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How Long is the SAT Test with Essay?

There’s no doubt that the entire SAT test takes a long time to finish! The test is even longer if you’re taking the (optional) SAT Essay.

So, how long is the SAT with Essay? Well, it comes out to a total of 4 hours and 5 minutes with breaks.

WOW, that’s a long test. Better make sure you prepare!

The SAT test typically starts between 8:30 and 9 AM. So, with essay, that means you’ll get out of the testing center at about 1 PM.

The SAT Essay section itself is 50 minutes long, and is given at the very end of the test. This allows any students who are not taking this optional essay to leave the testing center.

By the way, only fifteen minutes of that entire four-plus hours are break time. That means you spend a total of three hours and fifty minutes purely on high-stress SAT testing.

Remember that the SAT Essay section is “optional” but usually recommended (more on this later)…


How Long is the SAT Test without Essay?

But - what if you aren’t taking the SAT with essay? How long is the SAT Test without the optional essay section?

Well, in this case, the SAT test without essay is three hours and fifteen minutes with breaks. Only fifteen minutes of that are break time. So the SAT is a solid three hours of testing even without the essay.

Again, the SAT test usually starts between 8:30 and 9 AM, so without the Essay section you’ll usually get out of the test a bit after noon.


Is the SAT Essay Optional, and Why Would You Take It?

So, if the SAT Essay is optional and adds fifty minutes to test day, then why would you bother to take it? After all, not every student needs an SAT Essay score.

However, it’s much wiser to assume you will need an SAT Essay score when you apply to your favorite colleges.

If you take the SAT with Essay, the worst-case scenario is you have an extra essay score you don’t use.

But, if you don’t take the SAT with Essay, and you do turn out to need an SAT Essay score, then I’ve got bad news. You’ll actually have to retake the entire SAT Test, just to get a chance at the Essay.

So, does that sound worth it to you, just to avoid writing one measly SAT Essay?

I didn’t think so. Be safe, be wise, and register to take the SAT with “optional” Essay.


How Do You Register for the SAT Test with Essay?

So, how exactly do you register to take the SAT Test with Essay?

Well, like all SAT test registrations, you’ll head to the official College Board website to register online. (Although you can register for the SAT test via other methods, like phone, the vast majority of students will simply register online.)

During the SAT registration process you’ll have a simple and easy option to include the SAT Essay.

Note: It will cost approximately $14 extra to register for the SAT Test with Essay. Again - for the sake of your college applications and peace of mind, I would recommend simply paying the fee and taking the essay.

By the way, don’t forget to prepare diligently for the other sections of the SAT Test before the Essay. The real “meat” of your SAT score comes from a gigantic multiple-choice test over Reading, Grammar, and Math. Be ready!


Where Can You Learn More About the SAT Essay?

So, where can you go to learn more about acing the SAT Essay and getting your top score?

We’ve published tons of free info you can use for a higher SAT Essay score. Start with this article and make sure to practice diligently at home.

If you want a thorough and complete training course on the SAT Essay from a perfect-scoring pro tutor, get our Complete SAT & ACT Essay Course. It’s only available in our online course store. And, it also covers the ACT Essay in detail (but you don’t have to use that part of the course if you don’t need it!)

Finally, if you’re interested in private 1-on-1 tutoring for the SAT Essay, we do that too. Contact us for more details and a free personalized consultation, no matter where in the world you live.

Do you have any other burning questions about the SAT Essay? Leave them in the comments below!


Get Higher SAT Essay Scores Today!

Do you want to ace your SAT test, and the SAT essay too? Of course you do! If you get higher scores on your SAT test, you’ll have access to much better colleges and scholarships. And, a better education means more opportunities, more money, and a better lifestyle.

It’s worth it - but you’ll have to work for it. Higher SAT scores are earned, not handed out like candy.

Step One: get our complete SAT Essay course today. Use that course to focus all your attention towards a higher SAT Essay score.

Step Two: Join our free SAT email list! We’ll keep you updated with exclusive SAT prep tips and other score-raising info.

Step Three: Contact us today for a free, personalized consultation. We are fun and cool experts in SAT testing and preparation, led by a multi-time perfect scorer and veteran tutor.

Take action today and put our expertise to work for yourself. A higher SAT Essay score is within your reach, and all the great college and long-term life benefits that come along with it. Get started now and you’ll never regret it!

Talk again soon, and don’t forget to leave your SAT Essay questions in the comment section below….


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