Your SAT Score

One of the most common questions we get from students and parents is: "What does this score mean?"

The SAT is graded on a 2400-point scale, with the Math, Critical Reading, and Writing sections all being worth 800 points each. It is important to remember that the SAT returns scores on a bell-curve. This means that the median score on each section will always be close to 500 (the midpoint between 200 and 800), with a decreasing frequency of scores down to 200 and up to 800.

Your score report also includes percentile rankings. These let you compare your performance against students across the country. For instance, if you ranked in the 90th percentile on the Math section, you did better than 89 percent of other students, while 10 percent fared better than you.

The SAT Writing Section

Keep in mind that not all schools use the Writing section in the same way. Some elite schools that have traditionally required the SAT Writing Subject Test are using the SAT Writing section as a formal piece of the admissions process. Other schools have indicated that they will look at Writing section scores, but that they will not give them much, if any, consideration. These schools are primarily trying to get an understanding of the scores in conjunction with applications. A third group of schools is still on the fence and is waiting for more information to become available before making a decision.

As you refine your target school list based on your scores, you should ask schools how they will be using your Writing score.

Receiving Your SAT Score

You can usually expect to find your SAT scores online 2-3 weeks after your Test Day. The College Board offers a full listing of score availability dates. On the College Board site, you'll also find:

  • Your raw score and 200-800 point scaled score for the Math, Critical Reading, and Writing sections.
  • Your 0-12 essay sub-score.
  • Information about your responses including questions that you answered right, answered wrong, or omitted.
  • Your estimated percentile rank for college-bound seniors based on the test you took. (Note: Your percentile rank will help you understand how you scored in comparison to other test takers.)
  • A printable copy of your essay.

This information will also be sent to your home about 4-6 weeks after your Test Day so that you have an official score report. You can also use the College Board site and your official score report to confirm the colleges to which you sent your scores.

What's a Good SAT Score?

Test Section Average Score for the Class of 2008
Writing 494
Critical Reading 502
Math 515
Essay 7.2 (out of 12)

Taking the SAT More Than Once

If you got your dream score, congratulations! You can now get to work on your SAT Subject Tests, AP exams, and College Admissions. If you're not happy with your score, don't despair. Keep in mind that most students take the SAT more than once, and some even take it three times! Use the information in your score report to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and to hone your preparation for your next SAT.

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