How is your SAT composite score calculated?

The SAT is almost four hours long. 60 minutes will be spent on writing – 25 allotted for the essay – 70 minutes will be spent on Critical Reading, and 70 minutes will be spent on math. There will be an additional 25 ‘unscored’ section (explained later in this article) that can fall under any of the three sections.  Your SAT Composite Score factors in all of these sections.

SAT Scoring

Your “Raw” SAT composite score is calculated first by section: Math, Writing, or Critical Reading. This calculation is based on answers that were correct, incorrect, or omitted. You receive +1 point for correct answers and -1/4 point for wrong multiple-choice answers. For any wrong ‘student-produced’ response – which are found only in the math section and require the student to answer with no choices – there are 0 points subtracted. For any questions that were omitted, or skipped, 0 points are subtracted.

Essays are scored by two qualified readers – high school or college teachers – individually on a 1-6 scale. These are then added to produce a 2-12 scale. If the scores differ by more than one point, which rarely happens, a third reader scores the essay. The criteria used for grading are developing a point of view and using examples and critical thinking, organization and coherence, use of language and varied vocabulary, variety in syntax (sentence structure), and grammar, usage, and mechanics.
SAT Composite Score The next thing that is calculated is the scores for any subject tests the test taker chose to participate in. Subject tests measure students’ proficiency in certain areas, but are optional. The scoring is as follows: +1 point for correct questions, -1/4 point for incorrect 5-choice questions, -1/3 point for incorrect 4-choice questions, and -1/2 point for incorrect 3-choice questions. 0 points are subtracted for omitted questions.
These subscores do affect the sat composite score, but the amount they contribute differs between the tests. They are scored on a 20-80 scale. For language tests (French, German, or Spanish) with Listening tests, the subscore based on reading counts twice; the listening score counts only once. For Chinese, Korean, or Japanese language tests, subscores count equally.

After this “raw” SAT composite score is scored, the scores are ‘equated’.  This statistical analysis ensures that there are no gaps in difficulty between test versions and ensures your skills are aptly represented. In each SAT test, there is also one section, in either reading, mathematics, or writing, that is left un-scored to assess questions for next year’s tests and ensure fairness. This section does not affect the overall score.

Finally, this “raw” score is converted to a 200-800 scale by the aforementioned ‘equating’ process. This ensures your score is left unaffected by different test versions and the ability of the students with whom you tested.
Each subsection is scored on a 200-800 scale, which means the overall sat composite score is a scale from 600-2400. The average score in each subsection is a 500, and the average score overall is 1500.

SAT Composite Score National Percentiles

Average scores are calculated nationally for everyone that took the test in a certain year. Percentiles are calculated in order to compare your scores to other test takers. The SAT provides both national and state percentiles. These two percentiles may differ due to differences in population.