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The SAT I has 7 sections, with 3 math sections and 3 verbal sections, plus a "wild card" section of either math or verbal. Even though the wild card section doesn't count toward your score, you have no way to know which section the wild card is, so you must do your best on all the seven sections.

Each section is timed to take either 15 or 30 minutes. The whole test will take you three hours to complete. The following table gives you an idea of what to expect, though the actual order of sections can vary.

Section# of QuestionsTime
1.Verbal Reasoning30 or 3130 min.
Sentence Completions9
Critical Reading15
2.Mathematical Reasoning2530 min.
Standard Multiple-Choice
3.Verbal Reasoning35 or 3630 min.
Sentence Completions10
Critical Reading12
4.Mathematical Reasoning2530 min.
Quantitative Comparisons15
5.Wild Card Sectionvaries30 min.
6.Verbal Reasoning12 or 1315 min.
Critical Reading
7.Mathematical Reasoning1015 min.
Standard Multiple-Choice

Except for the Critical Reading problems, the questions are designed to get rougher as you work through a set. The charts below are typical examples of the patterns of math questions.

As you work, you should always be aware of where you are in the set. When working on the easy problems, you can generally trust your first impulse - the obvious answer tends to be right. As you get to the end of the set, you need to become more suspicious about your answer because they probably won't come easy. If they do, look at the problem again, because the obvious answer tends to be wrong.

To move through the test efficiently, you are allowed to skip around within each section. Do not spend too much time on any one question, even a hard one, until you've tried every question at least once.

There are some rules about how you can and can't allocate your test time:

  • You are not allowed to jump back and forth between sections.
  • You are not allowed to return to earlier sections to change answers.
  • You are not allowed to spend more than the allotted time on any section.
  • You can move around within a section.
  • You can flip through your section at the beginning to see what type of questions you have.