How Long Does The SAT Take?

Wondering how long you should be seated in the SAT Test Center, Learn How Long Does the SAT Take, how to prepare for the test efficiently and more.

Updated by Selva Kumar on 17th January 2020

When it comes to competitive exams such as the SAT, the most important factor that affects the student’s performance can be time. Starting from the registration process to exams and the college admission process, time plays an important role.

The SAT test takes up to 3 hours and 15 minutes with the breaks and student sign up for the optional essay, it might even extend 50 min more arriving at the total test duration of 4 hours and 5 minutes.

In this article, we will be exploring when does the SAT test starts and how long does it take and more.

Table of content


What time Does the SAT Start?

Generally, the SAT exam starts around 8:30 to 9:00 AM, it is a Standardized test and rules and regulations are followed strictly. So, students won’t be allowed to enter the examination hall once the test begins.

However, the accurate time is never determined and it is not uniform either. Instead, the timing varies from one testing center to the other based on the number of the students' registration completed for each testing center.


What time Does the Student need to Arrive for the SAT?

The college board recommends that the student should arrive at the testing center no later than 7:45 AM. As it is a fair idea to get to the test center a little earlier in order to skip the last-minute pressure, which might lead to stress and anxiety.


SAT Test Length

The SAT is 4 hours and 5 minutes long in total. This includes the optional essay and breaks.

The following table shows the breakdown of the number of questions and total time

Order

Section

Number of questions

Total time(Minutes)

Time per question

1

Reading

52

65

1 minute 15 seconds

2

Break 1

__

10

 

3

Writing and Language

44

35

47 seconds

4

Math (No Calculator)

20

25

1 minute 15 seconds

5

Break 2

__

5

 

6

Math Calculator

38

55

1 minute 26 seconds

7

Break 3

__

2

 

8

Essay

1

50

(1 essay 50 min)

*Note: The time required for each question in a particular section is an estimation.

If a student is not taking the optional essay section, then they need not wait any further.


How to Plan for the SAT? 

One of the common mistakes most of the test takers make is they don’t plan the timing for the SAT and end up spending more time than required for a question. Hence, the climax of the exam will be with a lot of careless mistakes.

But don’t worry, here are the tips that help you manage time effectively and score more.

Answer What You Know

Remember, you have to answer all the questions in order to score high on the SAT, but that doesn’t mean you get points for every question you attend, it is based on correct answers for the questions. So doing a few questions correctly can also make you score high.

Practice Test

Take a full practice test and make note of your time for each section and for the type of questions you were able to answer quickly. Also, keep an eye on those questions that kill your time. Taking a demo is seriously suggested before the exam.