Scoring the SAT- How is it done? Score Conversions and Score Charts

Scoring the SAT- How is it done? Score Conversions and Score Charts

Planning to take the SAT? Then, it is a good idea to know about SAT scoring and the score conversions. How the raw scores convert to scaled scores of 600-1400, is also equally important. 

This post is all about the format, scoring scale, and scoring process for the new SAT and using the information for your own benefit. 

What does the SAT Measure? 

The SAT mainly tests English language and mathematics; divided into various sections and subsections, the SAT exam has 3 main sections- 

  • Evidence Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): There will be a reading test and a writing and language test. A test in English language skills, ranging from comprehension and reasoning to use of standard English convention. 

Total Questions: 96 

Reading: 52 

Writing and Language: 44 

  • Mathematics: Tests skills in algebra, problem solving and data analysis, geometry, and trigonometry. 

Total Questions : 58 

Non Calculation : 20 

Calculation: 38 

  • Essay: This is an optional section- students write an analysis of the source text provided; this section tests areas like reading, analysis, and writing. 

An Overview of SAT Scoring 

EBRW and Mathematics each carry a scaled score between 200-800, making the total scaled score for the SAT between 400-1600 (800 points lower than the older SAT). 

The scaled scores are calculated from the raw scores that you earn in each section. The raw score is the number of correct answers for each section. There is no penalty for wrong and unanswered questions; thus, number of correct Answers= Raw Score 

The question is, how do these raw scores convert into the scaled score that you see on your score cards? The process of equating helps in doing the conversion. 

The scores come out after each SAT exam. With this score chart, the students can find out the scaled score that corresponds to the raw score for that particular test for each section. These score charts are different for each exam administered, based on the difficulty level of the test. 

Every SAT exam is different from the other due to the difficulty level. Equating lets you make comparisons between students taking different forms of the test (on different dates) and making the scores consistent between the different exams administered; controlling the slight variations occurring in each exam. Making sure that your scores remain unchanged  by the level  of other test takers and the changes in the difficulty level of the exam. 

500 on SAT Mathematics in April has to match with the same ability level as a 500 on SAT Mathematics in June. Now, let’s say, the June test is more difficult; they adjust calculation for converting the raw score to scaled score in a way that a lower raw score would still equate to a 500 scaled score. 

Related reading: Top 3 Expert Tips to Get Your Best SAT Score 

Using the practice tests offered by the college board as reference, we see that, for Practice Test#1- raw score of 50 in Math= scaled score of 700. For practice Test#4- raw score of 47 in Math= scaled score of 700. Here, the scores have been equated to take into account that  Test#4 is more difficult than Test #1. The level of the scores adjusts to the different difficulty levels. 

Test 1 Score Conversion Table

test 1 score conversion table

Test 4 Score Conversion Table

test 4 score conversion table

Since the equating formula keeps changing form one test to another, there is no fixed way to find out how a certain raw score converts to a scaled score. The exact equation adjusts in small increments to reflect the difficulty of the test. 

The example here will help you calculate scaled scores from the raw scores in each section. We also calculate the total SAT score for a particular practice test taken. 

Math Section Score Calculation 

Step 1:  Raw Score (calculator And non calculator)- Raw Score is the number of questions that are answered correctly from the total questions in each of the sections. The “non calculator” section has a maximum of 20 questions; while, the Calculator section has a maximum of 38 questions, making 58 the maximum number of points available for the Maths section. 

For Example: 

Non calculator Section Raw Score: 18 

Calculator Section Raw Score: 32 

Total Raw Score for Maths: 50 

Step 2: Convert these raw scores to scaled scores from the corresponding table from the practice test sheet. 

For Example: If you have attempted Practice Test #1 from- 

You can use the below table to find out what scaled score does it correspond to : 

raw scores conversion table

Thus, a raw score of 50 in the mathematics section corresponds to a section score of 700 for Practice Test#1

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Calculating Evidence Based Reading and Writing section score: 

Step 1: Raw score for the reading section: 

Number of questions that are answered correctly from the total questions in the section. The reading section has 52 possible points. Going by the total number of correct questions, let’s assume you have received a raw score of 44 on the reading section. 

Step 2: Raw score on the writing section: 

Number of questions that have been answered correctly from the total questions in that section. The reading section has 44 possible points. For example, you have received a raw score of 40 on the writing section. 

Step 3: Converting raw score to scaled score for the reading and the writing sections: 

Referring to the table below you can find out- 

Scaled score on reading: 35 

Scaled score on writing: 36 

raw score conversion table

Step 4: Total EBRW scaled score: 

Adding both the scores above would give you a total scaled score of 71 (EBRW scaled score ranges Between 20-80). 

Step 5: EBRW final section score:

Final score for Evidence Based Reading and Writing = scaled score for each section multiplied by 10. 

Thus, total section score for Evidence Based Reading and Writing is 71 x10 = 710. 

Your Total SAT Score for Practice Test #1 =  700+710 = 1410 

Find more practice tests at: 

How is the SAT Essay Scored?

As mentioned previously, the essay is an optional part of the SAT exam and is graded separately. Your performance on the essay will not affect your overall SAT score in any way. It is, nevertheless, good to keep yourself informed. Work on the essay according to the following process, in case you decide to go for it- 

  • Your essay will be scored on three areas- Reading, Analysis and Writing (RAW) each of which will be scored between 2-8 points. 

  • Two examiners will each read and score the essay and award you between 1-4 points for each area, the two scores by each of the examiners are then added. 

  • There is no composite score for the essay; and the scores for reading, analysis and writing are each mentioned separately on the scorecard. 

Now that you have all this information handy, you can use it as a great tool for enhancing your SAT preparation in more ways than one, including and not restricted to- setting specific goals for each section in terms of raw and test scores, working on your weak areas and tackling the dreaded essay and calculation based maths.

Happy Cracking the SAT!!