SAT Subject Test Scoring

The SAT subject tests can be taken in five general subject areas: English, languages, history and social studies, mathematics, and science. Each general subject area is divided into various tests. Up to three tests can be taken during one test date, and tests are administered six times each year. In some cases, taking the SAT subject tests to submit to an educational institution in conjunction with an SAT or ACT test can be beneficial for students.  This article provides in-depth information about SAT Subject Test Scoring.

SAT II Subject Test and the SAT

sat subject test scoringThe SAT is an aptitude test that measures reasoning and verbal abilities. In the SAT, which is required for many college admission processes, students are tested in three categories: mathematics, critical reading, and writing. The purpose of the SAT is to provide colleges and universities with a standard by which to evaluate all applicants based on a set of standard criteria.

The SAT subject tests are divided into specific categories, and students choose which of these categories they will take out of 20 possible tests. While SAT subject tests are not always required by education institutions, they are helpful for illustrating what knowledge a student has and to showcase that knowledge. This can lead to placement in AP courses and placement out of introductory courses at the collegiate level.

SAT II Subject Test Score Ranges

SAT subject test scoring is based on a range of scores. The purpose of the range is to provide a better judgment on a student’s particular skill level based on the approximation instead of a single and precise score. The range is used by colleges to determine if a students falls within the acceptable range for that institution. Students are placed into a percentile rank, giving institutions a clearer picture on whether or not a student is adequately prepared in a particular subject area.

SAT Subject Test Scoring Process

Every correct answer is given one point in the SAT subject test scoring process. Wrong answers result in a reduction of score based on the number of choices in the question. For questions with five choices, ¼ point is subtracted; for questions with four choices, 1/3 of a point is subtracted, and for three-choice questions ½ point is subtracted. There is no deduction in score for questions that are not answered.

Once the total number of incorrect questions has been calculated, that score is subtracted from the number of correctly answered questions. For scores that are fractioned, the score is rounded to the nearest whole number, going up for scores higher than ½ and going down for less than ½. This results in the raw score.

After the raw score is determined, it is converted into the College Board point scale, between 200 and 800, resulting in the scaled score. This is the score that is reported to high schools, colleges, and universities for various placement, admission, and administrative functions.

When a subject test has a subscore, the subscores are used to tally the total score. Individual weights are not necessarily equal however. For example, the language tests for French, German, and Spanish that include listening have a higher weight for reading scores rather than the listening score. The other foreign language subject test subscores are weighted equally.

Once the final scaled scores are calculated, they are reported to the institutions designated by the test taker in whichever format is required for evaluation.