The SAT is one of the most important tests you’ll ever take. Your chances of acceptance increase if you have a high SAT score. Colleges use SAT scores to determine whether or not you will be a good fit for their school.Before taking it, it’s important that you learn as much as possible about it, to minimize the number of unwanted surprises you’ll encounter when you take the test and receive your score report. This article is intended to provide an overview of one of the most basic aspects of the test: the scoring system.

**How Responses are Graded:**

For the Critical and Math sections of the test, you’ll be presented with multiple-choice questions that have only one correct answer. Obviously, your score increases with every correct answer. But there’s a catch that some test takers may be unfamiliar with, especially if they’re more familiar with the ACT test: each wrong answer lowers your score slightly.

The Writing section includes an essay prompt, which is graded by official readers according to a rubric.

**Sat Scoring Process**
You can think of the SAT scoring process as 3 separate steps:

(1) Calculate Raw Score

The raw score determine how well the student answered the multiple choice question. If you get the answer correct, you’re awarded 1 point. If you don’t get the answer correct, then you get .25 points subtracted from your score. If you don’t answer the question at all, then you get 0 points.

(2) Equate Raw Score

Next, the score is equated. This involves performing a complex statistical analysis on the results of your exam. This process makes sure that your final exam score will reflect your actual skills by taking into account the difficulty level of the exam you took compared to the difficulty level of the exams that all the other students took.

(3) Scaled Score or Final Score.

Once the equating process is done, your raw score is then converted to your scaled score or final score.

**Scoring Limits**Writing (200-800)

Math (200-800)

Critical Reading (200-800)

**Perfect Scores **
A perfect score is 2,400 points. Approximately 1,000,000 students take the SAT each year and on average, only 20 of them get a perfect score.

**What Final Scores Mean:**

The possible scores for each section range from 200 to 800. The 50th percentile score for each section is approximately 500, meaning half of test takers score above 500 and half score below. Therefore, the average total score on the test is approximately 1500.

More statistically inclined readers may be interested to know that the standard deviation for each section score is 100. This means that a score of 600, for example, is higher than 84% of all test takers. Approximately 68% of all test takers score between 400 and 600 on each section of the test.

That is a basic breakdown of SAT scoring. Of course, there’s more detailed information available through College Board, the company that makes the SAT. More in-depth information is also provided on the scoring report each test taker receives after their test is graded.