The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is an iconic standardized exam used in the college admissions process. It covers three main sections – reading, writing, and math – and is designed to measure a student’s academic readiness for college. While many students are familiar with the format and content of the SAT, there is often confusion surrounding the length of time allotted for each section. In particular, the writing section can be a source of uncertainty for test-takers. In this article, we will delve into the details of the SAT writing section and answer the question: what is the length of the SAT writing section?

What is the length of the SAT writing section?

The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is a standardized college admissions exam that is used by many universities in the United States to assess a student’s readiness for higher education. The test consists of three main sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math, along with an optional essay. Each section is timed and has a specific set of questions that students must answer within the allotted time. In this article, we will focus specifically on the length of the SAT writing section and how much time students have to complete it.

Duration of the SAT Writing Section

The SAT writing section is 35 minutes long, making it the shortest section on the exam. This section is designed to assess a student’s writing skills, including grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. It is also the only section on the SAT where students are asked to produce their own written responses rather than choosing from multiple choice options.

Within the 35 minutes, students are required to complete one essay prompt and 44 multiple-choice questions. The essay portion, which is optional, adds an additional 50 minutes to the overall testing time. This means that students who choose to take the essay portion will have a total of 85 minutes to complete the entire writing section.

It is important to note that the time provided for the writing section is strictly enforced, and students are not allowed to go over the allotted time. This means that effective time management is crucial for success on this section of the exam.

Effective Time Management for the SAT Writing Section

As mentioned earlier, time management plays a significant role in a student’s performance on the writing section of the SAT. With only 35 minutes to complete 44 multiple-choice questions and write an essay, students must learn how to effectively manage their time to ensure they have enough time to answer all the questions and write a well-structured essay.

Here are some tips for managing time on the SAT writing section:

  • Practice, Practice, Practice – The more practice tests you take, the better you will become at managing your time. Time yourself when taking practice tests to get a sense of how long it takes you to read and answer each question, as well as write an essay.
  • Read the Directions Carefully – It may seem obvious, but many students often miss important instructions in their haste to start answering the questions. Make sure to read and understand all the directions before beginning any section.
  • Answer the Easiest Questions First – When you first start the writing section, go through the multiple-choice questions and answer the ones that you know for sure right away. This will help you build some momentum and confidence for the rest of the section.
  • Don’t Spend Too Much Time on One Question – If you come across a question that you are having trouble with, don’t dwell on it for too long. Mark it and move on to the next one. You can always come back to it if you have time leftover.
  • Spend Time Planning Your Essay – Before jumping into writing your essay, take a few minutes to plan out your response. This will help you save time later and ensure that your essay has a clear and organized structure.

By following these tips, students can effectively manage their time and maximize their performance on the SAT writing section.

How Many Minutes is the SAT Writing Section?

The SAT writing section is 35 minutes long, but with the optional essay, students will have a total of 85 minutes to complete the section. This may seem like a short amount of time, but with proper preparation and time management skills, students can be successful on this section of the exam.

Another important factor to consider is that the SAT is not just a test of knowledge, but also a test of endurance and mental stamina. The ability to stay focused and manage time under pressure is essential for performing well on the SAT.


The writing section of the SAT is a critical component of the exam, assessing a student’s writing skills and ability to manage time effectively. With only 35 minutes to answer multiple-choice questions and write an essay, proper time management is key to success. By practicing and implementing effective time management strategies, students can confidently approach the SAT writing section and achieve their desired score.

For more tips on managing time during exams, check out this article on how to effectively manage mobile phones in the classroom.

In conclusion, the SAT writing section is an important component of the SAT exam and typically takes a total of 60 minutes to complete. This section consists of multiple-choice questions and one essay prompt, which allows students to showcase their analytical and writing skills. While the duration of the SAT writing section may seem daunting, it is important for students to utilize their time wisely and practice prior to the exam. By understanding the format and structure of this section, students can feel confident and prepared to tackle this portion of the exam. With proper preparation and time management, students can aim for success in the SAT writing section.


  • landonwong

    Landon Wong is a 34-year-old educational bloger and teacher. He has been teaching in the US for 12 years and has worked as a tutor, librarian, and high school teacher. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and teaching.