve problems without the aid of a calculator. The section with a calculator provides 55 minutes to answer 38 questions, allowing you to use a calculator for more complex calculations.

These sections provide a breakdown of the SAT without the essay, highlighting the time limits and question counts. It is essential to manage your time effectively during the test to ensure you complete each section within the allocated duration.

SAT Exam Duration Without Essay

To optimize your performance, prioritize answering easier questions first and allocate sufficient time for more challenging ones. Remember, there is no longer a penalty for guessing, so make sure to answer as many questions as possible. Preparing for the SAT with practice tests, understanding the test format, and getting enough rest are all key factors in performing well.

In the next section, we will delve into the reading section of the SAT without the essay, providing tips and strategies to tackle this part of the exam effectively.

Breakdown of the Reading Section

The reading section of the SAT without the essay consists of 65 minutes and includes 52 questions, testing your comprehension and critical analysis skills. This section evaluates your ability to understand and interpret various types of texts, such as passages from literature, social sciences, and natural sciences. It also assesses your ability to draw inferences, analyze arguments, and identify main ideas and supporting evidence.

During this section, you will encounter different question formats, including multiple-choice questions and passage-based questions. The passage-based questions require you to refer back to specific parts of the text to answer questions accurately. It is crucial to read the passages carefully and actively engage with the content to grasp the author’s main points and arguments.

To excel in the reading section, it is advisable to practice reading and analyzing complex texts regularly. Developing strong reading comprehension skills and effective strategies, such as skimming and scanning, can significantly improve your performance. Remember to manage your time wisely, as pacing yourself is essential to complete all the questions within the given time frame.

SAT Reading Test

Key Takeaways:

  • The reading section of the SAT without the essay lasts for 65 minutes and contains 52 questions.
  • You need to demonstrate your comprehension and critical analysis skills.
  • Practice actively engaging with various types of texts to improve your performance.
  • Develop effective reading strategies and manage your time wisely during this section.

Strategies for the Writing and Language Section

With 35 minutes and 44 questions, the writing and language section of the SAT without the essay demands strong grammar and editing skills. Here are some strategies to help you excel in this section:

  • Read the Passage Carefully: Before diving into the questions, take the time to read the passage thoroughly. Pay attention to the main idea, tone, and structure of the writing. This will help you better understand the context and make informed decisions.
  • Focus on Grammar: This section tests your command of grammar rules. Pay attention to subjects, verb agreement, tenses, pronouns, and modifiers. Brushing up on grammar rules beforehand can greatly improve your performance.
  • Manage Your Time: Time management is crucial in this section. Aim to spend no more than a minute on each question. If you’re stuck on a particular question, don’t dwell on it. Make an educated guess and move on to maximize your chances of answering all the questions.

Additionally, here’s a breakdown of the question types you might encounter in the writing and language section:

SAT Writing and Language Section

By implementing these strategies and familiarizing yourself with the question types, you can approach the writing and language section of the SAT without the essay with confidence. Remember to practice regularly, review grammar rules, and manage your time effectively to optimize your performance.

Navigating the Math Sections

The SAT without the essay includes two math sections, one without a calculator lasting 25 minutes with 20 questions, and another with a calculator lasting 55 minutes with 38 questions. Let’s explore how you can tackle these sections successfully.

When approaching the math sections, it’s important to manage your time effectively. Start by scanning through the questions and identifying those that you feel confident answering. Prioritize these easier questions to ensure you score valuable points early on. Remember, there is no penalty for guessing, so if you’re unsure about a particular question, make an educated guess and move on.

For the math section without a calculator, you’ll need to rely on mental math skills and problem-solving techniques. Utilize the scratch paper provided to perform calculations and work through complex problems. It’s crucial to double-check your work and ensure accuracy, as even a small error can lead to an incorrect answer.

When you reach the math section with a calculator, use it strategically. While a calculator can be a useful tool, avoid over-reliance on it. It’s still important to possess strong mathematical skills and understanding. Use the calculator for complex calculations, but be cautious not to waste time inputting simple calculations that you can solve mentally. Additionally, be sure to familiarize yourself with the calculator’s functions before the exam to maximize efficiency.

Math Sections Overview

By managing your time, leveraging problem-solving strategies, and practicing with sample questions, you can approach the math sections of the SAT without the essay section confidently. Remember, preparation and practice are key to achieving success on the test. Good luck!

The Optional Essay Section

While the essay section is optional on the SAT, it adds an additional 50 minutes to the test duration, but only in certain states where it is required. Let’s examine the importance of this section and whether it is necessary for your college admissions.

For students considering taking the optional essay section, it’s crucial to understand the requirements and expectations. The essay portion of the SAT allows you to showcase your analytical and writing skills, providing colleges and universities with an additional piece of information about your abilities. It tests your ability to critically analyze a given passage and construct a well-organized, coherent response within a limited timeframe.

While some colleges may require the essay portion, many have made it an optional component of their admissions process. It’s important to research the specific requirements of the institutions you’re interested in to determine if the essay section is necessary for your application. If you’re unsure, it’s recommended to take the optional essay section, as it provides an opportunity to demonstrate your writing proficiency and showcase additional skills that may enhance your application.

Remember, even if the essay section is not required for your top-choice colleges, it’s always beneficial to have strong writing skills. The ability to construct a well-argued, coherent essay is a valuable asset in college and beyond. Taking the optional essay section can help prepare you for the writing demands you may encounter in higher education and other aspects of your academic journey.

SAT essay section

As you prepare for the SAT, consider your strengths in writing and time management. Reflect on the requirements of your target colleges and decide whether taking the optional essay section aligns with your goals. Remember to practice under timed conditions and review sample essay prompts to familiarize yourself with the expectations of this section. Taking the time to prepare will ensure that you can make an informed decision and perform your best on test day.

Time Management and Test Strategies

Proper time management is crucial for success on the SAT, and understanding how to utilize the allocated time efficiently can significantly impact your overall score. Let’s explore some key strategies for managing time effectively during the test.

1. Prioritize Easier Questions: When you first encounter a section, quickly scan through the questions and identify those that you find easier or more familiar. Answering these questions first will help you build confidence and save time for more challenging ones later.

2. Pace Yourself: The SAT is a timed test, so it’s essential to keep track of the time and allocate it wisely. Divide the time available for each section, and aim to complete the questions within the designated time frame. Remember, spending too much time on a single question can cost you valuable time on others.

3. Utilize Guessing: Since there is no longer a penalty for guessing, it’s in your best interest to answer every question, even if you’re unsure of the correct answer. Use strategic guessing techniques, such as eliminating obviously wrong options or making an educated guess based on partial knowledge.

SAT time management

4. Take Advantage of Breaks: The SAT includes breaks between sections, so make use of this time to recharge and refocus. Stretch your legs, have a snack, or take a few deep breaths to relax. These short breaks can help alleviate test anxiety and enhance your concentration for the next section.

By implementing these time management strategies and practicing them during your SAT preparation, you can optimize your performance and maximize your chances of achieving your desired score. Remember, preparation, practice tests, and getting enough sleep are also key factors in performing well on the SAT.

Important Considerations and Changes

When planning for the SAT without the essay, it’s important to factor in breaks, travel time, and any special accommodations that you may require. Additionally, recent changes to the test structure, including the optional essay and subject tests, are important to keep in mind.

The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks. The reading section consists of 52 questions and lasts for 65 minutes. Following this, the writing and language section, with 44 questions, is allocated 35 minutes of test time. The math section without a calculator requires 25 minutes to answer 20 questions, while the math section with a calculator grants 55 minutes for 38 questions.

It’s worth noting that the essay section is only available in certain states where it is required, adding an additional 50 minutes to the test duration. To ensure an accurate schedule, there are breaks included in the test: a 10-minute break between the reading and writing sections, and a 5-minute break between the two math sections. Furthermore, test time may be extended by an additional 20 minutes for a pre-tested section.

Students should aim to complete the SAT between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m., considering travel time and potential special accommodations for those with medical conditions or exceptional circumstances. With recent changes to the test, the SAT no longer includes subject tests and the optional essay section will no longer be required after June. Time management is crucial for success on the SAT, so students should prioritize easier questions first and avoid spending too much time on any one section. Additionally, there is no longer a penalty for guessing, encouraging students to answer as many questions as possible within the given time limit. Adequate preparation, practice tests, and sufficient rest are pivotal factors in performing well on the SAT without the essay.

Updated SAT Test Structure

SAT test taker

“The path to success on the SAT without the essay lies in careful planning. Consider your need for breaks, travel time, and any special accommodations you may require. Stay informed about the recent changes, such as the optional essay no longer being required after June. Prepare well, manage your time effectively, and remember to rest. Success awaits!”

To excel on the SAT without the essay, it is crucial to understand its duration, sections, and test-taking strategies, while also prioritizing preparation, practice tests, and getting sufficient rest. By implementing these strategies, you can maximize your performance on this important college admissions exam.

The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks. It consists of several sections, each with its own time limit and number of questions. The reading section lasts for 65 minutes and includes 52 questions, while the writing and language section is 35 minutes long with 44 questions. The math section without a calculator is 25 minutes with 20 questions, and the math section with a calculator is 55 minutes with 38 questions.

It’s important to note that the optional essay section is available in certain states and adds an additional 50 minutes to the test. However, after June, the SAT essay section will no longer be required. Additionally, breaks are provided during the test, including a 10-minute break between the reading and writing sections, as well as a 5-minute break between the two math sections. The test time may also be extended by an additional 20 minutes for a pre-tested section.

In order to make the most of your SAT experience, consider travel time and any special accommodations required due to medical conditions or other circumstances. Remember, the new SAT has a total duration of 3 hours, or 3 hours and 50 minutes with the optional essay section. Time management is key to success on the SAT, so prioritize easier questions first and don’t spend too much time on any one section. With the removal of the guessing penalty, feel free to answer as many questions as possible within the given time limits.

Ultimately, preparation, practice tests, and ensuring you get enough sleep are crucial factors in performing well on the SAT. By understanding the test structure, managing your time effectively, and implementing smart test-taking strategies, you can increase your chances of achieving a high score and opening doors to future educational opportunities.

Q: How long is the SAT without the essay section?

A: The SAT without the essay section is about 3 hours long, not including breaks.

Q: What is the breakdown of the SAT without essay sections?

A: The reading section is 65 minutes with 52 questions, the writing and language section is 35 minutes with 44 questions, the math section without a calculator is 25 minutes with 20 questions, and the math section with a calculator is 55 minutes with 38 questions.

Q: Is the essay section mandatory?

A: The essay section is only available in certain states where it is required and adds an additional 50 minutes to the test.

Q: Are there breaks during the SAT without the essay?

A: Yes, there is a 10-minute break between the reading and writing sections, and a 5-minute break between the two math sections.

Q: Can the test time be extended?

A: Test time may be extended by an additional 20 minutes for a pre-tested section.

Q: What time should students aim to finish the SAT without the essay?

A: Students should aim to finish between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m., but travel time and special accommodations should also be taken into account.

Q: How long is the new SAT without the essay section?

A: The new SAT without the essay has a total duration of 3 hours, or 3 hours and 50 minutes with the optional essay section. The reading section is 65 minutes, the writing and language section is 35 minutes, and the math section is 80 minutes.

Q: Are there any penalties for guessing on the SAT without the essay?

A: There is no longer a penalty for guessing, so students can answer as many questions as possible within the time limit.

Q: What are some tips for success on the SAT without the essay?

A: Preparation, practice tests, and getting enough sleep are important factors in performing well on the SAT. Students should prioritize easier questions first and not spend too much time on any one section.

Q: Are there any recent changes to the SAT without the essay?

A: The SAT essay section will no longer be required after June, and optional subject tests have also been discontinued.

Source Links

  • https://blog.collegeboard.org/how-long-does-the-sat-take
  • https://www.collegeraptor.com/getting-in/articles/act-sat/your-guide-to-the-new-sat-timing-content-scoring-and-tips/
  • https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/how-long-the-sat-is-and-how-to-manage-that-time

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The Definitive Guide to the SAT 2024

Dec 12, 2023 | Articles , SAT , Standardized Tests

how long is sat without essay

What is the SAT?

The Digital SAT is a standardized test created by the College Board and has been completely redesigned beginning with the March 2024 test. You’ll take the test on the SAT Bluebook™ app (unless you have paper-based accommodations) which you’ll want to download and practice with before test day. Typically, juniors and seniors take the test for college admissions, scholarship awards, and school assessments. The test takes about two and a half hours, including two short breaks. For some students in particular states, an optional Essay portion adds an extra fifty minutes at the end.

how long is sat without essay

What are the sections of the SAT? 

The Digital SAT includes two sections with two modules each, Reading & Writing and Math . Each section counts for 50% of your composite score. This newly adaptive test contains a mix of easy to difficult questions in the first module for each section, then offers an easier or tougher second module depending on how well you answer the questions in the first section.  No Science section exists on the SAT as on the ACT, but knowledge of interpreting charts, tables, and graphs is assessed throughout all test sections. The SAT provides 68% more time per question than the ACT, and there’s no penalty for guessing.

Reading & Writing

The Reading & Writing section includes short (25-150 words) reading passages (or passage pairs) on subjects from literature, history/social studies, the humanities, and science.  Each multiple-choice question that follows a passage covers one of four domains:

  • Information and Ideas.  Measures comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills and knowledge and the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, and integrate information and ideas from texts and informational graphics (tables, bar graphs, and line graphs).
  • Craft and Structure.  Measures the comprehension, vocabulary, analysis, synthesis, and reasoning skills and knowledge needed to understand and use high-utility words and phrases in context, evaluate texts rhetorically, and make connections between topically related texts.
  • Expression of Ideas.  Measures the ability to revise texts to improve the effectiveness of written expression and to meet specific rhetorical goals.
  • Standard English Conventions.  Measures the ability to edit text to conform to core conventions of Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.

The Math section requires a deep understanding of algebra, but the test provides basic geometry formulas. The Bluebook app includes a built-in calculator, or you can still choose to bring your own from an approved list . Most (approximately 75%) questions are multiple-choice; but for some questions, you’ll need to provide a specific answer. These student-produced response (SPR) format questions may have multiple correct responses, but you’ll only provide one answer. Questions measure your ability to apply essential math concepts and about 30% of questions ask you to evaluate an in-context (worded) scenario and determine how to apply your math skills to find the answer. Each question covers one of four content areas:

  • Algebra. Algebra measures the ability to analyze, fluently solve, and create linear equations and inequalities as well as analyze and fluently solve equations and systems of equations using multiple techniques. (13-15 questions)
  • Advanced Math. The Advanced Math area measures skills and knowledge central for progression to more advanced math courses, including demonstrating an understanding of absolute value, quadratic, exponential, polynomial, rational, radical, and other nonlinear equations. (13-15 questions)
  • Problem-Solving and Data Analysis. Problem-Solving and Data Analysis measures the ability to apply quantitative reasoning about ratios, rates, and proportional relationships; understand and apply unit rate; and analyze and interpret one- and two-variable data. (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry and Trigonometry. Problems to solve include area and volume formulas; lines, angles, and triangles; right triangles and trigonometry, and circles. (5-7 questions)

How long is the SAT? 

How long is the SAT?

How many questions are on the SAT? 

The SAT includes 154 questions. 

  • Reading & Writing includes 54 questions in 64 minutes (average 71 seconds per question)
  • Math  has 44 questions in 70 minutes (average 95 seconds per question)

What are the SAT dates? 

The SAT is offered seven times each year in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December. This provides multiple opportunities to take the test and increase your scores. Many schools, especially in states where the SAT is mandated for all high school juniors, also offer the test during the school day for students, generally in the spring. Check with your school to see if and when they offer the SAT. 

What is the average SAT score?

SAT scores range from 400 to 1600. The average SAT score for the class of 2023 was 1028 , down 22 points from 2022. ( Curious what that would be on the ACT? ) A ccording to the College Board’s latest score report , only 7% of all test-takers scored higher than 1400. No one scored below 590, and 12% of test-takers scored between 600 and 790. The Digital SAT (March 2024 onward) may be difficult to compare with the previous version of the SAT.

How do you register for the SAT?

Register for the SAT at www.collegeboard.org . Test centers can be found on the SAT website , where you can search by state and test date. B ring a photo ID with your admission ticket on test day. You can use a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued photo ID. If you don’t have any of these IDs, the SAT offers alternative methods to prove your identity.   When you register, you can choose to include information to allow colleges and scholarship organizations to contact you. 

On test day, you are expected to bring your fully-charged device with the Bluebook testing app already loaded. You can also bring a pen/pencil and use the scratch paper provided at the test site.

How much does the SAT cost? 

For 2023, taking the SAT costs $60. Add $30 if you register late, after the regular deadline. You can send up to four free score reports up to nine days after the test date. Additional score reports or reports ordered after you take the test are $14 per report. The SAT offers fee waivers to eligible test-takers (free & reduced lunch, receiving public assistance, etc.). Students can use the waivers to take two free SATs (with or without the essay) and send unlimited score reports. If you think you may be eligible, work with your school counselor to submit your request. 

When should you take the SAT?

Taking the PSAT is a good introduction to the format and content of the SAT, during the sophomore or junior year of high school. You may only qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program by testing during your junior year. Register for the PSAT through your school. After taking the PSAT, consider taking the SAT at least four times. No one gets their best score the first (or even second) time. Try taking the test twice in your junior year and twice in your senior fall. This increases the chances of scoring your best and boosting potential scholarships and financial aid! 

Should you take the SAT or ACT? 

All colleges accept both the ACT and SAT, so try both, then decide where to focus your effort. The SAT has two Math sections compared to only one for the ACT. The ACT, however, has a Science and Data Interpretation section.   In general, the content on the SAT is more challenging, but more time is given per question, compared to the ACT. Th e most important thing is to take either test multiple times. Improve your scores through practice.

How long does it take to get SAT scores? 

SAT multiple-choice scores are usually reported within 2-3 weeks of your test date. A schedule for individual test dates is available. The College Board sends a ll score reports to your selected colleges within ten days. 

How do you improve your SAT scores?

Practice and preparation are two of the biggest ways you can improve your SAT score. Find SAT prep that’s fun and engaging but also gives you strategies to help take the test. Not all test prep is created equal, so research, read reviews, and look past flashy guarantees.   OnToCollege offers an effective video course that not only gives you strategies but also practice tests and solution videos to help you learn from your mistakes. Use actual SAT practice tests as you study, (three are included in our course) to learn the format of the test. Then take the actual SAT multiple times, ideally twice your junior year and twice your senior year. 

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how long is sat without essay

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how long is sat without essay

What Colleges Require the SAT Essay?

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If you’re going to be applying to college soon, there’s a good chance that you’re already thinking about the SAT. Most colleges still require standardized test scores, and millions of students across the country tackle this exam each year. 

As you begin your college search, it’s important to understand the exact standardized test requirements of the colleges on your list. Some will be test-optional . Others require scores from the SAT or ACT. In addition, some will require that you submit scores from the optional essay portions of these tests. There may also be schools that require or recommend SAT Subject Tests. Knowing the exact testing policy at each school you’re considering will help you plan your test taking strategy, and begin test prep well in advance. 

If you’re planning to take the SAT, you won’t want to miss this complete overview of what colleges require the SAT essay. 

What is the SAT Essay? How is it Scored?

Before we dive into which schools require it, let’s take a closer look at what exactly the SAT essay is, and how it is scored. 

On the SAT Essay, students are provided with a written argument that they must read and analyze. Students have 50 minutes to read the passage, plan the essay, and write their response. Most successful responses stick to the standard five-paragraph essay format. To see an example prompt and scoring rubric, check out the Essay Sample Questions on the College Board website. 

It’s important to note here that the SAT Essay score is separate from your overall composite SAT score. It does not impact the score ranging from 400-1600 as reported on your score report. Instead of being included in your composite score, it is provided in addition to it. 

The Essay is scored on a scale from 2-8 in three areas of evaluation—Reading, Analysis, and Writing. Each essay is reviewed by two scorers, and scores between 1-4 are awarded in each dimension. These scores are then added together so that you’ll receive three scores for the SAT Essay—one for each dimension—ranging from 2–8 points. A perfect score on the essay would be 8/8/8, but the mean score on the essay is a 5 for Reading and Writing, and 3 for Analysis. This means if you can achieve any score over 5/3/5, you have scored above average on the essay. For a more complete look at how the test is scored, don’t miss our post What is a Good SAT Essay Score?

Should I Take the SAT Essay?

First of all, the SAT essay is technically an optional section, so no, you are not required to take it. That being said, some colleges do require applicants to take the SAT with Essay. If you choose not to take the essay portion of the test, you will not be an eligible applicant for any of these schools. 

The SAT Essay used to be required at many top colleges, but it has become optional at many schools. Now, among elite schools, only the University of California schools require the Essay. Other selective colleges like Duke University, Amherst College, and Colby College recommend the Essay, but it’s not required. 

Take a look at the colleges on these lists, and see if there are any you plan to apply to. Also be sure to double-check on your schools’ webpages, as these policies can change. 

If you think you might change your mind about which schools you want to apply to, you should take the SAT Essay to leave those doors open. This is why we generally recommend taking the essay, regardless of whether or not it’s required. After all, you can’t go back and just take the SAT Essay if you decide to change your mind and apply to a school that requires it—you’d have to retake the entire SAT.

Some colleges don’t require the essay, but do recommend it. In these cases, we always direct students to do what the college recommends. 

That being said, there is currently no option to withhold your essay score if you do terribly on it. Your essay scores will always be reported with your other test scores from that day, even to colleges that don’t require them. 

What Colleges Require the SAT with Essay?

There colleges request scores from the SAT with Essay in order to apply.

Schools that Require the SAT Essay:

  • All of the University of California schools
  • Benedictine University
  • City University London
  • Delaware State University
  • DeSales University
  • Dominican University of California
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Howard University
  • John Wesley University
  • Kentucky State University
  • Martin Luther College
  • Molloy College
  • Schreiner University
  • Soka University of America
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture
  • Texas A&M University—Galveston
  • United States Military Academy (West Point)
  • University of North Texas
  • West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  • Western Carolina University

how long is sat without essay

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These schools do not require the SAT Essay, but do recommend that students submit it. At CollegeVine, our best advice is to always follow a college’s recommendations. 

Schools that Recommend the SAT Essay:

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Allegheny College
  • Amherst College
  • Art Institute of Houston
  • Augsburg University
  • Austin College
  • Caldwell University
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • Colby College
  • College of Wooster
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  • Corban University
  • Cornerstone University
  • Dallas Christian College
  • Duke University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Eastern Nazarene College
  • Easternn University
  • Endicott College
  • Five Towns College
  • Gallaudet University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Highlands College
  • Greenville University
  • Gwynedd Mercy University
  • High Point University
  • Hofstra University
  • Holy Family University
  • Husson University
  • Indiana University South Bend
  • Indiana University Southeast
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Inter American University of Puerto Rico: Barranquitas Campus
  • Juilliard School
  • Keiser University (West Palm Beach)
  • Lehigh University
  • Madonna University
  • Manhattan College
  • Marymount California University
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • McMurry University
  • Mercy College
  • Modern College of Design
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • Morehouse College
  • Mount Saint Mary College
  • Mount St. Joseph University
  • National-Louis University
  • New Jersey City University
  • Nichols College
  • North Park University
  • Occidental College
  • Ohio University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University Northwest
  • Randall University
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Reading Area Community College
  • Rowan University
  • Rutgers University—Camden Campus
  • Rutgers University—Newark Campus
  • Saint Michael’s College
  • Sciences Po
  • Seton Hill University
  • Shiloh University
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Silver Lake College of the Holy Family
  • Southern Illinois University of Carbondale
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Spring Hill College
  • Sul Ross State University
  • SUNY Farmingdale State College
  • SUNY University at Stony Brook
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M International University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas State University
  • The King’s College
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • University of Evansville
  • University of La Verne
  • University of Mary Hardin—Baylor
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Minnesota: Twin Cities
  • University of New England
  • University of Northwestern—St. Paul
  • University of the Virgin Islands
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Washington Bothell
  • VanderCook College of Music
  • Virginia Union University
  • Wabash College
  • Webb Institute
  • Webber International University
  • Wesleyan College
  • William Jewell College

If any of the schools you are considering appear on either of the lists above, we recommend taking the SAT with Essay. In fact, we recommend that most, if not all, students take the SAT essay since it leaves more doors open in your college search. However, if you’re absolutely sure you won’t be applying to colleges that require or recommend the SAT with Essay, you can skip it.

Regardless, as you consider which colleges to add to your list, you’ll want to be certain you know what colleges require the SAT essay so that you can plan ahead for this part of your test. 

For help figuring out which schools might be a great fit for you, don’t miss our customized and innovative Chancing Engine and School List Generator . Here, we use a proprietary algorithm backed by over 100,000 data points to develop a school list based on your real admissions chances and preferences.

Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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How Long is the SAT with Optional Essay Section?

by Christian | Dec 24, 2017 | SAT Prep | 0 comments

How Long is the SAT with Essay?

Get a higher SAT Essay score - fast - with our instant-download complete course.

How long is the sat test with essay.

There’s no doubt that the entire SAT test takes a long time to finish! The test is even longer if you’re taking the (optional) SAT Essay.

So, how long is the SAT with Essay? Well, it comes out to a total of 4 hours and 5 minutes with breaks.

WOW, that’s a long test. Better make sure you prepare !

The SAT test typically starts between 8:30 and 9 AM. So, with essay, that means you’ll get out of the testing center at about 1 PM.

The SAT Essay section itself is 50 minutes long, and is given at the very end of the test. This allows any students who are not taking this optional essay to leave the testing center.

By the way, only fifteen minutes of that entire four-plus hours are break time. That means you spend a total of three hours and fifty minutes purely on high-stress SAT testing .

Remember that the SAT Essay section is “optional” but usually recommended (more on this later)…

How Long is the SAT Test without Essay?

But - what if you aren’t taking the SAT with essay? How long is the SAT Test without the optional essay section?

Well, in this case, the SAT test without essay is three hours and fifteen minutes with breaks. Only fifteen minutes of that are break time. So the SAT is a solid three hours of testing even without the essay.

Again, the SAT test usually starts between 8:30 and 9 AM, so  without the Essay section you’ll usually get out of the test a bit after noon.

Is the SAT Essay Optional, and Why Would You Take It?

So, if the SAT Essay is optional and adds fifty minutes to test day, then why would you bother to take it? After all, not  every student needs an SAT Essay score.

However, it’s much wiser to assume you  will need an SAT Essay score when you apply to your favorite colleges .

If you take the SAT with Essay, the worst-case scenario is you have an extra essay score you don’t use.

But, if you  don’t take the SAT with Essay, and you  do turn out to need an SAT Essay score, then I’ve got bad news. You’ll actually have to retake the entire SAT Test, just to get a chance at the Essay.

So, does that sound worth it to you, just to avoid writing one measly SAT Essay?

I didn’t think so. Be safe, be wise, and register to take the SAT with “optional” Essay.

How Do You Register for the SAT Test with Essay?

So, how exactly do you register to take the SAT Test with Essay?

Well, like all SAT test registrations, you’ll head to the official College Board website to register online. (Although you  can register for the SAT test via other methods, like phone, the vast majority of students will simply register online.)

During the SAT registration process you’ll have a simple and easy option to include the SAT Essay.

Note: It will cost approximately $14 extra to register for the SAT Test with Essay. Again - for the sake of your college applications and peace of mind, I would recommend simply paying the fee and taking the essay.

By the way, don’t forget to prepare diligently for the other sections of the SAT Test before the Essay. The real “meat” of your SAT score comes from a gigantic multiple-choice test over Reading, Grammar, and Math. Be ready!

Where Can You Learn More About the SAT Essay?

So, where can you go to learn more about acing the SAT Essay and getting your top score?

We’ve published tons of free info you can use for a higher SAT Essay score. Start with this article and make sure to practice diligently at home.

If you want a thorough and complete training course on the SAT Essay from a perfect-scoring pro tutor, get our Complete SAT & ACT Essay Course . It’s  only available in our online course store. And, it also covers the ACT Essay in detail (but you don’t have to use that part of the course if you don’t need it!)

Finally, if you’re interested in private 1-on-1 tutoring for the SAT Essay, we do that too. Contact us for more details and a free personalized consultation, no matter where in the world you live.

Do you h ave any other burning questions about the SAT Essay? Leave them in the comments below!

Get Higher SAT Essay Scores Today!

Do you want to ace your SAT test, and the SAT essay too? Of course you do! If you get higher scores on your SAT test, you’ll have access to much better colleges and scholarships. And, a better education means more opportunities, more money, and a better lifestyle.

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How Long is the SAT?

mention

This article will answer that question, as well as provide additional detail and context.

  • How Long does the SAT take?
  • What Time Does the SAT Start and End?

The SAT itself usually starts at about 9:00 a.m . It is crucially important, however, to know that the doors to the testing center are only open between 7:45 a.m and 8:00 a.m. Students must make sure to be in the room before the doors close at 8:00 a.m.

Students who take the test without the optional essay portion will typically finish between about 12:15 to 12:45. The test itself takes three hours, plus 15 minutes of breaks, for a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Students who opt to take the additional writing section can expect to finish between about 1:00 to 1:30. The test with the writing section takes 3 hours and 50 minutes, plus breaks, for a total of four hours and five minutes.

Do you know the difference between the SAT and PSAT ( what is the PSAT )?

  • How Many Breaks Are There on the SAT?

Students taking the SAT get 15 minutes of total break time, which are split up into three separate breaks.

The first break is ten minutes and comes after the 65-minute reading section. The second break is five minutes, and is given after the writing and no-calculator math section.

Finally, a short two-minute break is provided between the math calculator section and the optional essay section.

This is how long the ACT takes .

  • How Long Is Each Section of the SAT?

There are four sections of the SAT, as well as an optional essay section, which brings the total to five sections. Some students also receive an additional section of experimental questions that do not count in their score.

The first section is Reading and has 65 questions. Next is Writing, which is 35 minutes.

After that is the Math no-calculator section, which is 25 minutes long. The Math Calculator section is 38 minutes long.

The optional Essay section is 50 minutes long.

Sometimes students will be presented with an additional 20-minute test section. If so, these questions are experimental questions and do not count toward a student’s score.

  • How Many Minutes Is Each Question on the SAT?

This brings us to one of the most important questions, which is how long to spend on each question on the SAT. Proper pacing is important in order to be able to answer as many questions correctly as possible.

The following table breaks down how much time to spend on each question in each section of the exam.

The Reading section has 52 questions and is 65 minutes longs. This gives students 75 seconds to read and answer each question.

Writing and Language has 44 questions and allows 35 minutes. As a result, students have almost 48 seconds for each question in this section.

Next is the Math no-calculator section with 20 questions in 25 minutes. Like the reading section, this portion allows students 75 seconds to answer each question.

The Math with calculator section has 38 questions in a 55-minute timespan. This provides students with almost 87 seconds per question.

The optional essay portion is 50 minutes long with one essay. Students may pace their time however works best for them, but should remember to allow time for reading the prompt, organizing their thoughts, writing, and reviewing and revising.

  • How to Manage Your Time During the SAT

In addition to studying and preparing for the content within the SAT, it is also critically important to practice managing your time correctly.

The first step in managing one’s time is to review the average time per question. This information, along with the number of questions and total time per section, is described in the section and table above.

Use this as a guide while you are preparing for the test to practice keeping an appropriate pace. During the test, try to make sure you are continuing this pace.

The point of pacing is to try to answer as many questions correctly as possible.

The time per question is an average. If a student answers several questions more quickly than the average, then he or she will have extra time to spend on more challenging questions.

Of course, the inverse is true, as well. Every question that a student spends extra time on takes time away from answering other questions that he or she might have been able to answer correctly.

Therefore, if a student notices he or she is spending too much time on a question, it is better to move on. He or she should answer as many other questions correctly as they can and come back to that one later, if there is time.

Students should keep in mind that they may want to review their work, as well.

If that is the case, they can allow for a certain number of seconds to check their work as they go. Another option is to quicken their pacing to allow for a few minutes to review everything at the end.

  • Making the Best Use of Breaks During the SAT

Another factor in managing one’s time during the SAT is to make the best use of the break times. Three or more hours is a long time to focus, so it is important to use breaks to refresh one’s energy and attention.

The first break, which is 10 minutes and comes after a 65-minute stretch of testing, is a good time to use the restroom

It is also a good time to have a small, healthy snack, and a little bit of water. (Not too much, as there is still a lot more testing to take place.)

The following three and two minute breaks can also be used to take a very short bathroom break, or have a quick snack or drink. Or, students can just stretch and take deep breaths.

The main goal is to stay as alert as possible, without being overly stressed or distracted.

  • How Long Does the SAT Take?

The SAT generally takes three hours, or three hours and 15 minutes if counting the breaks. For students who take the optional writing portion of the test, the SAT becomes three hours and 50 minutes, or four hours and five minutes, including the breaks.

The SAT is going all digital in March. Here's what you need to know

5-minute read.

how long is sat without essay

If you're one of those many high school students — or parents — wondering what to expect of the new all-digital SAT, we have you covered.

The last-ever paper SAT was administered in December.

Whether you’re planning to take the SAT in a test center on a weekend or in school on a school day, a new, completely digital version of the exam will be administered across the U.S. beginning on March 9 after the College Board, the company that develops and administers the SAT, piloted the digital test in 2021.

NorthJersey.com talked to two tutoring companies, Ridgewood-based Aspen Tutoring and Manhattan-based Bespoke Education, to learn what’s new and answer key questions.

Is the new digital SAT test still three hours?

No — the more streamlined test is about two hours long now. And there will be shorter reading passages rather than a few long texts, the College Board said.

Are the questions the same as on the paper SAT?

The digital test questions cover the same concepts as the paper version, but there are formatting differences on the digital test and two substantive changes in the English section, said Sarah Burton of Aspen Tutoring.

The first is that vocabulary features more prominently on the digital test than on the paper version.

“On the SAT test that we have been tutoring since it was last revamped in 2016, vocabulary was almost absent,” Burton said. “There was so little of it, but now they are bringing it back, not in a major way, but it is more prominent.”

The other substantive difference is what Burton calls “synthesis questions.” These read like bullet points or notes on a topic. The test taker is asked to synthesize the information contained in those bullet points in response to a question.

There are two modules now. How does that work?

The test is now adaptive, meaning it occurs in two stages, or modules. The second stage changes depending on your performance in the first stage.

For both the English and math sections, the difficulty of Module 2 changes based on student performance in Module 1, with targeted questions that are harder if you meet certain benchmarks in Module 1 and easier questions if you don’t.

“Everyone has the same first section, and then that will feed you into either an easier or harder second module,” said Tim Levin, CEO of Bespoke Education.

Unlike on the paper test, the digital test questions are worth more in the second module. To get those top scores in the 750 to 800 range, you really need to feed your way into the harder second module, Levin said.

Students should be especially careful about making calculation errors or other mistakes in Module 1 of math, Burton said. Due to the test’s adaptive nature, the highest scores depend on how difficult the second module is, so students should play it safe by checking their work in the first module.

What if the second module seems easy?

If that second module feels too easy, students should not fixate on it out of a fear that they’re botching the test, said Meaghan Ozaydin of Aspen Tutoring. “Focus on what you know. Don’t get in your head about something being too hard or too easy. That’s a huge problem for kids. They get stressed out and it becomes paralyzing,” she said.

Can I skip around on the digital SAT?

Test takers can now move back and forth between questions within a module. They can preview later questions and review earlier questions, if time permits.

Can I bring a calculator to take the digital SAT?

Calculators are permitted throughout the test, but not required. The digital SAT has a built-in calculator for the math section.

How long is the English section of the new SAT?

English has just two sections, called Reading and Writing. Students have 64 minutes to answer 54 questions. The questions and time are split evenly between the two modules.

How about the math section?

The math section has a total of 44 questions that need to be answered in 70 minutes. Here, too, questions and time are split evenly between modules.

Do I still need to bring a pencil?

Yes, but it doesn’t have to be a No. 2 for filling in answer bubbles. A pen or pencil can be used for scratch work. Also, bring snacks and drinks to be kept under your desk during testing, and a Wi-Fi-enabled device that has enough charge to last three hours on which to take the test.

What if I don't have a mobile device for the test?

Schools usually supply devices if students don't have their own.

Students  who need to borrow a device from the College Board  will need to register and request their device earlier than the registration deadline — at least 30 days before test day.

Should I practice for the digital SAT if I already took the paper version?

Yes, because the digital test has tools and widgets, including a calculator that students must familiarize themselves with, said Levin, of Bespoke Education. Download the Bluebook app from bluebook.app.collegeboard.org and use the SAT Test Preview.

The preview familiarizes students with digital testing tools needed during the test to cross out answers, display or hide a countdown timer and do other tasks.

“It’s important to get used to the various tools that they have available on the Bluebook app," Ozaydin said. "That's really helpful if you want to learn how to cross out options and flag questions and learn how to most efficiently navigate the test.”

The app also has four sample tests students can use to practice. That’s “a decent amount of material,” Burton said, but less than what tutors are used to. “We normally have so much material to work with, and now we have four tests,” she said.

Do I still have time to sign up for the March SAT?

Yes, registration is open for the spring 2024 digital SAT. You can check dates and deadlines satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/dates-deadlines  and find a test center close to you at  satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/test-center-search .

The deadline to register for the March 9, 2024, sitting of the digital SAT is Feb. 23. The deadline for the May 4 session is April 19, and the deadline for the June 1 exam is May 16.

Is the digital SAT less stressful than the paper version?

With teen mental health and stress related to college admissions a growing problem in schools and among youth, it isn't clear whether the digital SAT will be any less stressful overall, despite its shorter length and digital format.

Burton said Aspen Tutoring tries to mitigate student stress by “taking the temperature of the room” during classes and putting the SAT’s importance in perspective — as one piece of a larger puzzle, be it college or life.

“I do think it’s a less intimidating test than the old one, and I think for kids this will be a benefit,” Burton said.

Is SAT scaling changing for the digital version?

"In general, what the College Board has said is that scaling is not going to change, so 1400 on the paper test is the same as 1400 on the digital," Levin said.

Students who took the test last year in Europe, where Bespoke has an office, are “doing at least as well on the digital SAT if not better,” Levin said. It's “intuitive,” and kids are finding it easier to take once they’ve practiced, he said.

Is the SAT coming back as a college application requirement?

The pandemic saw many colleges and universities switch their admissions policy to go test-optional, but the consensus among experts is that highly competitive schools still consider the SAT and the ACT.

And the SAT is still a top predictor of eventual college success.

So SAT scores could be returning as an admissions requirement. “This is the wave of the future. SAT scores are an important data point,” Levin said.

Why did Dartmouth just reinstate the SAT as a requirement?

Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution, has reinstated SAT scores as an admissions requirement beginning with undergraduate applicants for the Class of 2029, after doing away with it for four years.

Dartmouth found that low-income students who did not submit scores that they thought were too low were likely passed over for admission to the school in the test-optional system.

A “misperception” about high and low scores can harm students, the university said. “A score that falls below our class mean [or average] but several hundred points above the mean at the student's school is 'high' ... it has value as one factor among many in our holistic assessment,” it said in a statement.

Study Paragraphs

How Long is SAT Without

The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardized test commonly used for college admissions in the United States. The test consists of multiple-choice questions in the areas of math, reading, and writing, with an optional essay section. The length of the SAT is an important consideration for test-takers, as it can impact their ability to focus and perform well on the exam.

The SAT without the optional essay section is a total of 180 minutes, or 3 hours long . The test is broken down into four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (No Calculator), and Math (Calculator). Each section is timed and ranges in length from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the specific section. In addition to the timed sections, there is also a 10-minute break between the Reading and Math (No Calculator) sections.

The Reading section consists of 52 multiple-choice questions and is 65 minutes long. This section tests a student’s ability to understand and analyze passages from a variety of sources, including literature, social studies, and science.

The Writing and Language section consists of 44 multiple-choice questions and is also 35 minutes long. This section tests a student’s ability to revise and edit written passages to improve clarity, coherence, and grammatical correctness.

The Math (No Calculator) section consists of 20 multiple-choice questions and 5 grid-in questions (where the student must provide a numerical answer) and is 25 minutes long. This section tests a student’s ability to solve math problems without the use of a calculator.

The Math (Calculator) section consists of 38 multiple-choice questions and 8 grid-in questions and is 55 minutes long. This section tests a student’s ability to solve more complex math problems using a calculator.

The optional essay section, if chosen, adds an additional 50 minutes to the test. This section requires the student to analyze and critique a provided passage, using evidence and reasoning to support their arguments.

Overall, the SAT is a challenging and time-consuming exam. However, with adequate preparation and practice, students can improve their scores and increase their chances of being accepted to their desired colleges and universities.

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Hello! Welcome to my Blog StudyParagraphs.co. My name is Angelina. I am a college professor. I love reading writing for kids students. This blog is full with valuable knowledge for all class students. Thank you for reading my articles.

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SAT Writing

feature_satessaytemplate

And then, if you've chosen to take it, there's the essay. Or, more accurately, "To finish up, there's the essay." Because the last thing you'll do on the SAT (with Essay) is read a passage and write an essay analyzing its argument, all in 50 minutes.

How can you even begin to read a passage, analyze it, and write an essay about it in 50 minutes? What SAT essay structure should you follow? Is there an SAT essay format that’ll score you a top score for sure? Read on to find out the answers to these questions!

feature image credit: Pencil by Laddir Laddir , used under CC BY-SA 2.0 /Cropped from original.

UPDATE: SAT Essay No Longer Offered

In January 2021, the College Board announced that after June 2021, it would no longer offer the Essay portion of the SAT (except at schools who opt in during School Day Testing). It is now no longer possible to take the SAT Essay, unless your school is one of the small number who choose to offer it during SAT School Day Testing.

While most colleges had already made SAT Essay scores optional, this move by the College Board means no colleges now require the SAT Essay. It will also likely lead to additional college application changes such not looking at essay scores at all for the SAT or ACT, as well as potentially requiring additional writing samples for placement.

What does the end of the SAT Essay mean for your college applications? Check out our article on the College Board's SAT Essay decision for everything you need to know.

What 5 Things Does Your SAT Essay Need?

To build a great SAT essay template, you need to know what it needs to include. Here are the five most important elements of any SAT essay:

#1: An Introduction

The first impression the grader will have of your writing is your essay introduction. Don't just jump right into discussing argumentative techniques — i ntroduce your analysis with a statement of what the author is arguing in the prompt. You should then briefly mention the specific persuasive techniques the author used that you'll be discussing in your essay.

#2: A Clear Thesis Statement

I've separated this out as its own point because it’s so important. You must express a precise claim about what the author's point is and what techniques she uses to argue her point; otherwise, you're not answering the essay question correctly.

This cannot be emphasized enough: SAT essay graders do not care what your stance is on the issue . They care that you understand and explain how the author argues her point.

The SAT essay task is designed for you to demonstrate that you can analyze the structure of an argument and its affect on the reader with clear and coherent reasoning. Take this example prompt, for instance:

Write an essay in which you explain how Eric Klinenberg builds an argument to persuade his audience that Americans need to greatly reduce their reliance on air-conditioning. In your essay, analyze how Klinenberg uses one or more of the features listed in the box above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.

A bad thesis leaves you unclear on what features of the author's arguments you'll be analyzing in the essay:

The author tries to enforce to his audience by telling that air conditioning has negative effects.

This thesis doesn’t specify what features of the argument you'll be discussing, or even what Klinenberg's specific views are. It's just a (grammatically flawed) sentence that hints at Klinenberg's argument. Compare to a good thesis for the same prompt:

Through consideration of quantitative data, exploring possible counterarguments to his position, and judicious use of striking phrasings and words, Klinenberg strengthens both the logic and persuasiveness of his argument that Americans need to greatly reduce their reliance on air conditioning.

The above thesis clearly specifies both what the author's argument is and what aspects of the argument will be analyzed in the essay . If you want more practice writing strong thesis statements, use our complete list of SAT essay prompts as inspiration.

#3: Specific Examples That Support Your Point

To support your thesis, you'll need to draw on specific examples from the passage of the techniques you claim the author uses. Make sure to provide enough information for each example to make it clear how it is relevant to your thesis - and stop there. No need to paraphrase the entire passage, or explain why you agree or disagree with the author's argument - write enough that the reader can understand what your example is and be done.

#4: Explanations of the Examples That Support Your Point

It isn't enough to just summarize or paraphrase specific excerpts taken from the passage and call it a day. In each example paragraph, you must not only include details about a example, but also include an explanation of how each example demonstrates an argument technique and why it is persuasive. For instance, let's say you were planning on discussing how the author uses vivid language to persuade the reader to agree with him. Yes, you'd need to start by quoting parts of the passage where the author uses vivid language, but you then also need to explain why that example demonstrates vivid language and why it would be persuasive to the reader.

#5: A Conclusion

Your conclusion should restate your thesis and briefly mention the examples you wrote about in your essay (and how they supported your thesis ). If you haven't done it already in your essay, this is NOT the place to write about a broader context, or to contradict yourself, or to add further examples you didn't discuss. End on a strong note.

Ready to go beyond just reading about the SAT? Then you'll love the free five-day trial for our SAT Complete Prep program . Designed and written by PrepScholar SAT experts , our SAT program customizes to your skill level in over 40 subskills so that you can focus your studying on what will get you the biggest score gains.

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What’s the Best SAT Essay Format?

Now that you know what has to be in your essay, how do you fit it all in? It’s not enough to just throw in a thesis and some examples on paper and expect what you write to be an essay. You need to be organized, and when you have to organize an essay under pressure, the generic five paragraph essay format is your friend .

Just as with every five-paragraph essay you've written at school, your SAT essay should have an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs (one paragraph for each argumentative technique you discuss), and a conclusion . Your thesis statement (which techniques you'll be analyzing in the essay) should go in both your introduction and your conclusion, with slightly different wording. And even if you're just discussing multiple examples of the same technique being used in the passage, you’ll still probably need two body paragraphs for organizational purposes.

body_stayorganized

Sock Drawer by noricum , used under CC BY-SA 2.0 /Cropped from original

SAT Essay Template Outline

So how do you write an SAT essays in this five paragraph format? I've created an SAT essay template that you can use as a guide to structure your own SAT essays, based on the following prompt:

Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Klinenberg’s claims, but rather explain how Klinenberg builds an argument to persuade his audience.

You can read the full text of the passage associated with the prompt (part of Practice Test 5) via our complete collection of official SAT essay prompts .

In the following SAT essay format, I've broken down an SAT essay into introduction, example paragraphs, and conclusion . Since I'm writing in response to a specific prompt, some of the information and facts in the template will only be useful for answering this specific prompt (although you should feel free to look for and write about the argumentative techniques I discuss in any of your essays). When responding to any SAT question, however, you can and should use the same format and structure for your own essays. To help you out, I've bolded structural words an d phrases in the below template.

body_essayprompttreasure.jpg

Introduction (2-5 sentences)

Begin with a statement that explains the central claim of the passage's argument; this statement should provide some context for what you’ll be discussing in the essay. It can be brief if you’re short on time (1-2 sentences):

In his commentary, Eric Klinenberg conveys a strong stance against the rampant and short-sighted utilization of air conditioning (AC) nationwide. He believes AC is a massive unnecessary energy drain, and he implores the reader to reconsider the implications of constant cool comfort.

Next comes the all-important thesis statement that includes a clear outlining of what aspects of the author's argument you'll be discussing . You can be very specific (e.g. "statistics about air-conditioning usage in the US") or more vague (e.g. "quantitative data") here - the important part is that you'll be supporting your opinion with proof (1-2 sentences).

To buttress his argument, Klinenberg deftly employs quantitative data, acknowledgment of counterarguments, and vivid language.

Sample SAT essay introduction

In his commentary, Eric Klinenberg conveys a strong stance against the rampant and short-sighted utilization of air conditioning (AC) nationwide. He believes AC is a massive unnecessary energy drain, and he implores the reader to reconsider the implications of constant cool comfort. To buttress his argument, Klinenberg deftly employs quantitative data, acknowledgment of counterarguments, and vivid language.

Example 1 (6-10 sentences)

Introduce your first example with some kind of transition (1 sentence).

In his introductory paragraph, the author points to AC usage statistics to illustrate the grave magnitude of our hedonistic climate control.

In this case, the writer linked this body paragraph to the introduction by explaining how his example (AC usage statistics) relates to one of the persuasive techniques he'll be discussing (statistics): it is an example of the harm created by overuse of air-conditioning.

Next, provide relevant information about when and how in the passage the author uses this persuasive technique (4-7 sentences). Be sure to paraphrase or directly quote the passage for the strongest evidence.

He shares that “Americans use twice as much energy…as we did 20 years ago, and more than the rest of the world’s nations combined.” These staggering statements immediately give the reader pause, forcing an internal dialogue about their significant. Clearly, in the past 20 years, the American population has come nowhere close to doubling - and yet, AC energy use has doubled. This can only mean utilization per person has skyrocketed. Furthermore , the American population can comprise no more than 10% of the world’s population (400 million to the world’s 6 billion) - and yet we use more AC energy than the rest of the world. This leads to another profound inference - each American may use almost 10 times more AC energy as the average non-American. These conclusions are grave and thought-provoking.

Finally, explain how this example works to strengthen the author's argument (3-4 sentences).

By introducing incontrovertible data, Klinenberg empowers the reader to reason though her own arguments and formulate her own conclusions. The rhetorical consequence is that the reader independently and actively agrees with Klinenberg’s thesis, rather than being a passive unengaged audience member. By the virtue of her own logic, the reader is compelled to agree with Klinenberg.

Sample SAT essay body paragraph (1)

In his introductory paragraph , the author points to AC usage statistics to illustrate the grave magnitude of our hedonistic climate control. He shares that “Americans use twice as much energy…as we did 20 years ago, and more than the rest of the world’s nations combined.” These staggering statements immediately give the reader pause, forcing an internal dialogue about their significant. Clearly, in the past 20 years, the American population has come nowhere close to doubling - and yet, AC energy use has doubled. This can only mean utilization per person has skyrocketed. Furthermore , the American population can comprise no more than 10% of the world’s population (400 million to the world’s 6 billion) - and yet we use more AC energy than the rest of the world. This leads to another profound inference - each American may use almost 10 times more AC energy as the average non-American. These conclusions are grave and thought-provoking. By introducing incontrovertible data, Klinenberg empowers the reader to reason though her own arguments and formulate her own conclusions. The rhetorical consequence is that the reader independently and actively agrees with Klinenberg’s thesis, rather than being a passive unengaged audience member. By the virtue of her own logic, the reader is compelled to agree with Klinenberg.

body_carAC.jpg

Example 2 (6-10 sentences)

Transition from the previous paragraph into this example (1 sentence).

Quickly after this data-driven introduction , Klinenberg effectively addresses potential counterarguments to his thesis.

Provide at least one specific example of how the author uses the persuasive technique you're discussing in this paragraph (2-5 sentences).

He acknowledges that there are clear valid situations for AC use - to protect the “lives of old, sick, and frail people,” “farm workers who work in sunbaked fields,” and “workers who might otherwise wilt in searing temperatures.” By justifying several legitimate uses of air conditioning, the author heads off his most reflexive critics.

Explain how and why this example persuades the reader of the author's opinion. (3-4 sentences).

An incoming reader who has just absorbed Klinenberg’s thesis would naturally have objections - if left unaddressed, these objections would have left a continuous mental roar, obscuring the absorption of further arguments. Instead , Klinenberg quells the most common objection with a swift riposte, stressing that he is not a maniacal anti-AC militant, intent on dismantling the AC-industrial complex. With this addressed, the reader can continue further, satisfied that Klinenberg is likely to be somewhat well-reasoned and objective. Ultimately, this facilitates acceptance of his central thesis .

Sample SAT essay body paragraph (2)

Quickly after this data-driven introduction , Klinenberg effectively addresses potential counterarguments to his thesis. He acknowledges that there are clear valid situations for AC use - to protect the “lives of old, sick, and frail people,” “farm workers who work in sunbaked fields,” and “workers who might otherwise wilt in searing temperatures.” By justifying several legitimate uses of air conditioning, the author heads off his most reflexive critics. An incoming reader who has just absorbed Klinenberg’s thesis would naturally have objections - if left unaddressed, these objections would have left a continuous mental roar, obscuring the absorption of further arguments. Instead , Klinenberg quells the most common objection with a swift riposte, stressing that he is not a maniacal anti-AC militant, intent on dismantling the AC-industrial complex. With this addressed, the reader can continue further, satisfied that Klinenberg is likely to be somewhat well-reasoned and objective. Ultimately, this facilitates acceptance of his central thesis.

Example 3 (Optional, 6-10 sentences)

This paragraph is in the same format as Example 2. You should only include a third example if you think it’s strong and will help (rather than detract from) your point.

In the case of the essay we've been using as the backbone of this template, the author had the time to write a third example. Here it is, broken down in the same way as the previous example, starting with a transition from the previous paragraph (1 sentence):

When he returns to his rebuke of wanton AC use, Klinenberg employs forceful vivid language to magnify his message .

He emphasizes the blind excess of air conditioner use, comparing cooled homes to “igloos” circulating “arctic air.” Then, to underscore the unforeseen consequences of such behavior, he slides to the other extreme of the temperature spectrum, conjuring the image of “burning through fossil fuels in suicidal fashion.” This visual imagery shakes the reader from complacency. Most likely, the reader has been the beneficiary of AC use. “So, what’s the big deal?” By comparing malls to igloos and excessive energy use to suicide, Klinenberg magnifies the severity of the problem.

We are forced to consider our comfortable abode as a frigid arctic dwelling, prompting the natural question of whether we really do need our hones cold enough to see our breath indoors. The natural conclusion, in turn, is that we do not. By employing effective visual imagery, Klinenberg takes the reader through another internal dialogue, resulting in stronger acceptance of his message .

Sample SAT essay body paragraph (3)

When he returns to his rebuke of wanton AC use, Klinenberg employs forceful vivid language to magnify his message . He emphasizes the blind excess of air conditioner use, comparing cooled homes to “igloos” circulating “arctic air.” Then, to underscore the unforeseen consequences of such behavior, he slides to the other extreme of the temperature spectrum, conjuring the image of “burning through fossil fuels in suicidal fashion.” This visual imagery shakes the reader from complacency. Most likely, the reader has been the beneficiary of AC use. “So, what’s the big deal?” By comparing malls to igloos and excessive energy use to suicide, Klinenberg magnifies the severity of the problem. We are forced to consider our comfortable abode as a frigid arctic dwelling, prompting the natural question of whether we really do need our hones cold enough to see our breath indoors. The natural conclusion, in turn, is that we do not. By employing effective visual imagery, Klinenberg takes the reader through another internal dialogue, resulting in stronger acceptance of his message .

body_whatdidyoudotoday

Conclusion (2-4 sentences)

Reiterate your thesis, using different words (1-2 sentences).

Overall, the passage effectively weaves quantitative data, acknowledgment of counterarguments, and vivid language to rebuke the excesses of air conditioning. The reader leaves with the strong conclusion that perhaps a bit of moderation can do the world some good.

You may also choose to mention the examples you used if you have time and if it adds anything (1-2 sentences). In this case, the author of the essay chose not to.

Sample SAT essay conclusion

The final sat essay template.

Here's what the final SAT essay template looks like (key structural words and phrases bolded):

This essay contains some inferences about what the reader may experience (e.g. that the reader is shaken from complacency by the image of suicidally burning through fossil fuels). It also has some minor grammatical and spelling errors.

Since there is no way to survey the mind of every reader and see how the majority of them react to the author's arguments, however, graders will go along with any reasonable inferences about how a reader would react to the author's argument. As far as grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure issues, the rule is even simpler: if the error doesn't make your essay too difficult to read and understand, the people who score your essay will ignore these errors.

body_looklfet

The essay graders will not fault you for factual inaccuracies or minor grammar/punctuation/spelling errors.

SAT Essay Format: A Quick Recap

To summarize, your SAT essay should stick to the following format:

  • Start with a statement about what the author of the passage is arguing.
  • Thesis with a clear statement about what argumentative techniques you'll be examining in the essay.
  • Transition from introduction to a specific example that illustrates an argumentative technique.
  • Brief description of when the author uses that technique and how they employ it.
  • Explanation for why that example strengthens the passage author's argument
  • Transition from previous paragraph to a specific example that illustrates a second argumentative technique.
  • Transition from previous paragraph to a specific example that illustrates a third argumentative technique.
  • Restate your thesis (in different words) and mention the examples you used to support it in your essay.

bodythreeACs.jpg

What’s Next?

Worried about putting this template into practice? Watch us write an SAT essay, step by step, to learn how to do it yourself!

Can you write a killer SAT essay in less than a page? Find out how SAT essay length affects your score here .

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Our program is entirely online, and it customizes what you study to your strengths and weaknesses . If you liked this SAT Essay lesson, you'll love our program.  Along with more detailed lessons, you'll get your SAT essays hand-graded by a master instructor who will give you customized feedback on how you can improve. We'll also give you a step-by-step program to follow so you'll never be confused about what to study next.

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Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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  1. How Long is the SAT Test?

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  4. What is a Good SAT Score in 2020?

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  6. How Long Is The SAT With Essay (And Why)?

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  1. Improve Your SAT Score by 20-30 Points

COMMENTS

  1. How Long Does the SAT Take?

    The total time for the digital SAT is 2 hours and 14 minutes, not including breaks, and the test consists of: Reading and Writing: 64-minute section with 54 questions (1 minute 11 seconds per question) Math: 70-minute section with 44 questions (1 minute 35 seconds per question) Compared to the ACT ®, the SAT® provides 67% more time per question.

  2. Expert Guide: How Long Is the SAT?

    The SAT is three hours (180 minutes) long in total, excluding the optional essay and breaks. With the optional essay, the total test time increases to three hours and 50 minutes. Here's an overview of the SAT test length: The Math section is the only section separated into two pieces: a No Calculator and a Calculator section.

  3. SAT Exact Start Time and End Time

    SAT End Time Without the Essay If you choose not to take the essay, then you'll be finished about an hour earlier than students who elect to include this section. The SAT has a 65-minute Reading section, a 35-minute Writing and Language section, and two Math sections: 25 minutes (without calculator) and 55 minutes (with calculator).

  4. Which Colleges Require the SAT Essay? Complete List

    Did the author use evidence to support the main claim? Appeals to emotion? Specific word choice? If you take the SAT without Essay, the test length is three hours. However, if you take the SAT with Essay, the optional Essay adds 50 minutes. It also costs more to take the SAT with Essay: $64.50 vs $49.50 without the Essay.

  5. How Long is the SAT Test?

    The total testing time for all four sections of the 2022-2023 SAT (without the essay)—for the test sections only, NOT counting breaks—is 180 minutes. KEY FACT: The total testing time for the 2022-2023 SAT (without the essay) is exactly 3 hours. When Are the Breaks During the SAT? There are two scheduled breaks between sections:

  6. How Long is the SAT?

    How Long Does the SAT Take? The SAT clocks in at 3 hours (3 hours and 15 minutes with breaks). And if you choose to sign up for the optional essay , the SAT takes 3 hours and 50 minutes to complete (or 4 hours, 5 minutes with breaks).

  7. How Long Is The SAT? 2024 Ultimate Guide

    If you choose to take the Essay section, the SAT would take you nearly 4 hours to finish it. This is pretty long and will feel even longer when you're nervous. What are the things that you can do to prepare for the long and intense SAT and to keep anxiety at bay?

  8. The Optional SAT Essay: What to Know

    March 28, 2022, at 5:21 p.m. Getty Images Even though an increasing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements, students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain...

  9. Your Guide: How Long is the SAT Without Essay?

    The SAT without the essay section is approximately 3 hours long, excluding breaks. The test consists of three main sections: reading, writing and language, and math. The reading section is 65 minutes, the writing and language section is 35 minutes, and the math section varies depending on whether a calculator is allowed.

  10. The Definitive Guide to the SAT 2024

    For some students in particular states, an optional Essay portion adds an extra fifty minutes at the end. What are the sections of the SAT? The Digital SAT includes two sections with two modules each, Reading & Writing and Math. Each section counts for 50% of your composite score.

  11. What Colleges Require the SAT Essay?

    The SAT Essay used to be required at many top colleges, but it has become optional at many schools. Now, among elite schools, only the University of California schools require the Essay. Other selective colleges like Duke University, Amherst College, and Colby College recommend the Essay, but it's not required.

  12. How Long is the SAT with Optional Essay Section?

    Only fifteen minutes of that are break time. So the SAT is a solid three hours of testing even without the essay. Again, the SAT test usually starts between 8:30 and 9 AM, so without the Essay section you'll usually get out of the test a bit after noon. Is the SAT Essay Optional, and Why Would You Take It?

  13. How Long is the SAT? How Long Does It Take in 2024?

    Students who take the test without the optional essay portion will typically finish between about 12:15 to 12:45. The test itself takes three hours, plus 15 minutes of breaks, for a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes. Students who opt to take the additional writing section can expect to finish between about 1:00 to 1:30.

  14. The SAT is going all digital in March. Here's what to know

    Unlike on the paper test, the digital test questions are worth more in the second module. To get those top scores in the 750 to 800 range, you really need to feed your way into the harder second ...

  15. Extended Time

    For 50% extended time, the PSAT 8/9 is 3 hours and 21 minutes of testing time, plus breaks: 96 minutes for the Reading and Writing Test. 105 minutes for the Math Test. For 100% extended time, the PSAT 8/9 is 4 hours and 28 minutes of testing time, plus breaks: 128 minutes for the Reading and Writing Test. 140 minutes for the Math Test.

  16. Should I Take the SAT Essay? How to Decide

    In January 2021, the College Board announced that after June 2021, it would no longer offer the Essay portion of the SAT (except at schools who opt in during School Day Testing). It is now no longer possible to take the SAT Essay, unless your school is one of the small number who choose to offer it during SAT School Day Testing.

  17. why does it say "sat without essay"? : r/Sat

    SAT essay is discontinued since years so, usually you don't need to take the SAT with essay that's why the status is there SAT without essay and it is completely fine. 33 mesii10_ OP • 1 yr. ago Thanks 5 [deleted] • 1 yr. ago Anytime! Feel free to reach out me for further help if you need. 7 RichInPitt • 1 yr. ago

  18. How Long Is the SAT With Breaks?

    The total time for the SAT without the Essay (with breaks) is three hours and 15 minutes. Here is the SAT without Essay chronological timing breakdown: How to Use SAT Breaks to Your Advantage The breaks always come after the 1st, 3rd, and 4th sections, so use them to recharge.

  19. How Long is SAT Without

    The SAT without the optional essay section is a total of 180 minutes, or 3 hours long. The test is broken down into four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (No Calculator), and Math (Calculator). Each section is timed and ranges in length from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the specific section. In addition to the timed sections ...

  20. Can you submit an SAT score without the essay score? : r/Sat

    Pretty good chance you'll be fine. 5. prsehgal. • 3 yr. ago. Unfortunately not, since the essay score becomes part of your score report for that date. But if you'll get a 1550, nobody will even look at your essay score (actually they don't look at it anyway). 3.

  21. How Long Is the SAT With Extended Time?

    Time and a half makes the SAT without the optional essay a total of 4 hours and 30 minutes and the SAT with the essay a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes. Students with time and a half take the SAT at the usual time and place, on a Saturday morning at their testing center of choice. Double Time

  22. How Long Sat Without Essay

    Paper Writing Service Price Estimation. 1 (888)814-4206 1 (888)499-5521. How Long Sat Without Essay, How To Write Pronounciation, Popular Dissertation Chapter Writer Sites For Masters, Dissertation Rse Et Performance, English Essay Television, Sample Cover Letter For Clerk Job, Waste Money Essay. Clients are not forced to pay for work ...

  23. The Most Reliable SAT Essay Template and Format

    To summarize, your SAT essay should stick to the following format: Introduction (with your thesis) - 2-5 sentences. Start with a statement about what the author of the passage is arguing. Thesis with a clear statement about what argumentative techniques you'll be examining in the essay. Example 1 - 6-10 sentences.