How to Calculate SAT Score

Want to calculate your score on an SAT practice test? Or are you looking at your official score report and wondering what the numbers actually mean? Here are five easy steps to help you master the mysteries of SAT scoring.  

What is a Composite Score?

Your overall SAT score–also known as your Composite Score–falls somewhere between 400 and 1,600. It’s the sum of your two scaled Section Scores (We’ll look at those in detail below). So, if you received a 640 on Math and a 700 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, your Composite Score would be 1,340.

But how do you figure out your two Section Scores and, thus, your overall SAT score? Here are the five steps…

Step One: Add Up Your Raw Scores

On each section of the SAT, the number of questions you get right equals your “raw score.” You get one point for each correct answer. No points are deducted for wrong answers, which is why you should always mark a response for every question on the test, even if you have to guess.

As you know, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing includes two parts: Reading and Writing & Language. You’ll want to determine your raw score separately for each of those sections.

What’s the highest possible raw score for each of the two parts? That depends on how many questions the individual sections contain. The Math section has 58 questions, so the highest possible raw score on Math is 58. Reading has 52 questions, so 52 is the maximum raw score there. Writing & Language contains 44 questions, so on that section a perfect raw score would be 44.

Let’s say you count up your correct answers and find that you’ve achieved the following raw scores:

  • Math: 46
  • Reading: 39
  • Writing & Language: 42

(Don’t worry about the essay for now)

What’s next?

Step Two: Transform Your Raw Scores Into Scaled Scores

Next, you’ll take each one of those three raw scores and convert it into a scaled score.

No matter how careful the test-writers are, some versions of the SAT end up being a little tougher (or easier) than others. To compensate for those differences, the College Board adjusts the significance of raw scores from one test to the next. They do that by  converting them into scaled scores ranging anywhere from 200 to 800. If you took the test twice and earned a raw score of 53 on Math both times, you might end up with a scaled 740 in March and 750 in June, because the June Math section was slightly harder than the March one.

Your raw Math score gets transformed directly into a scaled Math score. Your raw scores for Reading and Writing & Language get combined into a single scaled score for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

The College Board doesn’t share details about the equating process it uses to arrive at scaled scores. If you want to convert your own scores, you’ll need to use a raw/scaled score conversion table. The table varies a little from one test to another, so you should try to use the table that comes with the practice test you’ve chosen. Otherwise, you can use any available table to get a pretty good idea of how your raw scores would translate into the 200-800 scale.

Here’s the conversion table that The College Board supplies for use with SAT Practice Test #1. Remember that the table for your own personal test will be a little different.

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

Step Three: Figure Out Your Scaled Math Section Score

To do this, find your raw Math score down the left-hand column of the conversion table, then read across to determine your scaled Math Section Score. If your raw Math score is 46, your scaled Math Section Score would be 670.

Step Four: Figure Out Your Scaled Reading and Writing & Language Section Scores

Here’s where we combine Reading and Writing & Language into one sleek, powerful Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score.

Remember, our two verbal raw scores are:

  • Reading: 39
  • Writing & Language: 42

Use the conversion table to transform each one of those into a scaled score:

Reading: raw 39 = scaled 32

Writing & Language: raw 42 = scaled 38

Looking at the chart, you’ll notice that the scaled scoring for these two sections only goes up to 40. That’s because cross-test scores are reported only on a scale of 10–40.

Now add those two scaled scores together:

32 + 38 = 70

Finally, multiply that sum by 10:

70 x 10 = 700

Voila! Your scaled Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score is 700.

Remember that the optional essay doesn’t affect your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score. If you choose to write one, it will be scored separately on a scale of 2-8 in each of three domains: Reading, Analysis, and Writing.

Step Five: Add Your Section Scores Together

Finally, you’ll take your two scaled Section Scores and add them together to get your overall Composite Score. In our example, we earned a Math Section Score of 670 and an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Score of 700, so our Composite Score on this SAT would be 1370.