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SAT Scoring Before March 2016

If you took the SAT before March 2016, you’re in the right place to find out how your test was scored.

If you took the SAT after March 2016, learn about scoring for the new SAT instead — there are a lot of differences.

To send your scores, old or new, to colleges and scholarship providers, go to Sending Scores.

Important:

Colleges Accept Both

If you took the SAT before March 2016 and you’re happy with the scores you have, you probably don't have to take the new test. Most colleges plan to accept scores from both tests for a few years, but you should confirm the policies of any colleges you’re applying to.

Getting Scores

Scores Online

Sign in to view scores.

Scores by Phone

You can get SAT scores by phone starting on the day they’re released online, but there’s an extra fee.

Who Else Gets Your Scores

When you registered for the test or afterward, you told us which colleges or scholarship programs you wanted us to send your scores to. They’ll get your score report shortly after you do. So will your high school.

Learn more at sending your scores.

If Your Scores Aren’t Online

Although most scores are available on the first score release day, a small percentage might not be. If your scores fall in this small percentage, you will see a message instructing you to check back at a later date.

Why Some Scores Are Delayed

Scores may be released later for reasons that include a late receipt of answer sheets, missing information on your answer sheet, information that is inconsistent with your registration information, or other uncommon conditions that flag your test for more attention. Also, if you took a makeup test later than the actual test day, your scores will be released later.

We understand that it can be frustrating if you don't see your scores when you're expecting them, and we appreciate your patience.

Paper Score Reports

Your paper score report will be provided to your high school. Students who register online and wish to receive a paper score report by mail in addition to the online score report must request it when they register.

If you registered by mail and do not have an active College Board online account, you will receive a paper score report. You can also get your SAT scores by phone by calling customer service, but there’s an additional fee.

Understanding Scores

SAT scores from tests given before March 2016 are reported on a scale from 200–800, with additional subscores reported for the essay (ranging from 2–12) and for multiple-choice writing questions (on a 20–80 scale).

SAT Subject Tests have not changed, and their scoring hasn’t either.

Important:

Wondering About the New SAT?

The SAT will be scored differently after January 2016. See how we score the new SAT.

Score Range

Your test score represents a snapshot in time. If you took the test multiple times, however, that number would likely be different on each test. This is why a score range may better represent your true ability; it considers multiple snapshots of your score instead of just one. Usually, scores fall in a range of roughly 30 to 40 points above or below your true ability. Colleges know this, and they receive the score ranges along with your scores to consider that single snapshot in context.

Average Scores

Average (or mean) scores are based upon the most recent SAT scores of all students of a particular graduating class.

Percentiles

Percentiles compare your scores to those of other students who took the test. Say, for example, your reading score is 500. If the state percentile for a score of 500 is 47, then this means you did better than 47 percent of the state's college-bound seniors.

Percentiles are based on the most recent scores earned by students in the previous year's graduating class who took the SAT during high school. For the SAT, you will see percentiles both for the total group of test-takers and for your state. Your percentile changes depending on the group with which your scores are compared. Because the total group is larger and more diverse than the state group, your total and state percentiles may differ.

View SAT percentile ranks (.pdf/964 KB).

SAT Writing Section Subscores

For tests given before March 2016, raw scores for the multiple-choice writing section were converted to scaled scores that were reported on a 20–80 scale. That SAT also included a required 25-minute essay.The multiple-choice writing section counted for approximately 70 percent, and the essay counted for approximately 30 percent of your total raw score, which was used to calculate your 200–800 score. 

Learn about SAT essay scoring before March 2016.

How to Compare Scores

  • With other test-takers: Percentiles will give you a sense of how well you scored compared to your peers. A difference of at least 60 points between two students' scores indicates a true difference in ability.
  • Between critical reading, writing, and mathematics: Because the average SAT score for both critical reading and mathematics is near the midpoint of the score scale, it’s easy to compare the two. However, when comparing scores, remember that your true score is not a single number — you may score slightly higher in one area but still be equal in both skills.
    To consider one score better than another, there must be a difference of 60 points between the critical reading and mathematics scores, 80 points between the critical reading and writing scores, and 80 points between the mathematics and writing scores.
  • Between question types: Knowing how you performed on each type of question can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. A difference of 20 or more points between percentile ranks indicates that you have more skills in one area than another.

Calculating SAT Scores Before March 2016

This is how your SAT was scored if you took it before March 2016. SAT Subject Tests have not changed, and their scoring hasn’t either.

Important:

Wondering About the New SAT?

The SAT will be scored differently after January 2016. See how we score the new SAT.

 

Raw Scores 

Your raw scores were calculated for each section based on the number of questions you got correct or incorrect, or that you omitted:

  • Correct answers: +1 point for questions you got right.
  • Incorrect answers (multiple-choice): -1/4 point subtracted.
  • Incorrect answers (student-produced response math questions): 0 points subtracted.
  • Omitted: 0 points subtracted for questions you didn’t answer.

Equating

Your raw score was converted to a scaled score (reported on a 200-800 scale) by a statistical process called equating. Equating ensures that the different forms of the test or the level of ability of the students with whom you are tested do not affect your score. Equating makes it possible to make comparisons among test-takers who take different editions of the test across different administrations.

The Unscored Section

If you took the SAT before March 2016, your test included a 25-minute section that didn’t count toward your final score. It may have been a critical reading, mathematics, or multiple-choice writing section. We did this because it helped us assess questions for next year's test, and it ensured that the SAT accurately reflected your skills. Also, the unscored section helped us account for minor differences in difficulty across all the different forms of the test.

Essay Scoring

The SAT given before March 2016 included a required 25-minute essay. Learn about SAT essay scoring before March 2016.

Score Delivery Options for Educators

Important:

Score Delivery Options

Get information about electronic score delivery of the redesigned SAT:

High schools and institutions of higher education can choose one or more of the following delivery options for student score reports:

  • Internet score delivery provides secure electronic transmission of student records quickly and easily. Internet delivery requires an email address, Internet access, and encryption software on either the recipient PC or mainframe. Additional technical information will be sent to you if you choose this option.
  • Paper score reports can be received in addition to, or instead of, electronic (Internet) score delivery. These reports include the same student score information, but they do not have the added benefit of being in electronic format.

Scores from each administration at which the student took SAT tests are included, covering up to six dates for the SAT and an additional six dates for the Subject Tests. All score-reporting options contain student-identifying information, current and previous test scores, percentiles, score ranges, and the most current responses to the SAT Questionnaire.

For high schools: Scores from each administration at which the student took SAT Program tests are included, covering up to six dates for the SAT and an additional six dates for the SAT Subject Tests. All score-reporting options contain student-identifying information, current and previous test scores, percentiles, score ranges, and the most current responses to the SAT Questionnaire.

For institutions of higher education: The method of score delivery (e.g., paper or electronic score reports) is not affected by Score Choice™. However, the College Board no longer automatically reports cumulative scores (a student's entire record of SAT scores) to institutions designated to receive them. If a student tests again or takes a different test (e.g., SAT, then SAT Subject Tests) and requests that the College Board send a new score report to an institution, the second report will include only the unique set of scores selected by the student, which may or may not contain scores previously sent.

See Score Choice for more information. To receive one or more reporting options or to change the reporting option you receive currently, contact Code Control at 609-771-7091. View mailing dates to find out when reports are sent.

Additional Free Score Reporting Materials for High Schools

  • Score labels contain current scores and student-identifying information, and can be affixed to a student's paper file. Labels are sent several weeks after each administration. (See below for more information.)
  • Rosters contain current and previous test scores and student-identifying information. They are sent about five weeks after each administration. Be sure to check your roster carefully because the data are used to calculate your school's average SAT scores for graduating seniors. If students are listed who should not be on your roster, please contact the Counselor Help Line immediately to make corrections.
  • Cumulative rosters contain current and previous test scores and student-identifying information:
    The midyear roster contains cumulative score data from mid-July through January and is sent five to six weeks after the January administration.
    The end-of-year roster contains data for a 12-month period — July through June — and is sent approximately five to six weeks after the June administration.

Sending Scores to Colleges

Find out why most colleges require official score reports sent by the College Board and why listing SAT scores on school transcripts is not recommended. Go to Score Reports and Best Practices.

Online Essay Viewing for Colleges

Admission officers are able to access individual student essays online. For each official score report they receive, colleges have free access to images of essays from every regular administration taken by the student to date. To view essays, you will need to sign in to SAT Essay View using your institution's username and password. For questions about your sign-in information, contact Code Control at 609-771-7091. Once you've signed in, you can:

  • View essays individually
  • Arrange to download essays to your system in batches (explained below)

Colleges will only have access to the essays of those students from whom they received official score reports. Please encourage students to send official score reports to your institution.

Essay Information

Colleges receive the following information, whether accessing essays individually or in batches:

  • Student identifying information: Every essay image is accompanied by the student's name and address. A unique essay locator ID is included on the paper and electronic score reports sent to colleges.
  • Essay prompt information: Every essay image from a regular test administration is accompanied by the essay prompt and assignment to which that student responded.
  • Essay scores: Institutions can select whether to hide or to display scores with the image of the essay. View the Essay Scoring Guide. 

Batch Essay Delivery 

Colleges can choose to receive all student essays in batch files. An email address is required. To sign up:

  • Indicate that you want to receive batch delivery of essays on your SAT Program Score Reporting Options Form (sent over the summer).
  • Contact Code Control at 609-771-7091.

Batch essay delivery also includes:

  • The choice of receiving large batch essay files (up to 500 essays) or small batch essay files (up to 100 essays).
  • A control file that gives a complete index file to let you determine which students' essays can be found in each PDF file. You can use this control file to upload essay images automatically into a database.
  • Individual index in each PDF file that indicates each student's name and page number of their essay. View a sample index file (.txt/1K).

Accessing Batch Files

Batch essays are available for download in PDF format after each SAT administration. You access batch essay files in much the same way you access individual essays:

On the screen, you will see a list of your batches by test administration or by the week in which they were sent. Each contains the batch essay files from that SAT administration or from that week. You will receive an email when a batch of essays is available for download.

On-Demand Essay Delivery 

Colleges can customize the batch of essays you access to only include the essays the college wants to see. The process has two steps:

  • Creating and submitting a list of essays to download
  • Logging back on later to download the essays

Customized essay batches are created each night and are usually available the following day.

Creating the Essay List

You request batches of essays in much the same way you access individual essays:

  • Sign in to SAT Essay View
  • Click the link to "Request a batch of essays"
  • Provide your list of desired Essay Locator IDs (one by one, or copied and pasted from a text-only file)

Up to 3,000 essays can be requested in one batch. After submitting your request, you will receive a confirmation message with an essay batch number. You will also receive a confirmation email of the essay batch request sent to the email address on record for your institution. Save your batch number for accessing the file once it has become available.

Downloading Essays

Sign in again the next business day to download any batch files requested that have been successfully generated. The files will be individual PDF files in zipped format. Along with the batches of students' essays, you will receive:

  • A control file that gives a complete index file to let you determine which students' essays can be found in each PDF file. You can use this control file to upload essay images automatically into a database.
  • An individual index in each PDF file that indicates each student's name and page number of their essay. View a sample index file (.txt/1K).