Want to calculate your score on an SAT practice test? Or are you looking at your official score report and wondering what the numbers actually mean? Here are five easy steps to help you master the mysteries of SAT scoring.
What is a Composite Score?
Your overall SAT score–also known as your Composite Score–falls somewhere between 400 and 1,600. It’s the sum of your two scaled Section Scores (We’ll look at those in detail below). So, if you received a 640 on Math and a 700 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, your Composite Score would be 1,340.But how do you figure out your two Section Scores and, thus, your overall SAT score? Here are the five steps…
Step One: Add Up Your Raw Scores
On each section of the SAT, the number of questions you get right equals your “raw score.” You get one point for each correct answer. No points are deducted for wrong answers, which is why you should always mark a response for every question on the test, even if you have to guess.As you know, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing includes two parts: Reading and Writing & Language. You’ll want to determine your raw score separately for each of those sections.What’s the highest possible raw score for each of the two parts? That depends on how many questions the individual sections contain. The Math section has 58 questions, so the highest possible raw score on Math is 58. Reading has 52 questions, so 52 is the maximum raw score there. Writing & Language contains 44 questions, so on that section a perfect raw score would be 44.Let’s say you count up your correct answers and find that you’ve achieved the following raw scores:
Math: 46Reading: 39Writing & Language: 42
(Don’t worry about the essay for now)What’s next?
Step Two: Transform Your Raw Scores Into Scaled Scores
Next, you’ll take each one of those three raw scores and convert it into a scaled score.No matter how careful the test-writers are, some versions of the SAT end up being a little tougher (or easier) than others. To compensate for those differences, the College Board adjusts the significance of raw scores from one test to the next. They do that by converting them into scaled scores ranging anywhere from 200 to 800. If you took the test twice and earned a raw score of 53 on Math both times, you might end up with a scaled 740 in March and 750 in June, because the June Math section was slightly harder than the March one.Your raw Math score gets transformed directly into a scaled Math score. Your raw scores for Reading and Writing & Language get combined into a single scaled score for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.The College Board doesn’t share details about the equating process it uses to arrive at scaled scores. If you want to convert your own scores, you’ll need to use a raw/scaled score conversion table. The table varies a little from one test to another, so you should try to use the table that comes with the practice test you’ve chosen. Otherwise, you can use any available table to get a pretty good idea of how your raw scores would translate into the 200-800 scale.Here’s the conversion table that The College Board supplies for use with SAT Practice Test #1. Remember that the table for your own personal test will be a little different.
Step Three: Figure Out Your Scaled Math Section Score
To do this, find your raw Math score down the left-hand column of the conversion table, then read across to determine your scaled Math Section Score. If your raw Math score is 46, your scaled Math Section Score would be 670.
Step Four: Figure Out Your Scaled Reading and Writing & Language Section Scores
Here’s where we combine Reading and Writing & Language into one sleek, powerful Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score.Remember, our two verbal raw scores are:
Reading: 39Writing & Language: 42
Use the conversion table to transform each one of those into a scaled score:Reading: raw 39 = scaled 32Writing & Language: raw 42 = scaled 38Looking at the chart, you’ll notice that the scaled scoring for these two sections only goes up to 40. That’s because cross-test scores are reported only on a scale of 10–40.Now add those two scaled scores together:32 + 38 = 70Finally, multiply that sum by 10:70 x 10 = 700Voila! Your scaled Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score is 700.Remember that the optional essay doesn’t affect your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score. If you choose to write one, it will be scored separately on a scale of 2-8 in each of three domains: Reading, Analysis, and Writing.
Step Five: Add Your Section Scores Together
Finally, you’ll take your two scaled Section Scores and add them together to get your overall Composite Score. In our example, we earned a Math Section Score of 670 and an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score of 700, so our Composite Score on this SAT would be 1370.