How the SAT Is Scored

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A lot happens after test day to ensure that your test is scored fairly and accurately.

Secure Delivery

After you turn in your answer sheet, it is carefully tracked until it's delivered to our processing center.

Scanning and Analysis

Your answer sheet is scanned and the resulting file of answers is analyzed by our system. The system takes the circles that you filled in and calculates your raw score. Because there’s no penalty for guessing, your raw score is the number of questions you answered correctly.


We monitor the scanning accuracy of SAT answer sheets through several quality assurance checks, including alignment checks and double scanning of documents.

Here’s what you can do to make sure your answer sheet is scanned accurately:

  • Use a No. 2 pencil and a soft eraser. Do not use a pen or mechanical pencil.
  • Make sure you fill in the entire circle darkly and completely.
  • If you change your response, erase as completely as possible.

SAT Essay Scoring

Essays are scanned and then scored independently by two qualified scorers. We ensure consistent, high-quality evaluation through ongoing training of essay scorers and the use of uniform standards. This means that:

  • The training process for readers continues even after they initially qualify.
  • The accuracy and fairness of the readers are evaluated regularly and frequently.
  • Scoring leaders review readers' scoring of selected essays, and provide feedback via phone and the web when appropriate.
  • Web-based scoring enables leaders to monitor readers in real time, informed by reports on inter-rater reliability and other statistics.

Learn how readers score the new SAT Essay or find out about essay scoring before March 2016.

Conversion to Scaled Score

Your raw score is converted to a scaled score of 200 to 800 points, the score you see on your score report. We use a process that adjusts for slight differences in difficulty between various versions of the test (such as versions taken on different days).

We do this to make sure there’s no advantage in taking the test on a particular day. A score of 400, for instance, on one day’s test means the same thing as a 400 on a test taken on a different day—even though the questions are different.

Score Release

If you registered for the SAT online or you registered by mail and set up a College Board account, you’ll get an email telling you how to sign into your online score report when scores are ready.

Your score report includes a detailed breakdown of your scores, information about what your scores mean, and how your scores compare to those of other test-takers. You'll be able to see your essay online if you took the SAT with Essay.

Find out when to expect scores.

Learn how to interpret scores.

Scores Delivered to Schools and Colleges

If you chose score recipients before scores were released, those colleges and scholarship programs will get your score report shortly after you do. Your high school, district, and state will be able to see your scores online, too.

Learn how to send scores.