How Is the SAT® Exam Scored?

How Is the SAT® Exam Scored?
Learn about sections present in SAT and how your marks are scored. Get answers to common questions like Is there a penalty for guessing? What is the raw score? How optional essays are evaluated? And SAT exam policies.
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How Is the SAT® Exam Scored?
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Section Scores

You can receive a total score of 400–1600 points on the SAT® exam. The SAT exam is divided into two major sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. You can score between 200–800 on each section.

Knowing how the SAT exam is scored can help you feel confident in your test-taking skills and tactics. The scores generated by your correct answers are converted into 200 to 800 point scales.

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 200–800 points are equally divided between the 52 Reading Test questions and 44 Writing and Language Test questions. Math’s 200–800 points are divided between the 20 calculator questions and 38 no calculator questions sections.

  • One score between 200–800 for the Reading and Writing section
  • One score between 200–800 for the Math section

These are combined for your total score (a maximum of 1600).

Scanning and Evaluating

Answers sheets are individually scanned through a machine and go through multiple steps to ensure the accuracy of your results. The machine calculates the circles and evaluates your raw score based on correctly marked answers, meaning you are not penalized for guessing.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your answers are scanned correctly:

  1. It is very important to fill your answers in clearly and darkly.
  2. If you change your answer, be sure to erase the wrong answer completely.
  3. Use a pencil instead of a pen or marker.

Raw Scores and Equating

The raw score is calculated based on how many questions you answered correctly. One point is given to one correct answer, and there are no deducted points for missed and incorrect answers.

You get your scaled score of 200-800 points after converting your raw score.

The process is called equating, and according to the College Board®, “Equating ensures that the score of the test on one day is equivalent to the test taken on any other day. This is important because the score stays the same irrespective of the day you take the test.’

Essay Scoring

The SAT essay section is scored by having two qualified scorers read your work. They are thoroughly trained to score your writing in a fair and accurate way.

Read how your essay is scored by examiners.

The essay section of the exam is optional and does not affect your overall score, but you will get three scores based on three components: reading, analysis, and writing. There is also a process that monitors each test’s difficulty, so if one version is easier than another, the scores will not be affected or skewed.

Knowing the scoring process can help prepare you to get the best results possible. Remember, guessing on the SAT will not negatively impact your results
When you receive your scores from the initial attempt at the SAT, you will get your overall results as well as a breakdown of where you succeeded and where you can improve. These details of your SAT score are immensely valuable to your next attempts at the exam. Test prep can help you feel more confident for the SAT, and knowing how you can improve your score is a great place to start. Try UWorld’s SAT Practice Tests and score predictor to track your performance and interpret your potential results!

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