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What Sections Does The SAT Contain?

Your score on the SAT has the potential to unlock a world of possibilities. From acceptance into prestigious colleges and universities to thousands of dollars worth of scholarships, the benefits of earning a high score on the SAT are too good to pass up.

If you want to perform well enough on the SAT to receive these benefits, you will need to make sure you are prepared for the test. The first step toward making sure you are ready to do well on test day is to know exactly what you should expect to see on the test.

When you know the information that will be covered on the SAT, you will be able to study more effectively.

To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of the four different sections that are on the SAT:


The SAT Reading section is comprised of 52 multiple-choice questions covering individual passages and passage pairs about literature, history, social sciences, and natural sciences. You will have 65 minutes to complete this section of the test.


  • Skim your passages!
  • Tackle the easiest passages first
  • Don’t be afraid to answer the questions out of order

Writing & Language

The Writing & Language section of the SAT is made up of 44 multiple-choice questions about grammar, editing, vocabulary, and punctuation. You will have 35 minutes for this test section.


  • Avoid choosing answers that use informal language and slang
  • Allow the process of elimination to help you with tough questions
  • Complete the easiest questions first

Math (No Calculator)

The Math (No Calculator) section of the SAT has 20 questions (comprised of both multiple-choice questions and student-produced responses) that you will have to answer in 25 minutes.


  • Make sure you know key formulas that you will need to know on the test.
  • Answer every question, even if you have to guess
  • If a question takes you longer than a minute to solve, skip it and come back to it later

Math (Calculator Allowed)

The SAT Math (Calculator Allowed) section has 38 questions (these questions are split into multiple-choice questions and student-produced responses). You will have 55 minutes to finish this section of the test.


  • Memorize important math formulas like the quadratic formula and SOHCAHTOA
  • Make sure you bring an acceptable calculator
  • Don’t over-rely on your calculator

Essay (optional)

The SAT Essay is an optional, fifth section of the SAT. For this section of the SAT, you will have 50 minutes to write one essay. Although the SAT Essay is optional, I encourage students to sign up for the SAT with Essay because it is required by some colleges, and it shows admission boards that you are prepared to handle college-level writing.

The SAT Essay prompt will always ask you to read a passage and then analyze the way that the author of the passage creates a persuasive argument.


  • Memorize the prompt beforehand
  • Include an introduction paragraph and a conclusion
  • Write at least 3 pages

When you know which sections are on the SAT, you will be able to start preparing for the SAT. Your next step will be to learn specific strategies, like the tips mentioned above, for each section, so that you have the knowledge and the confidence you will need to tackle each section when you take the test.

That’s where Prep Expert can step in and help.

Prep Expert offers high-quality SAT prep courses that have been proven to improve students’ scores on the SAT. When you take one of these courses, you will learn how to address your weaknesses on each SAT section so that you can earn a higher score. Sign up for a course today when you visit our website.

Prep Expert

Written by Prep Expert

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