Math Specifications

The various tests in the SAT Suite of Assessments measure the same skills and knowledge in ways that make sense for different grade levels. The Math section keeps pace with student progress, matching the scope and difficulty of work in the classroom.

The Math section focuses on key elements of algebra, advanced math, problem-solving and data analysis, and geometry and trigonometry (except for the PSAT 8/9, which doesn't test trigonometry) that evidence identifies as necessary for college and career readiness and success. Over the course of the Math section, students answer multiple-choice and student-produced response (SPR) questions that measure their fluency with, understanding of, and ability to apply the math concepts, skills, and practices that are most essential for readiness for entry-level postsecondary work.

Test length:

  • 1st module: 20 operational questions and 2 pretest questions;
  • 2nd module: 20 operational questions and 2 pretest questions;
  • Total: 44 questions;

Time per module:

  • 1st module: 35 minutes;
  • 2nd module: 35 minutes;
  • Total: 70 minutes (~1 minute and 35 seconds per question);

Table 1. Math Section Content Domains and Question Distribution

Content Domain Domain Description Skill/Knowledge Testing Points Question Distribution
Algebra Students will analyze, fluently solve, and create linear equations and inequalities as well as analyze and fluently solve systems of equations using multiple techniques.
  • Linear equations in 1 variable;
  • Linear equations in 2 variables;
  • Linear functions;
  • Systems of 2 linear equations in 2 variables;
  • Linear inequalities in 1 or 2 variables
13–15 questions
Advanced Math Students will demonstrate the skills and knowledge central for successful progression to more advanced math courses, including analyzing, fluently solving, interpreting, and creating equations, including absolute value, quadratic, exponential, polynomial, rational, radical, and other nonlinear equations, as well as analyzing and fluently solving systems of linear and nonlinear equations in two variables.
  • Equivalent expressions;
  • Nonlinear equations in 1 variable and systems of equations in 2 variables;
  • Nonlinear functions
13–15 questions
Problem-Solving and Data Analysis Students will apply quantitative reasoning about ratios, rates,and proportional relationships; understand and apply unitrate; and analyze and interpret one- and two-variable data.
  • Ratios, rates, proportional relationships, and units;
  • Percentages, 1-variable data: distributions and measures of center and spread;
  • 2-variable data: models and scatterplots;
  • Probability and conditional probability;
  • Inference from sample statistics and margin of error;
  • Evaluating statistical claims: observational studies and experiments
5–7 questions
Geometry and Trigonometry Students will solve problems that focus on perimeter, area, and volume; angles, triangles, and trigonometry; and circles.
(Note: PSAT 8/9 doesn't include trigonometry questions.)
  • Area and volume;
  • Lines, angles, and triangles, including right triangles and trigonometry;
  • Circles
5–7 questions