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SAT: Paper-and-Pencil

Although the paper-and-pencil SAT will be retired in Spring 2024 and replaced with the new digital SAT, students still have time to take this more familiar version of the SAT. Academic Approach has guided students and families through multiple changes to the SAT, and this time is no different. Whether your student prefers to stick with paper-and-pencil SAT or take on the new digital test, we have all the information you need to succeed on either iteration of the SAT.

Paper-and-Pencil SAT Overview

This iteration of the SAT has been around since 2016. It features four sections: Reading, Writing & Language, Math (No Calculator), and Math (Calculator). It is scored on a 1600-point-scale. 

Sections Overview


The 65-minute, 52-question Reading section features 5 passages accompanied by 10-11 questions. One passage will include a set of paired texts, and two of the five passages will feature graphics. Commonly tested skills include citing textual evidence, determining words in context, analyzing graphics, making inferences, and determining relationships. 

Writing & Language

The 35-minute, 44-question Writing & Language section features 4 passages accompanied by 10-11 questions that test students’ knowledge of standard English, grammar, and rhetorical skills. Commonly tested skills include transitional terms, determining relevance and focus, and revising text for concision and precision. 

Mathematics (No Calculator)

The 25-minute, 20-question Math (No Calculator) section features 15 multiple-choice questions and 5 student-produced response questions. Commonly tested skills include algebra, problem solving and data analysis, geometry, and advanced math. This section often features more foundational knowledge that does not require a calculator to determine the correct answer.

Mathematics (Calculator)

The 55-minute, 38-question Math Calculator section features 30 mutiple-choice questions and 8 student-produced response questions. Commonly tested skills include algebra, problem solving and data analysis, geometry, and advanced math. This section often features more complex questions in which a calculator will be a valuable tool to determine the correct answer.

Choosing between the paper and digital SATs

Unsure if your student should take the paper-and-pencil SAT this fall or start preparing for the digital SAT in the spring? It might help to consider the differences between the two test forms. 

Paper SAT vs ACT

The paper-and-pencil SAT and ACT differ in structure and scoring, in addition to testing format. The SAT, focusing on reasoning, comprises four main sections (Reading, Writing & Language, Math-No Calculator, Math-Calculator). By contrast, the ACT includes four mandatory sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) and an optional Writing test. SAT scores (200-800 per section) are combined for a total, while ACT scores (1-36 per section) are averaged.

Seems like it could be a straightforward choice, doesn’t it? Not quite!

The SAT vs. ACT decision is different for each student. Let our skilled consultants help you navigate all the factors. Together, we’ll help you make the choice that will most benefit your student. 

Academic Approach's SAT Tutoring Approach

At Academic Approach, we provide a customized tutoring program tailored for SAT preparation. Our impactful, bespoke programs are crafted to align with each student’s unique needs and objectives.

It's why we've designed our SAT tutoring programs to 
"Jordan went from a 1200 to a 1440 on the SAT. It was a great experience."
SAT Test Prep Family
Parent(s), Glenbrook North
Beyond the Test

With Academic Approach, students aren’t just preparing for a test; they are building the skills necessary for academic success and beyond.

Empowering Students, Enriching Lives

Academic Approach students don’t just improve their scores; they gain confidence, build resilience, and foster a growth mindset.

Data-Driven Results

We leverage data from diagnostic tests to create a study plan specifically tailored to students’ unique learning needs.

Starting Your Journey with Academic Approach

Initiating your SAT preparation journey with Academic Approach is straightforward. The process kicks off with a free diagnostic test and consultation to grasp your personalized needs and objectives.

Arrange your consultation today. Together, we will realize your student’s academic aspirations.

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