Perfect SAT scores total 2,400 points. SAT scores combine points in three sections – writing (200-800), math (200-800) and critical reading (200-800). The lowest possible score a test taker can get is 600.
In calculating for SAT scores, the College Board staff starts with obtaining the raw scores for each section. For the subject tests, a student basically gets one point for each correct answer. For every incorrect answer from a 5-choice question, a student gets ¼ point subtraction. For every incorrect answer for a 4-choice question, a student gets a 1/3 point subtraction. Finally, an incorrect answer for a 3-choice question gets a student a ½ point subtraction on the total score. Meanwhile, questions with no answers provided will not get any point deductions. SAT scores also gets one point for every correct answer. It subtracts ¼ point for every incorrect answer in a multiple choice question. SAT scores do not get subtracted with any points for multiple choice questions left blank.
After calculating the raw scores, equating will take place. This enables adjustment in slight differences in difficulty between several test editions. Performance of statistical analysis ensures the test accurately represents a student’s skills. Every SAT contains a special section which does not count toward final SAT scores. It may be integrated in the multiple-choice writing section, critical reading or mathematics section. This special 25-minute section helps examiners assess questions to be included in next year’s test. Equating the raw score will then give a scaled score between 200 and 800. Simply put, equating makes it possible to compare SAT scores of test takers who took different test editions in different testing locations.
SAT scores depend on the test taker’s percentile rank in relation to scores of other test takers. For example, if a student obtains a raw score of 40 out of 60 on the math section, that puts him to the top 25% of the total test takers. It means a student’s score is higher than 75% of the population of test takers. That brings the student’s score in the 75th percentile.
The table below shows the raw scores and their corresponding scaled SAT scores. However, since the essay part of the writing section has a different scoring scale, the table only applies to the multiple-choice questions of the writing section.
|Raw Score||Critical Reading (67 questions)||Math (54 questions)||Writing (49 questions)|
Source: College Board
Two trained and experienced high school or college teachers act as SAT essay readers. Each of them gives a raw score from 1 to 6. SAT scores for the essay portion range from 2 to 12. In case the two readers give scores with difference of more than one point, a third reader will have to score the essay.
A score of 6 shows consistent mastery with clear and concise sentences. It shows very minimal to no errors. A score of 5 also demonstrates consistent mastery but shows some lapses in quality. A score of 4 shows some occasional errors in grammar, mechanics and usage. Meanwhile, a score of 3 shows limited variety in sentence structure and quite a number of errors in grammar, mechanics and usage. A score of 2 means an essay lacks organization, focus and progression of ideas. It also shows frequent errors in sentence structures, grammar, mechanics and usage, thereby leading to obscurity of the sentence meaning. A score of 1 demonstrates lack of point of view and incoherence. It displays severe errors in sentence structure, grammar, mechanics and vocabulary usage. Finally, zero SAT scores in the essay section means a student left the whole section blank.