The Georgia SAT: What High Schoolers Should Expect

The importance of performing well on SAT exams can put tremendous pressure on Georgia high school students as they look towards their dream college and hope for acceptance. One of the best ways to build confidence before walking in to sit for the SAT exam is to be familiar with what to expect and be prepared for the materials that will be covered. Here, we’ll review what high schoolers can expect the day of their Georgia SAT exam. 

Test Day

All Georgia SAT testing centers will follow the same rules, regulations and procedures which will allow you to know how to prepare for the day. All test centers will open at 7:45am and close the doors at 8:00am. If you’re late for the exam, you will be given the option to reschedule. Depending on your location, the test will take place in a classroom or a larger room with the capability of having all doors closed for a quiet environment. The test will begin between 8:30 and 9:00am. The test will last 4 hours and 5 minutes, including the optional essay section and break times. 

There are important materials to bring with you on exam day. Those items are: 

-Face covering (following local/state COVID-19 regulations)

-Your Admission Ticket

-Photo ID 

-Two No.2 pencils with erasers 

-Approved calculator

Additional suggested items include:

-A watch

-A drink and snacks (for during your break)

-Back up batteries for your calculator 

Electronic devices are strictly monitored and should be powered down or left at home the day of your SAT. If your device makes noise during the test, you will be dismissed from your test and your scores may be cancelled.

Follow this link to see the SAT Calculator Policy:

Time Limit & Subjects on SAT in Georgia 

The SAT Exam is 3 hours and 50 minutes long (if choosing to take the optional essay portion). Every SAT is administered in the exact same way. The subjects and sections will always appear in the same order: 

1. Reading (65 minutes, 52 questions)

2. Writing and Language (35 minutes, 44 questions)

3. Math without a Calculator (25 minutes, 20 questions)

4. Math with a Calculator (55 minutes, 38 questions) 

5. Essay – optional (50 minutes, 1 question)

When a section is beginning, the test coordinator will read instructions from a manual and respond to any questions about the procedures of the test. They will prompt you when it is time to begin each section. During the time limit, you must work only in the given section (no going forward to new sections or backward to previous sections). The test coordinator will then prompt you when a section has ended and when to move onto the next section. 

Keep in mind that even though the subjects always appear in the same order, questions within the sections are often displayed differently from booklet to booklet. The people near to you during the exam are unlikely to have the same booklet as you, and are unlikely to be working on the same question as you, even though they will be in the same section. 

Note that the essay section of the exam is optional. If you do not register to take the essay portion of the exam, your test time shortens to 3 hours. 

Question Format for the Georgia SAT

All questions on the SAT are presented in multiple choice format, with the exception of the optional essay question. 

The Reading section will be a passage or passages to read, followed by multiple choice questions in response to what was read. The passages will be literature, historical documents, social sciences, or natural sciences. The questions will cover content or vocabulary in context. 

The Writing and Language section will cover grammar, vocabulary usage, and editing skills. You’ll be revising sentences and passages by finding and fixing mistakes to make them better.

The Math section will cover topics in algebra, problem solving, data analysis, geometry, trigonometry and precalculus. The majority of the section will be typical multiple choice and 13 of the math questions will require you to produce your own answer and fill them in on a grid within your answer sheet. The beginning of the section will provide you with formulas that may be needed to answer questions, such as the area of a circle.

The Essay section is one question presented in passage format. You will read the passage and be expected to build a persuasive argument in essay form. It is best to use your nicest penmanship and stick to basic essay structure when responding to this section. 


There is no doubt that 3 hours and 50 minutes is a long time to sit for an exam (a big benefit to practice exams – preparing yourself for the extent of the test!). There are three allotted time slots for breaks during the SAT, however, they aren’t long. The first break follows the reading section and is 10 minutes long. The second break follows the math without calculator sections and is 5 minutes long. During the first two breaks, you may leave the room, use the restroom, and have a snack or drink. The final break follows the math with calculator section and is 2 minutes long. During this break, you are only permitted to stand and stretch at your desk. 

Bring your ID and Admission Ticket with you on each break – you’ll be clocked out as you leave and back in as you re-enter. 

SAT Scoring

SAT scores range between 400 and 1600. Your score is the sum of your two section scores for (1) Math and (2) Reading and Writing. Each section can earn between 200 and 800 points and are scored in 10 point increments. While there is no standard “good score” on the SAT, the best number to aim for is 1200, which would place you in the 75th percentile. 

Follow this link for a detailed breakdown of how the SAT is scored:

What Colleges Expect

Each College and University will have its own expectations for SAT scores. Some schools offer score thresholds for acceptance, and others hold strong to a minimum score required for application and acceptance. Your target score will vary by college you’ve applied for and the more selective the university, the higher score you’ll likely need to accomplish. To determine your target SAT score, you can do an online search for “(College Name) SAT Score Range” and aim for the 75th percentile of that score range to make yourself stand out in a crowd of applicants. 

Options for Retake 

It’s best to take your SAT exam in your junior year of high school and here’s why: there’s no limit to the number of times you may retake the exam. If you’re unhappy with your score, or it isn’t high enough for acceptance into the colleges you’ve applied to, you may register to take the exam again (and again) until you reach a score you’re pleased with. The college board places no restrictions on how many times you may take the SAT, but the most recent 6 scores you’ve earned will show on your file. Prepare early and take the exam as early as you can to give yourself time for the option of a retake.  

Follow this link to register for the Georgia SAT:

Visit our website for information on SAT tutoring in Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding suburbs.