How To Interpret the SAT® Score Report

Questions surrounding your SAT score report after taking the SAT
Check out this guide to learn about your SAT® total score, subscores, section scores, and more, so you know how to read your SAT score report!
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Questions surrounding your SAT score report after taking the SAT
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Important SAT Update: Transition to Digital SAT
Effective December 3, 2023, the traditional paper-and-pencil format of the SAT has been discontinued. Starting in 2024, all students are required to take the Digital SAT, ushering in substantial changes in duration, format, material coverage, and question types. This shift to the Digital SAT represents a departure from traditional testing methods. It is crucial for students, educators, and test-takers to acquaint themselves with the new examination structure. Read more about the Digital SAT here.

Your SAT® score report can seem daunting at first. In this blog, we will explain how to interpret your SAT score report and break down all of its components in detail.

Sample SAT score report

What Is in Your SAT Score Report?

Your SAT score report will display your total score, section scores, percentile, test scores, subscores, cross-test scores, and benchmarks for college readiness. Note that the subscores and cross-test scores will not be part of your score report for the digital test.

The following table displays the score range for each component on the score report:

Score Type Score Range
Total SAT score 400 – 1600
Section score 200 – 800
Test score 10 – 40
Cross-test score 10 – 40
Subscore 1 – 15
Percentile 1 – 99

Total Score

Your SAT score, often referred to as the total score or composite score, will be presented as a big black number on the top of your score report and ranges from 400-1600. When submitting your score to colleges, this is the score that is considered. In addition to your main score, you will also see your score percentile. This shows the percentage of students who scored lower than you on the test.

Section Scores

The section scores, ranging from 200-800, are broken down into two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. Your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score is split between the Reading Test and the Writing and Language Test. The Math score will just include the Math test.

On your SAT score report, the scores of these two sections are represented by a line infographic to help track your performance. Just like your composite score, you will find your score percentile for each section.

Test Score

Your test scores, ranging from 10-40, refer to the scores on your Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Tests. This section of the score report also tells you how many questions you answered correctly or incorrectly on each test.

Cross-Test Scores

In addition to Math and English, the SAT checks your aptitude in social studies and science. On your SAT score report, you will find two “cross-test” scores for Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science. Questions are drawn from all three tests to make up this score and will range from 10-40.

Subscores

Each of the following seven subscores will show on a scale of 1-15 and reflect your performance on:

  1. Command of Evidence
  2. Words in Context
  3. Expression of Ideas
  4. Standard English Conventions
  5. Heart of Algebra
  6. Problem Solving and Data Analysis
  7. Passport to Advanced Math

Do your subscores matter? Colleges generally consider your total score and section scores while reviewing your application, so do not stress about your SAT subscores.

Percentile

The score percentile, ranging from 1-99, represents the percentage of students who score lower than you on the test. For example, if your percentile for the total score is 86, it means that you scored better than 86% of the students who took the SAT. It does not mean that you scored exactly 86% on your test.

Benchmark

On your SAT score report, you will find an icon showing how prepared you are for college-level courses and if you scored above or below the benchmark. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing benchmark is at least 480 while the Math benchmark is at least 530.

Now that you know what is on your SAT score report, you might be curious to know how SAT is graded. Read our SAT scoring guide to know everything about the SAT scoring system.

Know More About the SAT Score Report

If you registered for your SAT test via mail only then you will receive the hard copy of your SAT score report. Students who register online are not eligible for paper scores.

When you register for the SAT, you get the option of receiving four free score reports. To receive the free report option, you need to send your scores within nine days of taking the test. After nine days, you will be charged a fee of $12 for every report. Note that the same fee will be charged for sending additional (more than four) score reports.

Many colleges are allowing students to send their scores directly on their admission application, without submitting the official SAT score report. This is known as self-reporting SAT scores.

First, sign in to your College Board® account. On the dashboard, click the arrow on the right side of your score report. You can download the score report by clicking on the “Download Your Score Report” button in the top right corner.

If you are printing a downloaded SAT score report, you can only keep it for your personal reference. A printed report cannot be sent to colleges.

The new digital SAT score report will include information on nearby two-year colleges and workforce training programs which are relevant to students’ accomplishments, interests, and financial objectives. To help students set objectives and make better decisions about their future, they will also receive pertinent information on how their SAT score relates to job opportunities.

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