Redesigned SAT Test Format

What's Does the Redesigned SAT Look Like Now?

SAT test design
Getty Images | Michelle Joyce


The Redesigned SAT test is more than just one giant exam. It is a compilation of smaller, timed segments that are subdivided by subject matter. Think of the test more like a novel with a few chapters. Just as it would be really difficult to read an entire book without having any stopping points, it would be difficult to take the SAT as one lengthy exam. Hence, the College Board decided to break it up into test sections. 

Redesigned SAT Test Scoring

Both the "Evidence-Based Reading and Writing" section and the Mathematics section are worth between 200 - 800 points, which is similar to the old SAT scoring system. Your composite score will land somewhere between 400 - 1600 on the exam. If you are anything like most of the country, your average composite score will be right around a 1090. 

Need more details? Check out the Old SAT vs. Redesigned SAT Chart. 

Redesigned SAT Format

Section Time Questions Skills Tested
Evidence-Based Reading 65 minutes
Broken into four passages and one pair of passages from literature, historical documents, social sciences, and natural sciences.

52 multiple choice questions

Reading closely, Citing contextual evidence, Determining central ideas and themes, Summarizing, Understanding relationships, Interpreting words and phrases in context, Analyzing word choice, purpose, point of view, and argument. Analyzing quantitative information and multiple texts.
Mathematics 80 minutes
Broken into Calculator and a No-Calculator sections
58 multiple choice questions and one section of grid-in questions Linear equations and systems of linear equations,Ratios, proportional relationships, percentages, and units, Probabilities, Algebraic expressions, Quadratic and other nonlinear equations, Creating, using, and graphing exponential, quadratic, and other nonlinear functions, Solving problems related to area and volume, Applying definitions and theorems related to lines, angles, triangles, and circles, Working with right triangles, the unit circle, and trigonometric functions
Writing and Language 35 minutes
Broken up into four passages from careers, history/social studies, humanities and science
44 multiple choice questions

Development of ideas, Organization, Effective language use, Sentence structure, Conventions of usage, Conventions of punctuation

Optional Essay 50 minutes 1 prompt that asks the reader to analyze the author's argument Comprehension of source text, Analysis of source text, Evaluation of the author’s use of evidence, Support for claims or points made in the response, Focus on features of the text most relevant to addressing the task, Use of organization, varied sentence structure, precise word choice, consistent style and tone, and conventions


Things You Need to Know About the Redesigned SAT

  • Rather than memorizing list after list of words you may never see or hear again, you simply will need to understand applicable, appropriate, and usable vocabulary in a passage of text based on the context in which the words are situated. Vocabulary is much easier on the Redesigned SAT than it was in the past. 
  • You will need to be able to interpret, draw conclusions from, and use any text you're given whether it's an infographic, a multi-paragraph passage from literature, or even a career-related passage. What might this look like? Perhaps you will need to analyze a series of paragraphs to make sure they are grammatically and contextually correct or pair the information conveyed through a graphic with a passage to find the best answer.
  • Although the SAT Essay is optional, most students will end up taking it. And if you do, then you will need to be able to read a passage, pick apart an author's argument, then clearly analyze the author's stylistic choices, logic, and evidence in your own essay. The essay is not simply one of those "What do you think?" types of essays!
  • You will be asked to solve multi-step problems in science, social science, career scenarios, and other real-life contexts. You will also be asked to read a scenario presented in text form, then answer questions about it, then model it mathematically. 
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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "Redesigned SAT Test Format." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Roell, Kelly. (2021, February 16). Redesigned SAT Test Format. Retrieved from Roell, Kelly. "Redesigned SAT Test Format." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).