Overview and Content

This is the actual format of the SAT. The total testing time allowed is 3¾ hours. There are ten sections on the test. You are given 25 minutes apiece to complete seven of them. They are:

• 1 essay-writing section

• 2 critical reading sections

• 2 mathematics sections

• 1 writing skills section

• 1 “experimental” section (critical reading, writing skills, or mathematics)

The eighth and ninth sections take 20 minutes apiece. They are:

• 1 critical reading section

• 1 mathematics section

Finally, there is an additional 10-minute section. It is:

• 1 writing skills section

These sections will all appear on the SAT. However, the order in which they appear is likely to vary from test to test.

Not counting the experimental section, the three critical reading sections should contain a total of 19 sentence completion questions and 48 passage-based reading questions. More than half of the critical reading questions on the SAT directly test how well you understand what you read.

Pay particular attention to how these critical reading sections are organized. All three sections contain groups of sentence completion questions followed by groups of passage-based reading questions. The sentence completion questions are arranged in order of difficulty: they start out with easy “warm-up” questions and get more and more difficult as they go along. (The passage-based reading questions do not necessarily get more difficult as they go along. In general, questions about material found early in the passage come before questions about material occurring later.