How Long Is The SAT With Essay (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4 Hours And 5 Minutes With Breaks

The SAT is a standardized test that measures how well students have learned in school. It is taken by 11th and 12th graders as they prepare to apply to college or university. 

The SAT has four sections: reading, writing and language, Math, and Essay. Each of these tests has different skills and contributes towards the final score for the entire test. One can’t make up any lost time between sections.

A very simple question might take only five minutes to answer, whereas a more complex one could require up to forty-five minutes.

How Long Is The SAT With Essay

How Long Is The SAT With Essay?

SAT ExamDuration
SAT Exam without essay3 hour and 15 minutes
SAT Exam with essay4 hours and 5 minutes

The Sat is not known for its leniency on essay writing, but it falls about mid-range for test length. For example, the SAT takes three hours and fifteen minutes to complete, compared with ACT’s three hours. Bottom line: if one is taking the SAT or ACT, be aware of how much time is left once they finish reading instructions to avoid running out of time.

The SAT changed to an 800-1600 scale a few years back, but it is still much longer than its equivalent test for international study abroad students.

The experimental section on the new SAT lasts about 25 minutes and each of the four ten-minute sections that comprise it consists of three questions worth 10 points apiece. On older versions of the exam, this would equate to 30 minutes of testing time with 15 questions, all of which were worth 10 points apiece.

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The SAT has also been broadened to include nearly every subject area under college readiness. English and math will be weighted heavier than one might expect from pure math or science-oriented exam and it no longer has any penalty for guessing on individual questions.

There are three breaks.

The first break is after every other section. The second break is around the halfway point of the test and lasts 30-40 minutes. The third break is given during the last full hour of the exam. 

Why Would SAT With Essay Take So Long?

Testing on new SAT with Essay format is set to culminate in the release of an operational SAT assessment, while ETS will continue to develop, validate, and refine assessments. 

The SAT is a standardized test that measures skills in English, Mathematics, and Reading. The mathematics section contains three problems: mathematical operations (alpha) and word problems (beta). They also include the standard questions with exceptions and unusual answer choices.

The reading section will be decided based on expertise in language arts with diverse passages from American Literature, World Literature, and College-level reading materials. On this component, one can most likely find an article or selection that is taken from newspapers or magazines”. 

Additionally, it will measure how well one can comprehend textual material by responding to various comprehension questions regarding short selections passages. Generally, they allocate 20 minutes for the entire reading.

It’s important to remember that these breaks are not officially scheduled. If one finishes a section early, it could be possible to take their scheduled break. Depending on how much time remains in the testing time allotment, it is possible not to take one.

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The SAT without an essay takes 3 hours and 15 minutes, including the breaks. Usually, taking the test with essays takes 50 extra minutes. 

The registration process with the SAT essay is simple and easy.  There are ways to make answering questions much quicker and easier than they would be otherwise.

Many recommend taking the test with an essay to get a neat score and get a chance to apply to favorite colleges. 


The SAT is important for two main reasons. First, it will help prove that one can perform at a college level, which can make admissions staff more receptive to a student’s application. 

Second, the SAT is more of an objective personality test than any other test on the market right now, so schools know what they are getting in a student with certain tendencies and traits.

The SAT is one of just three nationally recognized aptitude tests – Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), American College Testing Program Assessment (ACT) Exam, National Assessment of Educational Progress Reading Assessments – accepted by all four-year institutions without reservation. 



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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