The New SAT Structure

Here is a quick overview of the New SAT structure:

Section Test Features Duration Number of Question
Evidence-based Reading and writing Reading   65 Minutes 52
Writing and Language   35 Minutes 44
Math Math Calculator not allowed 25 Minutes 20
Calculator allowed 55 Minutes 38
    Total 230 154
Essay Essay Optional 50 Minutes 1 Task

Sections, Tests and Durations

The New SAT is 3 hour 50 minutes long, excluding breaks. Test takers are allowed two breaks -- one 10-minute and one five-minute break -- during the test. The exam consists of two sections and one optional essay. The two sections are (1) Evidence Based Reading and Writing and (2) Math.

The Evidence Based Reading and Writing section comprises two tests – a Reading Test and a Writing and Language Test. The Math Test comprises two sections – a “calculator not allowed” section and another “calculator allowed” section.

The sequence of the tests/ sections may vary; tests/sections have to be answered in the order they appear and in the time allotted. You cannot go back to a test/section after the time allotted for that particular test/section is over, and you cannot move ahead to the next test/section before time is called, even if you have completed all questions in the previous test/section.

The 65-minute Reading Test has 52 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs); the 35-minute Writing and Language Test 44 MCQs. The 25 minute Math Section on which use of calculator is not allowed contains 15 MCQs and 5 Grid-In questions that do not have any answer options. The 55 minute Math Section on which use of calculator is allowed contains 30 MCQs and 8 Grid-In questions.

The final section is the optional essay. The duration of the essay section is 50 minutes.


You get a whole range of scores on the New SAT

  One Composite (Total) Score 400-1600
  Two Section Scores  
1 Evidence-based Reading and writing 200-800
2 Math 200-800 Three test Scores Range
1 Reading 10-40
2 Writing and Language 10-40
3 Math 10-40 Two Cross-Test Scores Range  
1 Analysis in History and Social Studies 10-40 There are no separate History/Social Studies or Science sections. These scores are based on select questions on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section and on the Math section.
2 Analysis in Science Seven Subscores Range  
1 Command of Evidence 1-15 Based on questions in Evidence Based Reading and Writing section – the Reading test and the Writing and Language test
2 Words in Context 1-15
3 Expression of Ideas 1-15
4 Standard English Conventions 1-15
5 Heart of Algebra 1-15 Based on questions in the Math test
6 Problem Solving and Data Analysis 1-15
7 Passport to Advanced Math 1-15   Range  
1 Three Essay Scores 2-8 each If you write the optional essay you get three additional scores: relating to Reading, Analysis, and Writing.


Every correct answer is worth one raw point. Skipped questions are not scored, and neither are wrong answers. There is no longer any penalty for wrong answers.

The number of correct answers in each test is the raw score for the test. You will get a raw score for the Reading test, for the Writing and Language test, and for the Math test. The raw scores are converted into the scores you see. Select questions contribute to the Subscores and the Cross-Test scores.

Difficulty Levels

Questions on the SAT come in 3 levels of difficulty– easy, medium and hard- questions from each level account for 1/3rd of the total questions. The Math questions are arranged in a rough order of difficulty. The questions on the Reading and Writing section do not appear in any particular order of difficulty.

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