A brief explanation of SAT section scores, subscores, cross-test scores, essay scores and more!
SAT score components
The SAT is scored out of 1600. Subscores and cross-section scores help you evaluate your performance.
Flow chart showing the sections of the SAT and cross-test and subscores.
Composite score at the top, 400-1600, branches into two tests: Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and Math (200-800). Reading and Writing branches further into two sections: Reading and Writing and Language.
Below that are the cross-test scores: Analysis in Science and Analysis in History/Social Studies.
Below that are the subscores: Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Relevant Words in Context, and Command of Evidence for Reading and Writing. On the Math side, the subscores are Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Mathematics, and Problem Solving and Data Analysis.
On the far right is the score for the optional Essay, broken into 3 parts: Reading, Analysis, and Writing.
- Your total score is your overall score and is a combination of your section scores (see below). The highest composite score for the SAT is 800+800, or 1600. The average score is 1000.
- Your section scores are the individual scores for the two main sections of the SAT: reading/writing and math. Each of these sections is scored out of 800, and they are added together to get your overall score.
- The essay is optional and will not be factored into your overall SAT score. The essay scores will be shown separately on the report.
SAT score breakdown
In addition to the "top-line" scores, you also receive additional sets of scores that contain additional detail about how you performed on specific skill or subject areas.
To view your full score breakdown, choose "Show score breakdown" on your practice test results page, right below your total and section scores:
Image of a practice test score breakdown. The total in this example is 1080, with a 520 in Math and a 560 in Reading and Writing.
- Your test scores break out the reading/writing section into reading and writing and language and give you scores out of 40 points as well as a math test score out of 40 points. These are the basis for your section scores, and therefore your overall SAT score.
- Your two cross-test scores, each scored out of 40 points, are based on your performance answering questions that have science or history/social studies contexts. These subject-related questions appear both in Reading & Writing as well as Math.
- Your SAT subscores show how well you're performing in different skill categories, to give you a clearer picture of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Subscores can be within reading and writing and language (Command of Evidence and Words in Context), writing and language alone (Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions), and math alone (Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math).
Want to join the conversation?
- If i take my time on the test and i only answered about 3/4 of the test, will my total score be lower than if i were to have answered the whole test?(127 votes)
- I think it is wise to attempt as many questions as possible in the stipulated time interval. However, as stated, if you can not finish in the time provided, guess for the remaining questions.(322 votes)
- You must take the SAT in person, at specific location, at a specific time, so it must be on paper.(159 votes)
- I think that you can still take the online version, but you still have to go to a specific location at a specific time.(47 votes)
- Is there a risk that a poorly written essay will have a more negative effect than refusing to write one?(105 votes)
- It depends on quite a lot of factors. Some ivy league colleges require you to write an essay, while other colleges don't mind (but it does look better on your application if you have a good essay score). If you don't have faith in your writing skills and you aren't required to write one, I personally recommend you don't unless you haven't prepared for the SAT, which in that case, you could probably use a few bonus points. Best of luck to you!(15 votes)
- How many sat's is a person able to take?(39 votes)
- I'm just taking 2, but it really depends if you are happy with your score, and if your not I suggest doing all of the full SAT practice tests. The practice tests really help you get a feel for the test, and even after taking the test they still help; however try to take some written tests, I think you can print some off of the full SAT practice tests on here.
Hope this helps! :)(26 votes)
- Is the sat on paper?(23 votes)
- Typically the SAT is on paper, but now the College Board is working to make it digital as well. (See it for yourself! Link: https://www.collegeboard.org/membership/all-access/counseling-admissions-academic/college-board-partners-air-assessment-expand)(46 votes)
- Is it possible to write an essay during my test but not submit the essay scores to the colleges in case i get a bad essay scores?(49 votes)
- What are some practical ways of improving your scores(5 votes)
- I'm pretty confused about the SAT overall. They say you cant be penalized for having a wrong question, but getting the wrong question would still lower your score correct. Then how is that different than just penalizing me for the wrong answer?(10 votes)
- There is NO penalty for having wrong answers. It's true that your score is lower if you have wrong answers, but that's compared to if you have all answers correct. Again, there is NO penalty.(30 votes)
- Is Math 50% of the total score on the new SAT?(22 votes)
- I took the Khan Academy practice test and got a score of 1440 (750 on math, 690 on reading/writing). However, when I graded the questions using College Board's guidelines, I calculated a 1500 (760 on math, 740 on reading). I double-checked my calculations and the chart and couldn't find a mistake. Does Khan Academy grade the tests differently? Or are these questions easier than the ones asked on the SAT, causing me to lose more points when I get a question wrong?(6 votes)
- Khan Academy gives the correct score, as each test has a different curve, which Khan Academy takes into consideration. Some tests have a harsher or more generous curve depending on the difficulty of them.(9 votes)