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SAT Timing

SAT Timing

There are four multiple choice sections on the Redesigned SAT test, which will appear in the same order on every test. The multiple-choice portion of the test lasts 3 hours, not including breaks:

  • Reading Test – 65 minutes, 52 questions
  • Writing and Language Test – 35 minutes, 44 questions
  • Math Test, No Calculator – 25 minutes, 20 questions
  • Math Test, Calculator – 55 minutes, 38 questions

    • Following the four multiple choice sections, students who have registered to take the test with the optional essay will complete a 50 minute essay. Students must decide if they are taking the test with or without the essay when they register and cannot switch on test day. The SAT with essay lasts 3 hours, 50 minutes, not including breaks.


      GLC’s Tips on Handling SAT Timing

      DO take practice tests in a timed environment.
      Students often perform much differently on SAT questions than they would in isolation since it’s hard to maintain energy during a long test. Timed diagnostics should be just as much a part of test preparation as content review and practicing strategies.

      DO wear a watch.
      Try to keep yourself on a consistent pace of about one question per minute.

      DON’T spend too much time on any one question.
      Move on if you’ve spent about a minute on a question and still aren’t close to the answer.

      DON’T lose steam.
      Take advantage of the short breaks between sections to mentally reset and prepare for the section ahead.


      GLC’s Approach to SAT Timing

      Whether a student gets straight A’s in high school or struggles in class, SAT timing is an almost universal concern because the of the test’s fast pace and imposing length. This is why GLC’s SAT program emphasizes three of the most effective ways for students to make the most of their time on the SAT and answer as many questions correctly as possible.


      Time-Saving Strategies

      The SAT has long had a reputation for being tailored to “good test takers”. While that sentiment simplifies the test quite a bit, there is a degree of truth because students who know how to recognize and take advantage of shortcuts can save time and answer more questions correctly on the SAT. That’s why our SAT classes emphasize time-saving strategies like that allow students to “backsolve” tough math problems and use “active skimming” techniques to digest reading passages. We equip our students with the strategic know-how that helps save time and energy on this marathon of a test.


      Fundamental Content

      Many students—even those who have prepared for the test—struggle with timing for a simple reason: they are shaky on the fundamental concepts tested on the SAT. While it’s true that there are dozens of different topics included on the SAT, most questions focus on a relatively small number of essential concepts. The Writing and Language test, for example, tests many grammatical topics, but tends to focus on just a few main concepts like subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, and parallelism. Our curriculum covers all the material tested on the SAT, but it doesn’t spend unnecessary time focusing on obscure rules that might only be tested once—or not at all. Instead, we make sure our students feel confident with the fundamental reading, math, and writing skills that apply to the vast majority of the SAT’s content.


      Stamina-Building Opportunities

      Strategy and subject matter are important for proper SAT timing, but they don’t get the job done by themselves. Hardly any students are used to testing for four hours at a time, let alone first thing on a Saturday morning. They need practice opportunities that mimic the unique and challenging test environment to get fully comfortable with the SAT. Our SAT program includes regular proctored, full-length practice tests held on Saturday mornings and designed to give students an authentic opportunity to build testing stamina and gain confidence in their abilities.


      GLC’s SAT Prep Programs get results, and since 1998 we’ve helped over 5,000 students Northern Virginia and Charlottesville improve their SAT scores! Click the button below to learn more about our programs, view class schedules, or register for SAT Prep.


      SAT Success at GLC!

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