The SAT is an entrance exam that colleges and universities use to make decisions about admissions. The SAT contains several sections: Reading, Writing & Language, Math (No Calculator & Calculator Sections), and an optional Essay section.

The SAT measures a student’s readiness for college. College admissions review these test scores alongside a student’s GPA, classes a student took in high school, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, admissions interviews, and personal essays.

While the weight of SAT scores on admission decisions varies from school to school, generally, the higher a student scores on the SAT, the more options for attending and paying for college become available.



Math (No Calculator & Calculator Sections)

Section 3 of the SAT is a no-calculator math test that covers concepts from Algebra I and II; arithmetic, probability, and data analysis; and plane geometry, coordinate geometry, and trigonometry. Section 3 is comprised of 15 multiple-choice questions, and five grid-in questions. Students have 25 minutes to complete this section of the SAT.

Section 4 of the SAT is another math test that covers the same concepts as Section 3. In Section 4, however, students are allowed the use of a calculator. Section 4 is comprised of 38 multiple-choice questions, and eight grid-in questions. Students have 38 minutes to complete this section of the SAT.


The Reading section of the SAT provides students with five passages from topics ranging from literature to the natural sciences. Students are required to read these passages and answer corresponding questions. Questions could relate to identifying central themes of the passage, identifying the meaning of words in context, comparing passages, or identifying information within the text.

Students have 65 minutes to complete this section of the SAT.

Writing & Language

The Writing section of the SAT provides students with sentences and passages with mistakes or weaknesses, and asks that students select the correct answer to improve the sentence or passage. This section tests a student’s reading comprehension, ability to define key words in context, and their grasp of a passage’s structure and organization.

The Writing section of the SAT is comprised of four passages with 11 corresponding questions each. Students have 35 minutes to complete this section of the SAT.

Essay (Optional)

The optional Essay section of the SAT asks students to read a text and explain the strategies the author uses to convey an argument effectively.

Students have 50 minutes to read a provided passage and respond with an essay in this section of the SAT.


Information & Resources

CollegeBoard – Practice Tests, Registration, and Test Calendar

Princeton Review – Additional Test Information

Khan Academy – Practice Test

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