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This chart shows the structure of the New SAT. The section length and the number of questions are explicitly known, so we can calculate an approximate time we get per question. 

Order Section Time (Minutes) Questions Time per question
1 Reading 65 52 75 seconds
2 Writing and Language 35 44 48 seconds
3 Math No Calculator 25 20 75 seconds
4 Math Calculator 55 38 77 seconds
5 Essay (optional) 50 1
Total: 3 hours, 50 minutes (3 hours without essay)

The new SAT presents each topic per section, not divide them into several shorter sections. Math is the only exception, which is divided for the first time into a “Calculator” and a “Non-Calculator” section. The Essay section now comes at the end of the SAT, and is optional. It is not a requirement with a few universities, but se strongly advise that you take it so that the range of universities you apply to can be a broader spectrum.

You get a 5-minute break after about every hour of testing. You get a break after the Reading section and another break after the Math No Calculator section. If you’re opt for the Essay section, you’ll also get a break before you initiate it.

College Board has also become emphatic about what you’ll encounter on each individual section of the SAT. Let’s evaluate each section.

Reading Section:

This section is the longest section of the new SAT, spanning 65 minutes. All Reading questions are passage-based. You’ll answer 10 to 12 questions on each of five passages, for a total of 52 questions. This leaves you with about 1 minute and 15 seconds per question. All of the questions are multiple choice questions and feature four answer choices: A, B, C and D

The subject themes for the sections are kind of pre-determined. You get one passage from US or world literature, two dealing with history and social studies, and two related to science. One or more of these passages will be accompanied by a graphic, such as a table or graph. In fact, you'll encounter tables and graphs in all four sections of the SAT. 

Writing and Language Section Structure

The Writing and Language section is timed at 35 minutes for 44 questions. All of its questions are also passage-based and the answers, though grammatically linked most of the time, are engaged with the content of the passage.

You’ll get 11 questions for each of four passages, for a total of 44 questions on the Writing section, i.e. about 48 seconds to answer each question. All of the Writing questions are multiple choice questions with four answer choices, A, B, C, and D. Since some of the questions expect you to change the word or sentence, many will feature an answer choice (typically choice A) that reads, “No change.”

The passages deal with Careers, Social Studies, Humanities, and Science. All of the Writing passages will be argument-based, explanatory, or nonfiction narratives.

Math No Calculator Section Structure

This 25-minute section asks you 20 questions, and you’re not allowed to use a calculator on any of them. 15 of these questions are multiple choice questions, and the remaining five are “grid-ins,” officially known as student-produced responses.

Time # of Multiple Choice # of Grid-ins
25 minutes 15 (#1-15) 65 (#16-20)

The Math No Calculator section asks questions that fall into three skills areas: 

Content Categories # of Questions Protion of Test
Heart of Algebra 8 40%
Passport to Advanced Math 9 45%
Additional Topics 3 15%

The problem and Data Analysis questions are not encountered here; you will find them in the Math with Calculator section. 

Math With Calculator Section Structure

You can use a calculator throughout this 55-minute section, though not mandatory. College Board needs to test your ability to determine how to use a calculator effectively and when not a requirement. The Math with Calculator is the longer of the two math sections and asks 38 questions, clocking at about 1 minute and 17 seconds per question.

The Math with Calculator section asks 30 multiple choice questions and eight grid-ins. One of the grid-ins will be an Extended Thinking question, which features a word problem or graphic and asks two or more questions about it. Outside of this Extended Thinking question, the math questions won’t relate to one another. As with the Math No Calculator section, the grid-ins will come at the end:

Time # of Multiple Choice # of Grid-ins
55 minutes 30 (#1-30) 8 (#31-38)

The core areas of questions in this topic are described in the table below:

Content Categories # of Questions Protion of Test
Heart of Algebra 11 29%
Passport to Advanced Math 7 18%
Problem Solving and Data Analysis 17 45%
Additional Topics 3 8%

You may leave the centre if you have not opted for the Essay section. If you have opted for the essay section, you will get a 5 minute break before you initiate the Essay. 

Essay Section Structure

The 50-minute essay section puts forth writing an essay based on a 650 to 750-word passage. You’ll be prompted to write a thesis-driven essay in which you analyse the passage’s argument. Here, your prompt will typically give you a summary of the passage’s central argument. Then you’ll be asked to analyse how the author builds his/her argument. 

SAT Score Interpretation:

The new SAT score is on a scale from 400 to 1600: one for Math and one for Reading and Writing combined. The range for both the sections is from 200 to 800.

Your essay is evaluated separately and is assessed by two readers. The scores will be between 2 and 8 for the three assessment areas namely Reading, Analysis and Writing. Thus, a perfect essay score would be 24.

Additionally, you also receive a detailed analysis and summary of your performance through all the sections, highlighting your analytical skills in Science, Evidence and Words in Context. The total is out of 1600.