How is the SAT Scored? Scoring Chart

SAT scores play a crucial in the college admission process of your dream college. Learn more about how the SAT is scored, the SAT structures, scoring chart, and more.

Updated by Selva Kumar on 22nd October 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. 

The SAT test comprises of 2 important sections such as Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW). The total score you can score in the SAT is 1600 out of which the scaled score can range between 200 and 800.

The scaled scores are derived based on raw scores scored in each section i.e, the count of questioned answered correctly. 

This test plays an essential 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. A good SAT score proves to be beneficial for your application.

Understanding the format of SAT and what type of questions are expects to give 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. The SAT format looks like in the application.

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 one 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. Many students often wonder How to calculate SAT 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 chapter. 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 then converted to scaled scores (scaled scores are calculated based on the difficulty level of that particular test date). For example, suppose a student scores 35 out of 58 in Math section in October and the same student taking the test in November and scored 30 out of 58 in math. In that case, that doesn’t mean the student’s ability has decreased. It means the difficulty level of the question has increased in most cases.

The scaled score of 35 may equal to 540 in one version. A score of 30 may also be related to 540 in another version.

The SAT Scoring wraps up with the calculation of the 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 converts into a scaled score of 700, and a raw score of 40 in EBRW section which converts 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

  • 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.

you may also want to read SAT score range

Cross-Test Scores

The Cross-test scores are on the basis of all three subject areas—the cross-test scores calculate 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 uses 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 get 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.

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