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SAT Section 5 Explanation In Brief

Oct 6, 2022

Every year, during the SAT exam, the College Board randomly selects a group of students and takes them through a 20 minutes experimental SAT section. This section is generally termed the 5th section of SAT.

The questions in this section are right after the SAT Mathematics Calculator portion. Although previous experiences hinted that the 5th section of SAT contains some multiple choice questions, it is the utmost important section to be attempted.


If you are going to attempt the SAT and have the same question, ‘does section 5 on the SAT count?’, this article serves you the best. You must scrutinize this article till the end to know the answer to this question.

Looking to score high in SAT Section 5? Turito Academy is your ultimate guide. This blog offers valuable insights and strategies to excel in this challenging section. With Turito’s expert guidance and personalized coaching, you can confidently tackle SAT and achieve outstanding results. Visit Turito Academy website now to embark on your journey towards SAT success!


SAT Sections

Before attempting the SAT, it is a wise strategy to know about the sections of the SAT exam. The College Board administers SATs every year. The SAT is divided into five sections.

  • Section 1: SAT Evidence-Based Reading
  • Section 2: SAT Writing & Language
  • Section 3: SAT Mathematics No-Calculator
  • Section 4: SAT Mathematics Calculator
  • Section 5: SAT Experimental (optional)

The total SAT score will be calculated as the sum of the Verbal and Mathematics scores.


The scores of Section 1: SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Section 2: SAT Writing & Language will be counted under the Verbal score part. While scores for Section 3: SAT Mathematics No-Calculator and Section 4: SAT Mathematics Calculator will be counted under the Mathematics score part.

The questions under Section 5 SAT are not computed for students’ scores. These questions can appear in any section. The questions under Section 5 SAT will be regular and pretest types.


Does Section 5 on the SAT Count?

The 5th section of SAT comprises questions that could be used on future exams. It is the only reliable method for the College Board to test questions to ensure there are no compositional errors and to determine the relative difficulty of the questions.

Unlike previous SAT exam patterns, the College Board has changed the 5th section of SAT in the last few years. This section is designed to test the real potential of the students. Although the score of this section does not count in the SAT final scores, it is an important section, as per the admission committee.


It is hard to guess section 5 SAT for students until they check its questions with their peers. To check the real potential of the applicants, the College Board set up this section 5 SAT. It is easy for candidates to evade other sections, but when you are unaware of the questions, how will you cheat them?

The College Board is in a tricky position because it needs to produce consistent and accurate questions. But to do so, it needs to test those questions on hundreds of students.


What Is Section 5 of SAT All About?

This question is often searched by students who take SAT exams. Once in 2019, the College Board announced a statement regarding the 5th section of SAT. As per the College Board’s announcement to evaluate students’ scores, there will be extra questions in the exam paper. These questions can appear in any section.

Students will be allotted some extra time to answer these extra questions. The College Board includes section 5, i.e., SAT Experimental Section, with some regular and pretest questions. It would be assigned randomly to students taking the SAT.


This section is a 20 minutes question section, i.e., you will have 20 extra minutes to answer the questions in section 5. All the questions from this experimental section will be based on aptitude or intelligence. Moreover, the official SAT includes that the score will not sum up your SAT score sent to universities and colleges.

All questions in section 5 will be focused on Writing and Language, Reading Comprehension, or Mathematics. This section is used to measure the ability of students in terms of difficulty and scope. The main aim of designing this section is to make the test more fair and balanced for the students.

It is obvious for students to panic as there is no disclosure about this section from the officials of the College Board yet. Moreover, the questions of this section of SAT tend to be contrasting. Sometimes they may be easy, and sometimes they may be hard. Some records show that the questions may be more demanding than the usual SAT exam. In contrast, some previous tests show that the questions require a divergent viewpoint that students are unfamiliar with.

Even inexperienced students can tell that this section differs from other SAT sections. But how it is different is hard to say.

How to Prepare for This Potential Section?

The College Board hinted that this section is only to judge the ability of students to answer the questions based on their intelligence. So, having bookish knowledge for this section is not only the solution to get success in this section. It will be best if you prepare some other things also.

Some of the points that can help you with your preparation for this potential section are

1. Build your test-taking stamina:

The questions in this section will be allotted to random students. If you are one of the among, you will get 20 more minutes to answer this section. Other than this, you have already been in the exam hall for the last 3 hours to attempt other sections. So, it is important to build your test-taking stamina as you have to sit in the exam hall for 3 hours and 20 minutes. Lacking stamina can sacrifice your performance in the other sections.

2. Familiarize yourself with the test material and its scope:

If you are not aware of the presence of section 5 of SAT, it is normal to panic during a test. As a result, you will be unaware of its difficulty level also. Hence, students start to prepare random stuff for it. So, it is better to focus on the other sections and study some aptitude-based questions for this section. This way, you will accustom yourself to the test material and, while practicing, learn about the test scope.

3. Aim to attempt all sections:

According to the College Board, the experimental section is set up to stop students from cheating during the exam. If you complete the rest of the SAT and leave section 5, you will be suspected of foul play. So, do not leave the experimental section unsolved. Aiming at all sections rather than leaving this mysterious section is better.

What Is the History of Section 5?

Recently, a new section, i.e., the experimental section, has been added to the SAT exam. It happened in 2016 when SAT was redesigned. This section is given to all those students who do not take the Essay section. However, after 2019, it becomes mandatory for section 5 to appear on the test.

The College Board added this section to check out new test questions on candidates to ease, gauge fairness, or difficulty. You can use your experience and data from this section during your attempt to get more fair and balanced outcomes.

What Precisely Is the Experimental Section in SAT?

The College Board has kept this section a mystery for everyone. Hence, information about this section is vague. 

According to the previous SAT and SAT Subject Tests Supervisors, section 5 contains some regular and pretest questions. This section is a 20 minutes section to answer all the questions by all standard SAT takers. However, certain administrators assess this section at some centers once in a while.

When should section 5 be added to the SAT, and on what centers? The Standard Testing Room Manual informs it. The questions of this section can be related to Mathematics, Essay-Based Reading type, Language-based, Writing type, or any other type. Before providing questions for section 5, a short break is given to students. Usually, this section appears after the Mathematics Calculator section.

In Brief

Although the College Board has kept the information about section 5 SAT intentionally vague since redesigning the SAT in 2016, you cannot neglect the importance of this section. The SAT Experimental and SAT Essay sections contain some questions that are not to compute students’ scores.

Additionally, the content covered in this 5th section of SAT can vary widely from test to test. Though there will be a few chances to face section 5 in your SAT, it is wise to strive for it. So, it will be best if you get ready that there is section number 5 on your SAT paper. You will have to answer its questions, which counts in making your profile. Therefore, you should treat it as seriously as the rest of the test.

Hence, it is better to attempt it with the proper practice rather than leave it un attempted.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there any effects of Section 5 on the SAT preparations?

 A. Though it seems unlikely that Section 5 will affect your score, it is not outside the realm of possibility. You            can get success in the SAT if you continue your diligent test preparations and take every question on your                exam seriously.

2. Does every SAT have section 5?

        A. No. It occasionally happens to face section 5 SAT in your attempt. The College Board randomly selects a                    group of students to attend this section. So, it is hard to guess whether your exam contains this section.                    However, you do not need to freak out with this section as the scores of this section do not compute your                  total SAT scores.

3. What is the 5th section of SAT all about?

         A. Most students fear the 5th section of SAT as it has not mentioned any test preparations; what is section 5          all about? The College Board has intentionally made it suspenseful for the students. The College Board uses            this section to test question language, philosophies, answer choices, and other fields to check students’                      potential.

SAT Sections


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