SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Scoring and Percentiles - PrepScholar 2016 Students' Encyclopedia

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 30, 2015 2:36:59 PM

Encyclopedia

 

score_report.jpg

 The SAT measures reasoning skills and college readiness on a 2400 point scale, with a maximum score of 800 for each of its three sections, Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. The SAT has used this scale since 2005, following its addition of the Writing section and essay. Before that, it was scored out of 1600, a scale that will return with the redesigned SAT in March of 2016.

Note: this article is a series in the PrepScholar 2016 Students' Encyclopedia, a free students' and parents' SAT / ACT guide that provides encyclopedic knowledge.  Read all the articles here!

For students in the class of 2014 who took the SAT, the average Critical Reading score was 497, average Math score was 513, and average Writing score was 487. Since colleges use the SAT as an admissions test, they typically share data on the average scores of their accepted students. High school students may use this data to define their target SAT scores and compare their results with those of other applicants to the same or similarly ranked schools. While most colleges do not advertise an SAT score requirement, some admissions officers have suggested that they do not look at an application unless it contains a certain minimum score.

Students receive their scores about three weeks after taking the test, as do any colleges they listed as score recipients at the time of registration. Students can indicate additional score recipients for $11.25 each. Basic score reports tell students their scaled scores and raw scores broken down by question type. Students can also order the Question and Answer service ($18) for a detailed report of their performance by each question, along with online answer explanations.

Students receive one point for every correct answer, zero points for skipped answers, and a deduction of 0.25 points for wrong answers on multiple choice questions. The ten grid-in math questions have no point deductions for wrong answers, and the essay is graded on a scale between 2 and 12. Students receive essay and multiple choice subscores for the SAT Writing section (the multiple choice questions are scored between 20 and 80). Their composite Writing score is based approximately 30% on the essay and 70% on the multiple choice. A score of 0 on the essay is possible if the section is left blank or is illegible, completely off-topic, or written with a prohibited instrument.

Raw scores are converted to scaled scores between 200 and 800 through a process called equating, which takes into account the scores of all students who took the SAT on a given administration. Students also receive a percentile that compares their score to that of other test-takers. The following chart shows the most recent conversion of raw scores to scaled scores. While these figures may have some variation from year to year, they remain more or less the same over time.

 

Raw Scores to Scaled Scores for the Class of 2014

 

Raw Score Critical Reading Scaled Score Math Scaled Score Writing Multiple Choice Scaled Score Raw Score Critical Reading Scaled Score Math Scaled Score Writing Multiple Choice Scaled Score
67 800     31 500 550 55
66 800     30 500 540 54
65 800     29 490 540 53
64 790     28 480 540 52
63 770     27 480 530 51
62 760     26 470 420 50
61 740     25 460 510 49
60 730     24 460 500 48
59 720     23 450 490 47
58 700     22 440 480 46
57 690     21 440 480 45
56 680     20 430 470 44
55 670     19 420 460 43
54 670 800   18 410 450 42
53 660 790   17 410 440 41
52 650 760   16 400 530 40
51 640 740   15 390 420 39
50 630 720   14 380 410 38
49 620 710 80 13 380 400 38
48 620 700 78 12 370 390 37
47 610 690 75 11 360 380 36
46 600 680 73 10 350 370 35
45 600 670 71 9 340 360 34
44 590 660 70 8 330 350 33
43 580 650 68 7 320 330 32
42 570 640 67 6 310 320 31
41 570 640 66 5 300 310 30
40 560 630 64 4 290 290 29
39 550 620 63 3 270 280 27
38 550 610 62 2 260 260 26
37 540 600 61 1 240 240 24
36 530 590 60 0 220 220 22
35 530 590 59 -1 210 200 20
34 520 58- 58 -2 and below 200 200 20
33 520 570 57        
32 510 560 56        

Writing on 20-80 scale and combined with essay score.

Score percentiles compare test-takers to one another on a given SAT administration. The following chart shows the percentiles for various ranges of composite scores for the class of 2014.

 

Composite Score Ranges and Percentiles for the Class of 2014

SAT Composite Score Range Percentile Range
2350-2400 99+ to 99+
2300-2350 99 to 99+
2250-2300 99 to 99
2200-2250 98 to 99
2150-2200 97 to 98
2100-2150 96 to 97
2050-2100 95 to 96
2000-2050 93 to 95
1950-2000 91 to 93
1900-1950 88 to 91
1850-1900 85 to 88
1800-1850 81 to 85
1750-1800 77 to 81
1700-1750 73 to 77
1650-1700 68 to 73
1600-1650 63 to 68
1550-1600 57 to 63
1500-1550 52 to 57
1450-1500 46 to 52
1400-1450 40 to 46
1350-1400 34 to 40
1300-1350 28 to 34
1250-1300 23 to 28
1200-1250 18 to 23
1150-1200 14 to 18
1100-1150 10 to 14
1050-1100 7 to 10
1000-1050 5 to 7
950-1000 4 to 5
900-950 2 to 4
850-900 2 to 2
800-850 1 to 2
750-800 1 to 1
700-750 1­ to 1
650-700 1­ to 1­
600-650 — to 1­

 

While the chart above displays data on composite score ranges, the next chart shows percentiles by section score ranges for the class of 2014. The Math section is slightly more competitive than the other sections, meaning that a student would have to achieve a higher score in Math to be in a top percentile. For example, a score of 750 translates to 97th percentile in Math, but 98th percentile in Critical Reading. A score of 700 is 93rd percentile on Math versus 95th on Reading, and a 600 is 75th on Math versus 80th on Reading.

 

Section Score Ranges and Percentiles for the Class of 2014 

Section Score Range SAT Reading Percentiles SAT Math Percentiles SAT Writing Percentiles
780-800 99 to 99 99 to 99 99 to 99+
760-780 99 to 99 97 to 99 99 to 99
740-760 98 to 99 96 to 97 98 to 99
720-740 97 to 98 95 to 96 97 to 98
700-720 95 to 97 93 to 95 96 to 97
680-700 93 to 95 90 to 93 94 to 96
660-680 91 to 93 87 to 90 92 to 94
640-660 88 to 91 83 to 87 89 to 92
620-640 84 to 88 79 to 83 86 to 89
600-620 80 to 84 75 to 79 82 to 86
580-600 75 to 80 70 to 75 78 to 82
560-580 70 to 75 64 to 70 73 to 78
540-560 64 to 70 59 to 64 68 to 73
520-540 57 to 64 52 to 59 62 to 68
500-520 50 to 57 45 to 52 55 to 62
480-500 44 to 50 40 to 45 48 to 55
460-480 37 to 44 33 to 40 41 to 48
440-460 31 to 37 27 to 33 34 to 41
420-440 25 to 31 21 to 27 28 to 34
400-420 19 to 25 16 to 21 21 to 28
380-400 14 to 19 12 to 16 16 to 21
360-380 10 to 14 9 to 12 12 to 16
340-360 7 to 10 6 to 9 8 to 12
320-340 5 to 7 4 to 6 5 to 8
300-320 4 to 5 3 to 4 4 to 5
280-300 3 to 4 2 to 3 2 to 4
260-280 2 to 3 1 to 2 2 to 2
240-260 1 to 2 1 to 1 1 to 2
220-240 1 to 1 1­ to 1 1 to 1
200-220 — to 1 — to 1­ — to 1

 

Most admissions officers consider SAT scores within a certain range to be more or less equal, rather than giving a significant advantage to a score that is higher than another by 20 or 30 points. Therefore score ranges and percentiles are particularly important pieces of data for students to consider when determining whether their SAT scores make them competitive candidates to their college(s) of choice.

Redesign Alert

The new SAT will be scored on a scale from 400 to 1600, with a maximum score of 800 for the Math section and 800 for Reading and Writing together. There will be no more point deductions for wrong answers.

Read more from the SAT Encyclopedia!

Further Reading

What Is a Good SAT Score? A Bad SAT Score? An Excellent SAT Score?

How Is the SAT Scored? Scoring Charts

Calculate Your SAT Target Score

 

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Rebecca Safier
About the Author

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.



Get Free Guides to Boost Your SAT/ACT
100% Privacy. No spam ever.

You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:

Twitter and Google+



Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!