About SAT Test Scores
Many colleges and universities use SAT test scores as a part of their overall criteria to evaluate and assess student applications and potential candidates for acceptance into their programs. Below you will find important info about these scores which can help you to plan and prep for your SAT test.
Format for SAT Test Scores
SAT test scores can range from 600 to 2400 points. The lowest score possible is a 600, and the highest score you can achieve on the test is 2400.
The SAT test is broken down into three sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. Each section is worth between 200 to 800 points.
- Multiple choice questions are scored as follows: one point is given for correct answers, one quarter of a point is deducted for incorrect answers – if a student leaves the answer blank no point is added or deducted.
- The 10 fill-in the blank mathematical questions, also known as grid-in questions, will not receive any deductions for incorrect answers. Instead, students will be given one point for correct answers only.
- On the writing portion of the test, a score of 2 to 12 points is possible for the written essay and 20 to 80 points are possible for the multiple choice questions.
The total number of points you receive on the SAT test will be your ‘raw score.’ The raw score is then converted to a scaled score to fit the 200 – 800 point scale for each section. The converted scaled scores will be your official test score results.
Average SAT Test Scores
The U.S. Department of Education reports that between 1999 and 2009 the average scores for the critical reading section were from 501 to 508 and the average scores for the mathematics section were from 511 to 518. Scores for the writing section tend to average around 511 points. Total average scores for the SAT test for the last 10 years have been around 1500.
SAT Test Scores and College Applications
SAT results are available online about three weeks after you take the test. Scores may be delivered to high schools and colleges or universities which you requested at the time of registration. Students can also receive a paper copy of their score in the mail. Students can retake the test if they are not happy with the score and may choose which score results are sent to universities or colleges.
While SAT test scores can be an important part of your college application, colleges also look for candidates who have a well-rounded background which includes good grades, a volunteer history, unique personal experiences and letters of recommendation or character. Colleges do not generally post specific SAT results they are looking for, but generally students should try to achieve higher than average scores, (for example, above 1800) to help their application stand out.