There’s been a lot of talk in the test prep world about the redesigned SAT and how much it’s turning into the ACT test. Here’s a SAT guide that will help you understand the test and how it impacts your child’s college application process.

How is the New SAT Structured?

The new SAT test is a three-hour affair (3 hours and 50 minutes if you choose to do the optional essay) testing a student’s understanding of and ability in reading, writing and language, and math with a total of 154 questions.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

SAT Reading Section: 65 minutes for 52 questions

    • Focused on assessment of students’ comprehension and reasoning skills
    • Items contributing to subscores:
      • Words in context
      • Command in evidence
      • Analysis in history/social sciences
      • Analysis in science
      • Passage contents:
        • U.S. and World literature: 1 passage, 10 questions
        • History/Social Studies: 2 passages or 1 passage and 1 pair of passages. 10-11 questions each.
        • Science: 2 passages or 1 passage and 1 pair of passages. 10-11 questions each.
        • 2 passages will include one or two graphics (tables, graphs, charts, etc.)

SAT Writing and language Section: 35 minutes, 44 questions

      • Focused on assessment of students’ revising and editing skills
        • Items contributing to subscores:
          • Expression of ideas
          • Standard English conventions
          • Words in context
          • Command of evidence
          • Analysis in history/social studies
          • Analysis in science
      • Passage contents:
        • Careers: 1 passage, 11 questions.
        • History/Social Studies: 1 passage, 11 questions.
        • Humanities: 1 passage, 11 questions.
        • Science: 1 passage, 11 questions
        • 1 or more graphics in 1 or more sets of questions
      • Text Types:
        • Argument: 1-2 passages
        • Informative/Explanatory: 1-2 passages
        • Nonfiction Narrative: 1 passage

SAT Math Section

Calculator section: 38 questions, 55 minutes

      • 30 multiple choice, 8 grid-in responses
      • Heart of Algebra: 11 questions
      • Problem Solving and Data Analysis: 17 questions
      • Passport to Advanced Math: 7 questions
      • Additional Topics in Math: 3 questions

No calculator section: 20 questions, 25 minutes

      • 15 multiple choice, 5 grid-in responses.
      • Heart of Algebra: 8 questions
      • Passport to Advanced Math: 9 question
      • Additional Topics in Math: 3 questions

SAT Essay Section (optional)

      • Given at the end of the test
      • 50 minutes to write it
      • Focused on assessment of students’ skill in developing a cogent and clear written analysis o