What is the format of the SAT? What is the format of the ACT?


SAT Format

The SAT is 3 hours long with an optional 50-minute essay section. The test format is as follows:



  • Reading Test: 65 minutes to answer 52 multiple-choice questions based on four passages and one passage pair

  • Writing & Language Test: 35 minutes to answer 44 multiple-choice questions based on four passages

  • Math Test: 25 minutes to answer 20 questions without a calculator, 55 minutes to answer 38 questions with a calculator

  • Essay (Optional): 50 minutes to read a passage and write 1 essay on how the passage author supports his or her argument


The SAT is scored out of 1600. Your total score is a combination of your section scores for the Reading/Writing and Mathematics sections. Each section is scored out of 800. The optional essay is scored by two graders each grading on a scale of 1-4 points for reading, analysis, and writing.




ACT Format

The ACT® contains multiple-choice tests in four areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. ACT's writing test is optional and will not affect your composite score. The test format is as follows:

  • English Test: 45 minutes to answer 75 multiple-choice questions based on five essays, or passages

  • Math Test: 60 minutes to answer 60 questions with a calculator

  • Reading Test: 40 minutes to answer 35 multiple-choice questions from three long prose passage and two shorter prose passages

  • Science Test: 40 minutes to answer 35 multiple-choice questions based on several authentic scientific scenarios

  • Writing (Optional): 40 minutes to read a passage and write 1 essay to develop your own perspective on an issue that you analyze



​The number of correct answers converts to a score that ranges from 1 to 36 for each of the four tests—and your composite score is the average of those.


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