When you take the Scholastic Assessment Test, known as the SAT, you need to allow for drive time, traffic, parking and check-in, in addition to the actual testing time. Depending on whether you're taking the general SAT test or SAT subject tests, your testing time will vary. You can't take the general SAT test and subject tests on the same day.
Total Test Length
You have 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the SAT, not including short breaks between test sections, according to the official SAT website, CollegeBoard.org. Most SAT test locations recommend arriving around 7:45 a.m. so you have time to check-in and find a seat. The test should be finished between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m., depending on how long breaks last and how quickly the proctor gives instructions and transitions between test sections. If you arrive after the doors close, you won't be allowed to enter.
The SAT test has three graded sections -- writing, reading and math -- that are broken down into nine smaller sections. You have 25 minutes to complete the essay question, 25 minutes for one writing multiple-choice section and 10 minutes for the other. The critical reading test is all multiple choice and has two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. The math test requires both multiple-choice and student-produced answers and also has two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section, according to CollegeBoard.org.
Variable Unscored Section
Every SAT test, excluding SAT subject tests, has one variable test section that isn't scored. This section helps test writers, administrators and staff determine which questions are best suited for future SAT tests. The unscored section could be in any of the content areas, but you won't be able to tell which test is scored, and which one isn't. As a result, you must put just as much effort into each test section. The variable section doesn't count toward your final score and lasts 25 minutes, according to CollegeBoard.org.
SAT Subject Tests
There are 20 SAT subject tests in five main areas -- English, history, science, languages and math. Not all college-bound students take SAT subject tests and many colleges don't require them, so evaluate your college plans and talk to your high-school guidance counselor or the college admissions office where you plan to attend to see if subject tests are required or recommended. You have 60 minutes to complete each SAT subject test and might have to take them in multiple settings on different days if you plan to take more than one, according to CollegeBoard.org.
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