Understanding Your SAT Test Scores
June 7, 2017
On the SAT, “test scores” and “cross-test scores” will enter the lexicon of high schoolers. Students will receive a total of five scores—three test scores and two cross-test scores, each ranging from 10-40.
There are two sections on the SAT (Evidence-Based Reading and Math), each section ranging from 200-800 points. This means that the SAT total score will span a 400-1600 scale.
Here’s what you should know about the test scores and cross-test scores on the SAT:
What are SAT test scores vs cross-test scores?
While test scores represent performance across subsections of the exam (Reading, Writing & Language, and Math), cross-test scores represent performance on specific questions. For example, Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science scores will reflect how you perform on certain questions in Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing that are tied to History/Social Studies and Science.
How will these scores affect college admissions, if at all?
Little is known about how, or even if, colleges admissions officers will use the test and cross-test scores. It is possible that specialized college programs will be more interested in some test scores than others.
An engineering program, for example, might care more about your Math and Analysis in Science scores than your Reading, Writing, and Analysis in History/Social Studies scores. Or, some schools might use your test and cross-test scores to determine placement in your first year college classes.
Time (and college admissions officers) will tell, but one thing is clear: the SAT focuses on your analysis skills across Science, History, and Social Studies, regardless of the test section or subject. So it’s in your best interest to prepare for these types of questions.
So, what kinds of questions contribute to these scores?
On each test, there are 21 Reading questions, 6 Writing & Language questions, and 8 Math questions that contribute to the Analysis in History/Social Studies cross-test score. Similarly, there are 21 Reading questions, 6 Writing & Language questions, and 8 Math questions that contribute to the Analysis in Science cross-test score.
Now pretend you’re on the College Board. Can you guess the following question type below (Math, Reading, Writing)? Would the College Board be looking at Analysis in Social Studies/History or Analysis in Science? And while you’re at it, try to solve! The more practice, the better.
The table below shows the results of a sociological study identifying the number of males and females with and without college degrees who were unemployed or employed at the time of the study. If one person from the study is chosen at random, what is the probability that this person is an employed person with a college degree?
- A) 73/160
- B) 10/17
- C) 17/20
- D) 73/80
(Answer: Math, Analysis in History/Social Studies, Choice A)
To help all students achieve their highest SAT test scores, Kaplan offers a variety of SAT prep courses for different learning styles and preferences.