SAT Format and Test Dates

SAT Format and Test Dates 2018-02-22T11:02:39+00:00

What is the SAT?

The SAT has been redesigned for the first time in eleven years. The SAT test was redesigned in March 2016, while the new PSAT launched in October 2015. The test has been redesigned to more accurately assess student preparedness for the demands of collegiate academics.

SAT Format

The SAT is a 3 hour 50 minute exam (including an optional essay which takes 50 minutes), consisting of five sections: Reading, Writing, Math (with calculator), Math (no calculator), and Essay (optional).

SAT Test Section # of Questions and Types Content Timing

reading & writing

52 standard multiple-choice

44 standard multiple-choice

  • Relevant words in context
    (Reading, Writing)
  • Command of evidence
    (Reading, Writing)
  • Expression of ideas
  • Standard English conventions
100 minutes
One 65-minute section

One 35-minute section


45 standard multiple-choice
13 student-produced response
  • The heart of algebra
  • Passport to advanced math
  • Problem solving & data analysis
80 minutes
One 25-minute section (no calculator)
One 55-minute section (calculator allowed)


1 evidence-based essay
  • Analyzing a source
50 minutes
One 50-minute essay

The SAT is a paper-based test administered at schools and sites around the country on select dates throughout the year. Students are allowed to take the test as many times as they want; most universities will only look at the highest score or the super-score (a combination of the highest sections). However, since the scoring format has changed, schools may tweak their policies accordingly. For more accurate information, please contact individual universities to confirm their score acceptance policy.

SAT Scoring/Guessing Penalty

College Board does not deduct any points for an incorrect question. This means that you should not leave any questions blank on the test. With the sections being longer than before, however, pacing and timing, which your tutor will help you master, are critical.
The SAT scoring model has become more complex, providing a more detailed analysis and breakdown of students’ scores. Area scores, each scored out of 800, are combined to create a composite score for a maximum possible score of 1600. For a more detailed breakdown of what each score means, please see the table below.

Score Type Score Range Details

Composite Score

  • This score is the sum of the two area scores

Area Scores

Evidence-based reading & writing

  • The Evidence-based reading and writing score is the sum
    of the Reading test score and Writing & Language test score

Test Scores

Writing & Language

  • These scores tell you how you performed on individual test sections


(scored separately)

  • The essay is scored in three categories:
    Reading, Analysis, and Writing
  • Each category is scored from 2-8

Cross-Test Scores

History/Social Studies

  • These scores reflect your performance, categorized by the context of each question
  • Questions may span different test sections.


Relevant words in context (R, W&L)
Command of evidence (R, W&L)
Expression of ideas (W&L)
Standard English convention (W&L)
Heart of algebra (M)
Passport to advanced mathematics (M)
Problem solving & data analysis (M)

  • These 7 subscores will tell you how you did on specific question types or content.
  • Some subscores pull questions from multiple tests.

    R – Reading test
    W&L – Writing & Language test
    M – Math test

Order of Difficulty

Only the math section remains in a loosely based order of difficulty for both the multiple choice and student-produced response questions in the Math section. Depending on your performance, your tutor can use order of difficulty to choose the pacing and test-taking strategies that will help you achieve the highest possible score.

SAT Test Dates

College Board has officially released test dates and deadlines for the 2017-2018 year. However, the score release dates below are estimates only.

2017-2018 Test Dates Tests Offered Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Online Score Release
August 26, 2017 SAT & Subject Tests July 28, 2017 August 15, 2017 (online) September 15, 2017
October 7, 2017 SAT & Subject Tests September 8, 2017 September 27, 2017 (online) October 20-26, 2017
November 4, 2017 SAT & Subject Tests October 5, 2017 October 25, 2017 (online) November 17-23, 2017
December 2, 2017 SAT & Subject Tests November 2, 2017 November 21, 2017 (online) December 15-21, 2017
March 10, 2018 SAT Only February 9, 2018 February 28, 2018 (online) March 23-29, 2018
May 5, 2018 SAT & Subject Tests April 6, 2018 April 25, 2018 (online) May 18-24, 2018
June 2, 2018 SAT & Subject Tests May 3, 2018 May 15, 2018 (online) July 11, 2018