What Time Does the SAT Start?

The SAT begins between 8:30 and 9 a.m. So waking up for the test is similar to waking up for a school day. The exact start time can vary depending on how fast your proctor reads the instructions, and how long it takes you and fellow test-takers to fill out your personal information on a form.


Before the test begins


The doors to the testing room open at 7:45 and close at 8 a.m. In my experience taking the test, it seemed that most people arrived at 7:45 or earlier. I would arrive at the testing location and find a giant crowd fairly early in the morning. This can be overwhelming. I recommend isolating yourself in a quiet corner so you can calm down before the test begins. Don’t talk to other frenzied test-takers because they’ll just end up stressing you out. Also, don’t try to cram right before you walk into the test room. Make sure you know all of this information well beforehand.


When are the breaks?


After the first 65-minute section, you’ll have a break. Then you’ll have another 35-minute section and a 25-minute section. Finally, you’ll get your second break. Afterwards, you’ll have a 55-minute section. When you’ve completed it, you’ll either leave, or take a third break before the 50-minute optional essay.


What time does the SAT end?


The SAT ends at around 1 p.m. if you take the essay, but it will end at around noon if you don’t. Since there isn’t an exact starting time, there isn’t an exact ending time. Don’t expect that you will be leaving the testing location at a very specific time, because things tend to change.


The day before the test


In order to prepare for this early wake up time, make sure you are more alert than you would be for an average school day. Your brain should be in its best possible state, so that you can answer the test questions efficiently. You definitely don’t want to be falling asleep in your seat.

Get to sleep nice and early the night before. Don’t stay up late cramming. Try to have a relaxing, calm evening so that you can fall asleep easily.

Leave yourself plenty of extra time the morning of. Don’t risk being late. That will just cause unnecessary stress that you don’t need.


What about the ACT?


Curious about when the ACT starts? Read this post for all the information you’ll need.



  • Nadira Berman

    As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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