How Many Sections and The Question Does The SAT Have?

Sep 9, 2022 | Turito Team USA

Before appearing for any exam, it is better to know the format and content quality in advance. You should know what to expect on the SAT to manage your time efficiently.

If you plan to appear for the SAT exam soon, you must be wondering where to start. Besides knowing what guides and books to consider and sticking to a schedule, you need to know about the format and question patterns first to be familiar with the official exam. In this article, you will find satisfactory answers to the questions like how many questions are on the SAT, how many points each question is worth on the SAT, etc. 

Considering the different sections of the SAT, we will break them down for you to understand better. 

How Many Sections and The Question Does The SAT Have?

The SAT exam has 154 questions with three major sections: Evidence-Based Reading, Writing & Language, and Math.

  • The Reading section consists of 52 multiple choice questions with five different reading passages. 
  • The Writing & Language section consists of 44 multiple choice questions across four different passage sets. 
  • The Math section consists of 45 multiple choice questions and 13 grid-in questions with a composite sum of 58 questions in total that a calculator, and a no calculator subsection. 

Other than these, an essay section is optional and available in states where it is mandatory to include in the school curriculum. 

What Is The SAT Time-Frame?

The College Board doesn’t consider the essay section and is planning to discontinue it. The SAT is examined in the order of Reading, Writing & Language, Math ( with a calculator), and Math ( No calculator ). 

The time frame for the entire SAT exam is three hours with no breaks. However, there are a couple of breaks between the sections, 10 minutes after the reading section and 5 minutes between the two match sections. This 180 minutes time frame is made up of Reading (65 minutes), Writing & Language ( 35 minutes), and Math ( 80 minutes). The Math section has two subsections, with 55 minutes for a calculator and 25 minutes for no calculator. 

How Many Questions Are There On The SAT? 

To make it convenient for you, we have a breakdown of each section of the SAT. 

  • Reading

As stated earlier, the reading section has five passages with ten questions that relate to the particular passage. The five passages include classic or contemporary pieces of literature, social science, historical passage, and two passages of physical science. Social science focuses on sociological, economic, and psychological aspects. The historical focus is on the US founding document or the Great Global conversation text. 

The science passages examine foundational notions or progression in biology, physics, chemistry, and earth science. This section has a total of 52 questions within 65 minutes.

  • Writing & Language

The Writing section focused on identifying and fixing the mistakes in the passages. It includes all multiple choice questions to answer. The Writing test examines your language skills but doesn’t mean you need to be familiar with the topics of the written passages. The section will test your language skills based on words in context, including command of evidence, ideas expression, standard English conversions, and history and science analysis. This section has 44 multiple choice sections, allowing 35 minutes to answer them. 

Considering the time frame against the questions, it is apparent that you need to emphasize this section and get better at the language skills. This section consists of questions and talks about argumentative claims and details that back the passage. It also has the style and tone of the text, questions related to grammatical structure, subject-verb agreement, punctuation, use of commas, etc. 

  • Math

As mentioned above, the Math section has two sub-section: with calculators and without calculators. You can access the calculator only with the calculator section, and using it might help you save time. Also, the math section is not entirely multiple choice. 22 percent of the math section has a grid in questions that are like fill-in-the-blank only. This section has 58 questions and allows you 80 minutes to answer them. 

The math curriculum focuses on algebra, including linear equations and systems, advanced math, complex geometry, trigonometry questions, problem-solving and data analysis, world problems, and quantitative literature.

How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong In The SAT?

Although each section’s score can vary, the standard score range you can expect relies on the number of questions you rightly answer in each section.

In the Reading, Writing & Language section, your combined score will be 780 if you miss answering one question on both the reading and Writing & Language parts. At the same time, missing ten questions on both subsections will fetch you a score range of 640-660. And the range will drop down to 530-550 if you miss 20 questions on both subsections. 

In the math section, you will get a score of 800 if you answer 0-1 questions wrong. Your score will be 790 if you miss answers 1-3 questions, whereas missing ten questions will get you the range from 680-710; if you miss 20 questions, it will drop down to 600. 

On a large spectrum, if you miss answering 20 questions on math and each subsection of Reading, Writing & Language, you will still have a competitive score of around 1130-1150, which ranks around 67 percent nationally. That means you will still score better than 67 percent of the aspirants appearing for the SAT. 

However, for the students who aspire to extremely prominent colleges to consider their application, they need to minimize the number of missed questions. We suggest you attempt every question and guess the answer to those questions you are unsure about. 


If you need to understand the scoring concept better, it is better to look at your percentile to know how well you perform against your targeted colleges. The College Board’s official site will provide you with a score report to better understand the type and number of questions you missed about the respective math, reading, writing & language sections of the SAT.

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