SAT Scores

Understand SAT Scores

College admissions authorities analyze your credibility, based on your GPA and the scores that you have received in your SAT. Since, every year thousands of students apply to study in the premier colleges of the USA, the admissions authorities use your SAT marks (among other things) to evaluate your admission application. Hence, you have to score well in order to get admission in the college of your choice. Therefore, to help you understand SATscores, their application and the scoring system used by the Collegeboard have been discussed in the following section of the article.

Understanding how Well you have Fared in the SAT

The Collegeboard uses a three pronged approach to analyze your SAT answer script. This three part approach, rules out any possibility of errors made while evaluating your answer script. Thus, thescores you receive in the SAT are a true representation of your intellectual faculties, and your critical and analytical skills, as well. Your SAT marks will be calculated in the following manner:

  • Raw score: The SAT comprises 3 parts, viz, Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Each section of the examination is scored separately. For each correct answer, you will receive credit and for each wrong answer, 0.25 marks will be subtracted from your total score. However, in the 'grid in questions' of the Mathematics section there is no negative marking. Also, for the essay writing you will receive a separate score, which will be mentioned separately in your score card. The total score that you receive on adding all the correct answers and subtracting 1/4th for all the wrong answers, result in your 'raw score'
  • Scaled score: The 'raw score' that you receive is now converted to a 'scaled score'. This is done by considering the score that you receive for Critical Reading and Mathematics section as it is converted to a scale ranging from 200 to 800. The Writing section score is also converted on a scale of 200 to 800, but the essay is scored separately, and its score can range from 2 to 12.
  • Percentile rank: Depending on your scaled score and the performance of the other candidates taking the same test, Collegeboard will provide a percentile rank. For example, if you receive 45 as your percentile rank then, this means that 55 students have scored more than you and 45 have scored less than you.

However, your score card will only reflect your 'scaled score' and your 'percentile rank'. It will also mention your essay writing score separately. Thus, your SAT result will represent your scholastic abilities to the maximum. Nevertheless, your endeavor to understand SAT scores is incomplete if you do not understand how to interpret or apply them. To help you do so, the various types of  marks have been discussed in the following section of the article.

Various Types of Scores

For most examinations there are three main types of scores, viz, good, average and bad. The same applies for the SAT. The features of each of these types of marks are as follows:

  • Good score: This is definitely the type of score that you want to achieve. If you get a good result then your chances of getting admission in the finest American colleges increase. Moreover, a good score is anything above 1500. However, most colleges have their own specifications. For example, if you want to major in a science subject then you have to score high in the Mathematics section. This means your scaled score in math should be at least above 600. The same applies to the language section of SAT, if you want to major in a subject belonging to the field of humanities.
  • Average score: If you have scored between 1100 and 1500 then it means that you have scored moderately well in the SAT. In other words, you have an average score in the test and there is room for improvement. With an average score, you will get admission in some colleges of the country, but not the premier ones.
  • Bad score: Any score below 1100 is a bad score. If you have scored below 1100 then it would be a good idea to prepare well and take the SAT once again. Often you might score badly, because of certain external problems and hence, it does not necessarily reflect your academic prowess. So do not get disheartened, and prepare well for the next SAT.

However, you must be wondering why is it so important to understand the type of score that you have received. This aspect has been discussed in the following section of the article.

Application of Your Scores

Once you have understood how to interpret your SAT results and what they indicate, it will be easier for you to analyze your chances of getting admission in colleges. It will also give you an insight into the subjects that you are weak in. This will also help you, in the long-term, to decide which subjects that you can major in. So understand your SAT marks well, because your future depends on them!