Digital SAT Content Alignment: Overview

The digital SAT Suite uses multistage adaptive testing (MST). Relying on MST means the digital SAT Suite fairly and accurately measures the same things with a shorter, more highly secure test while preserving test reliability.

Each assessment in the digital SAT Suite has two sections: the Reading and Writing section and the Math section. In every assessment in the SAT Suite, including the SAT, students have 64 minutes to complete the Reading and Writing section and 70 minutes to complete the Math section. Each Reading and Writing module lasts 32 minutes, while each Math module lasts 35 minutes. When students complete the Reading and Writing section, they are moved to the Math section after a 10-minute break between the sections.

Total testing time for the digital SAT Suite is 2 hours and 14 minutes for each assessment (SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9).

Testing Modules

Both the Reading and Writing and the Math sections are divided into two equal-length and separately timed stages, each composed of a module of questions. Students can move backward and forward among questions in each module before time runs out. When time runs out on the first module of each section, the test delivery platform moves students to the second module. The first module contains a broad mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Based on how students perform on the first module, the second module of questions will either be more difficult or less difficult.

The PSAT 8/9

Taken in the eighth and ninth grades, the PSAT 8/9 establishes a baseline measurement of college and career readiness as students enter high school. It helps students and educators determine what students need to work on most.


The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 are the same test, offered at different times of year. They check student progress and pinpoint areas for development. Students can take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of 10th and 11th grade. Instead of offering the PSAT/NMSQT to 10th graders in the fall, some schools offer the PSAT 10 between February and April.

The PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test students take to enter the National Merit® Scholarship Program and to compete for recognition and college scholarships. To enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, which is conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®), students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of their high school program (usually the junior year) and meet other published participation requirements.


The SAT is an opportunity for students to show colleges they're ready to succeed on campus. Most students take the SAT for the first time during the spring of their junior year and a second time during the fall of their senior year.