How is the SAT Scored? SAT Score Chart

SAT scores plays a crucial in the college admission process. It determines whether or not you get into your dream college. Learn more about how the SAT is scored, the SAT structures and more.

Updated by Selva Kumar on 28th February 2020

One of the most repeated questions that we all face while we start preparing for the SAT, or while waiting for the SAT scores is “How is the SAT Scored?”, after all, it will be an advantage to know the SAT Scoring Mechanism, 

Well in this article we will try to reveal the answers for most of your questions on how the SAT is Scored?

This test plays an important role in the college admission process along with the student’s high school GPA as well. Though the SAT score requirements may differ from college to college, the SAT scoring mechanism remains the same.

Understanding the format of SAT and what type of questions are to be expected, gives you a competitive advantage that helps you prepare for the SAT Test with clear objectives than others who don’t have any idea of how is the SAT scored and the SAT format looks like.


SAT Structure

The SAT test consists of four sections or subject areas such as EBRW (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math (with and without a calculator) and an Essay which is optional, the student may or may not take the essay section.

The following table shows the nuances of each section in the SAT 

Subsections

Time per number of questions

Content Covered

Reading

65 minutes for 52 questions (Multiple-choice)

Reading and Vocabulary in context

Writing

35 minutes for 44 questions (Multiple-choice)

Grammar and usage

Math

80 minutes for 58 questions( into to 2 sections)

1.With calculator 25 min for 20 questions and

2. without calculator 55 minutes for 38 questions

Problem-solving & data analysis, heart od algebra, a passport to advanced math, and topics such as geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus

Essay (Optional)

50  minutes for 1 essay

Understand a commentary and evaluate the language, analytic evaluation of the given text, and reasoning.


How is the SAT Scored?

As now, we know the format and time allowed for each section, we will see how the SAT is the scored, starting from the raw scores.

The SAT scoring starts with the calculation of raw scores from each section. These raw scores are nothing but the number of questions answered correctly in each section, there is no negative marking as per the latest version of the SAT, So the calculation of raw scores is a simple step.

These raw scores are then converted to scaled scores (scaled scores are calculated based on the difficulty level of that particular test date) for example if a student scores 35 out of 58 in Math section on October and the same student who took the test in November and scores 30 out of 58 in math, that doesn’t mean the student’s ability has decreased, it means the difficulty level of the question has increased in most cases.

And the scaled score of 35 may be equated to 540 in one version and a score of 30 may also be equated to 540 in another version.

The SAT Scoring is wrapped up with the calculation of Composite score, that is by adding the scaled scores of Math and EBRW sections we arrive at the composite score of 1600.

For example, let’s say a student scored 50 in the math section, which is converted into a scaled score of 700, and a raw score of 40 in EBRW section which is converted into 710, then the composite score of the student would be 1410

*(700 + 710 = 1410)


Calculation of Subscores and Cross-Test Scores.

Apart from calculating total composite Scores, there are more in th+e latest version of SAT, that you should consider, before going further.

Subscores

The subscores are scaled scores from 1 to 15 derived from the raw scores from each subsection as shown below.

The  EBRW subject area has four subsections;

  • Evidence of Ideas - 24 questions

  • Standard English  - 20 questions

  • Command of Evidence - 8 questions

  • Words in Context - 8 questions

The Math subject area has three subsections.

  • Heart of Algebra - 19 questions

  • Problem Solving & Data Analysis - 17 questions

  • Passport to Advanced Math - 16 questions.

The purpose of the subscores is to help students identify their weak spots so that the student can improve on that section.

Cross-Test Scores

The Cross-test scores are based on all three subject areas. The cross-test scores are calculated form 21 questions in total from both the EBRW and Math test.

  • The Cross-test scores include:

  • The Analysis in History /Social Studies

  • Analysis in Science.


Percentiles

The SAT Percentiles are used to indicate how well the student has performed in the test compared to other test takers. The following table indicates the SAT score and it’s respective SAT User Percentiles

To know more about the levels of performance on the SAT, the following table shows the scores and it’s user percentile and what that Percentile means, whether you scored a good SAT score or average SAT score.

SAT Percentile

EBRW

Math

Composite score

90th Percentile (excellent)

670

680

1340*

73rd Percentile (good)

600

590

1180

50th Percentile (average)

530

520

1050

25th Percentile (Poor)

460

450

910

10th Percentile (very poor)

400

390

810

The highest score possible in the SAT is 1600. And the average SAT score is considered as 1060.