How Long Does it Take to Finish the SAT?

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If you suffer from test anxiety, exams like the SAT can be highly frustrating for you to deal with. For one, the time constraints of high-stakes exams can bring out the best or the worst in a person. Although you may have thoroughly prepared for the exam by taking practice exams, it still can’t prepare you for the real thing. You may have even had the luxury of taking a mock exam that simulates the actual exam and provides you with a hypothetical score. However, you still won’t be prepared.

There is something about the time pressure of the exam that makes it difficult for people to succeed on it. Also, you have to remember that students are given more time to take exams in high school. Then they find out that they will have less than one minute to answer each question on the SAT. Talk about nerve-wracking.

How Long Does the SAT Take?

The SAT lasts 3 hours (3 hours and 15 minutes with breaks). If you register for the optional essay, the SAT takes 3 hours and 50 minutes to finish (4 hours, 5 minutes with breaks).

SAT Test Length by Section

You are probably asking yourself, how are those 3 hours broken up by section? Here’s what your SAT test day schedule looks like:

SECTIONTIMENUMBER OF QUESTIONS
Reading65 min52
Writing and Language35 min44
Math80 min58
Essay (optional)50 min1
TOTAL180 min
(230 min with Essay)
154 + 1 Essay (optional)

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