SAT is a standardized test designed to test critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to analyze and solve problems in math, critical reading, and writing. The SAT score is used by many universities and colleges consider when making their admission decisions alongside high school grades.

SAT consists of three major sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Each section receives a score on the scale of 200–800. All scores are multiples of 10. Total scores are calculated by adding up scores of the three sections. Each major section is divided into three parts. There are 10 sub-sections, including an additional 25-minute experimental or "equating" section that may be in any of the three major sections. The experimental section is used to normalize questions for future administrations of the SAT and does not count toward the final score. The test contains 3 hours and 45 minutes of actual timed sections; most administrations (after accounting for orientation, distribution of materials, completion of biographical sections, and fifteen minutes of timed breaks) run for about four and a half hours. The questions range from easy, medium, and hard depending on the scoring from the experimental sections. Easier questions typically appear closer to the beginning of the section while harder questions are toward the end in certain sections. This is not true for every section (the Critical Reading section is in chronological order) but it is the rule of thumb mainly for math, grammar, and the 19 sentence-completions in the reading sections.

SectionsTimeNumber of QuestionsConcentrated Focus on
Mathematics80 minutes (55 minutes with calculator + 25 minutes without calculator)58Problem-solving and data analysis; "The Heart of Algebra"; "Passport to Advanced Math";Real-world problem solving accompanied by informational graphics
Critical Reading65 minutes521 Evidence-Based Reading to test understanding of U.S. and World Literature
Writing and Language44 minutes44"Expression of Ideas" and "Standard English Conventions" through passages relating to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities, and Science
Essay (Optional)50 minutes1Reading, analysis, and writing skills; requires students to analyze a source document and explain how the author builds an argument

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