How Long Does The SAT Take? Find Out Here!

How Long Does The SAT Take? Find Out Here!

November 10, 2021
how long does the SAT take

The SAT is a college entrance exam that most universities and colleges use to determine admissions. The College Board devised and administers the SAT, a pencil-and-paper test that uses multiple choice questions. The goal of the SAT is to assess a high school student’s college preparation and give universities a single point of comparison for all candidates. 

Standardized test scores are evaluated by college admissions staff, together with classes taken in high school, high school GPA, letters of recommendation from mentors and teachers, extracurriculars, admission interviews, as well as personal essays. Using this information, they decide who will be admitted to their school and who will not.

Few elements are as critical as time when it comes to the SAT. You’ll want to give a lot of attention to the time when sitting for your SAT since how you manage your time during the test can have a big impact on how you perform. In this article, we’ll go over how long the SAT takes, as well as some time management tips for the SAT.

How Long Does The SAT Take?

When you’re actually taking the SAT, it might seem like it lasts an eternity. However, the test is actually only three hours long. 

The SAT covers three different testing areas: writing and language, reading, and math. There are 52 multiple-choice questions in the 65-minute reading part, and 44 multiple-choice questions in the 35-minute writing and language section. There are 58 questions in the 80-minute math section,13 of which require a student-produced response and 45 of which are multiple-choice. The SAT previously had an optional essay that took an additional 50 minutes to complete, but that is no longer part of the test. 

What Time Does The SAT Start?

The SAT exam usually begins between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. Because it is a national standardized test given by the college board, individuals will not be permitted to access the examination room once the test has begun.

The actual starting time may vary slightly from one testing center to the next depending on the number of students who have completed their registration for that particular testing center.

What Time Do You Need To Arrive For The SAT

When it comes to the day you are sitting for your SAT, punctuality is essential. You cannot get access to the testing center if you get there late, so be sure you arrive on time. 

The SAT always starts between 8:30 and 9am, regardless of the time zone you are in. This makes it easier for you to plan in advance since the check-in time is always the same. According to the United States College Board, you should be at your testing center no later than 7:45am. 

However, it’s a good idea to arrive even earlier to compensate for long lines or registration holdups. To be safe, it is best that you arrive by 7:30am. to minimize any last-minute rushing that could cause tension.

What Time Does The SAT End?

Although there is no exact starting time, timing becomes highly rigorous after the test begins. Without the optional essay, the exam takes three hours, without counting break times. 

Keep in mind that the start time of the test varies from one location to the next, and this will decide when exactly your test will conclude. Given 15 minutes of breaks and a few minutes for reviewing instructions between each part, you should complete the SAT between 11:45am and 12:30pm.

Techniques for SAT Time Management

Now that you know how long the SAT takes, here are some strategies to help you perform better:

  • Prior to taking the test, make sure you understand the guidelines and structure. This way, on exam day, when time will be of the essence, you won’t waste time getting familiar with the test.
  • Have a watch with you. You won’t be permitted to use your cell phone when taking the test, so keeping a watch on hand will make it easier for you to keep time.
  • It’s all about practice. Do a lot of practice tests while adhering to the same time limits as you will on the test. You’ll feel more at ease with the main examination if you practice using the same time restrictions.
  • For challenging questions, make use of the two-pass technique, which entails answering the easy questions first and then returning to the more complicated ones after. Skip the tough questions and mark them for answering later.
  • If you have absolutely no idea what the answer to a question might be, just guess. You will not lose points for guessing because there is no penalty for this. Since the frequency of answers is relatively distributed evenly, it would be a good idea to use a similar letter for responses that involve blind guessing, as you’ll be correct approximately 25% of the time.

What To Do If You Realize You’re Running Out Of Time In The SAT

If you realize that you are running out of time during the test, ensure that you’ve answered  all the questions you can easily answer first. If you truly have no idea what the response to a question is as you move forward, guess right away. If you can rule out one or more options, write down a probable answer. If the question is difficult, mark it to come back and answer it later.

Make note of the questions you skip. If you fail to do this, you risk incorrectly completing your answer sheet, which will end up producing devastating results. Keep an eye on the timers, and as the test draws to a close, go back to the questions you skipped and guess answers. 

If you truly don’t know the answer to a question, just guess. Remember to use the same letter for your guesses because doing this gives you a 25% better chance of getting the answer right than selecting a new letter every time.


The SAT can be difficult and tedious, and sitting at a testing facility isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Nevertheless, the SAT is necessary for most college and unitveristy applications. Your score can even help you get financial aid or make it easier for you to get a job. 

Now that you know how long it takes to take the SAT, and some tips for managing your time, you can focusing on studying for the exam and doing your best!

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