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How is my SAT score calculated?

The basics of your SAT score are easy to understand, and that’s really all you need to know to have the test scoring figured out!

You get raw scores for each section – this is just how many questions you get correct (and no marks deducted for wrong answers – the old SAT used to). This is then scaled using data from previous tests to give you a score out of 800 in each section. The mean average of these is your composite score (the one you report to schools).

Your essay is scored by two markers out of a total of 24. They each mark you out of 4 in 3 categories: Reading (how well you understood the text), Analysis (what you say about how the writer builds the argument) and Writing (all the technical stuff about writing an essay – language, grammar, expression etc).

Here’s what happens:

SAT Scoring Explanation


What are all these subscores on my score report?!

Another thing that will appear on your score report is ‘sub-section’ scores. These are scored out of 15. From the Math sections, certain questions count towards ‘Heart of Algebra’, ‘Problem Solving and Data Analysis’ and ‘Passport to Advanced Math’. From the Writing & Language and Reading sections, certain questions give you a subscore towards ‘Expression of Ideas’, ‘Standard English Conventions’, ‘Words in Context’ and ‘Command of Evidence’.

You also get two scores that are calculated from all 3 sections (in other words, math questions and language questions combined). Certain questions give you a score in ‘Analysis in History and Social Sciences’ and ‘Analysis in Science’. These are scored out of 40.

You don’t need to worry too much about this; most of these subscores are just for the College Board’s data crunching!