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How To Calculate SAT Score? Score Table and Main Tips

Aug 20, 2021

SAT score is the one-step aspect that determines college admissions and the career ahead. There is a bit of confusion when it comes to understanding SAT scores to understand which is the right college to apply to and evaluate whether it is a good result to go.

How to calculate SAT Score?


To Answer this,  The College Board has specific principles that they follow in evaluating the SAT score and zeroing into the final number. Here are those steps that would help to understand how the scores are calculated: 

1. Get to know your Raw Scores: The raw score is the number of questions you have answered correctly in the totality of the exam. The students need to note two important aspects regarding this: 

  • One mark will be awarded for every correct answer given 
  • There is no negative marking for the wrong answer 

The overall raw score differs by each section and is dependent on the individual sections such as Reading and Math. For example, if the reading test has 52 questions, the maximum raw score one can get is 52.  There are 58 questions in Math and 44 multiple-choice questions in writing.  

The essay section is additionally graded on a scale of 2-8. It is to be noted that the essay section is optional the student can either choose or omit it. 


 The essay score is not added to the SAT composite score is for 1600.  

2. Know the way of converting raw scores to composite scores: Using a table, the raw scores can be easily converted into the composite score  


Here is a rough table of the way Raw scores can be converted to Composite scores: 

While the exact raw-to-scale score conversion will differ depending on the testing date, here is an example chart from one of the official College Board SAT Practice Tests: 

Raw Score Math Section
Reading Test
Writing and
Test Score 
58 800 
57 790 
56 780 
55 760 
54 750 
53 740 
52 730 40 
51 710 40 
50 700 39 
49 690 38 
48 680 38 
47 670 37 
46 670 37 
45 660 36 
44 650 35 40 
43 640 35 39 
42 630 34 38 
41 620 33 37 
40 610 33 36 
39 600 32 35 
38 600 32 34 
37 590 31 34 
36 580 31 33 
35 570 30 32 
34 560 30 32 
33 560 29 31 
32 550 29 30 
31 540 28 30 
30 530 28 29 
29 520 27 28 
28 520 26 28 
27 510 26 27 
26 500 25 26 
25 490 25 26 
24 480 24 25 
23 480 24 25 
22 470 23 24 
21 460 23 23 
20 450 22 23 
19 440 22 22 
18 430 21 21 
17 420 21 21 
16 410 20 20 
15 390 20 19 
14 380 19 19 
13 370 19 18 
12 360 19 17 
11 340 17 16 
10 330 17 16 
9 320 16 15 
8 310 15 14 
7 290 15 13 
6 280 14 13 
5 260 13 12 
4 240 12 11 
3 230 11 10 
2 210 10 10 
1 200 10 10 
0 200 10 10 

The reading and writing sections of SAT scores are separately graded with raw scores and these can be converted based on the above table. They are added together and multiplied by ten to give a final Evidence-Based reading and writing score that ranges between 200 and 800. 


3. Get hold of the scaled scores and sum them up: Usually, the college board gives a comprehensive report on the number of correct and incorrect answers to give a better idea about the evaluation.  

Example: For the Reading Writing and Language sections on this SAT score report, this student’s raw scores were 52 and 42. These raw SAT section scores scaled to section scores of 40 (Reading) and 39 (Writing and Language), which translated to a 790 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Score: 


(40 + 39) x 10 = 790 

The sum it up, the total SAT score can range from 400 to 1600 after calculating in the aforementioned way. It is always better to first calculate the raw score, and convert it to a composite score to get the final result. 


Is there something like a good and bad SAT score?  

The answer to this question is highly dependent on the student’s aspirations. For a prestigious IVY league university like Harvard, the student should aim at a minimum of 1500 out of 1600 to secure a seat. However, a university like Michigan would accept a score of 1200-1300 as well. So, know your priorities and your target university before planning to prepare for a perfect SAT score.  

The score that falls into 30% of graduating high school students is generally considered to be a good SAT score.  The average SAT score out of the overall US is around 1120. 

One must also note that SAT score is evaluated using percentiles as well. A percentile score is a comparative score where the average student’s score is compared to the highest-scoring student’s score for that examination. So it is important to be aware of percentile scores as well to get a better idea of evaluation. 

Is it difficult to get a high score on SAT? 

This can be a subjective question because a high score is dependent on various factors. It mainly depends on how well the student is prepared, manages time, and how well the student has performed in the mock and practice tests. Getting into an SAT online course will be a great way to start with. And educational experts say that by starting prep early, the chances of getting a higher SAT score will increase. 

Here are the three main tips to follow for scoring high on SAT: 

  1. Good study material: Get hold of good study material that is not vast- but informative and concise. The students can often get confused and overwhelmed with information overload when it comes to preparation. Take the help of teachers, senior students, and mentors to know the right study material to start with. 
  2. Right guidance: Joining an SAT course will not only give you experienced guidance about preparation, but also gets you closer to understanding how others are preparing, and the well-proven strategies for cracking the examination. 
  3. Practice tests are mandatory: No matter how well you are adept in conceptualization, doing practice tests is mandatory and an unavoidable step to excelling in SAT. Get hold of practice tests, and previous year’s papers and be consistent in practicing them- to get a better idea of evaluating yourself in the exam.  

The Final Word: 

The SAT score calculation can get a little complex at first look but by following the principles, it can be easier to understand and brings a good evaluation to the student. It will also determine what the student can do next- by understanding the SAT score.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a good SAT score? 

What constitutes a good SAT score varies depending on factors such as the colleges you are applying to and the performance of other test-takers. In general, however, aim for the 75th percentile or at least 1200. It would be best because you would be a strong candidate for many colleges because of this. 

Why do SAT score conversions differ depending on the test?

Because each SAT exam contains unique questions, some tests are slightly more difficult than others. The College Board balances out these differences in difficulty by converting raw scores to scaled scores.  
So, you’d need to answer fewer questions correctly on more challenging exams to get a high-scaled score out of 800. This means that regardless of when you take the SAT, you will always have the same chance of getting a specific score. 

how to calculate sat score


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