Evaluate The SAT Scoring System

What Are High, Low and Average SAT Scores

Students usually receive their scores online, three weeks from the testing date or by mail five weeks after the testing date. Students who have registered online receive an online score report and those registering by mail receive hard copies of their score cards by post. However such test takers may also opt to receive their scores online. For more information about these scores and how the test is scored visit: http://sat.collegeboard.org/scores/how-sat-is-scored. The test is divided into three sections and each is scored separately. These individual or raw scores are then converted into scaled scores. The score card also informs test takers about their performance and how they have fared compared to other test takers nationally.

Scoring Practices

The scores are presented to you on a range of 200-800 points. Additionally, each section receives sub scores. The multiple choice questions are scored on a range of 20-80 points and the essay is scored on a range of 2-12 points which is scored by 2 readers, each of whom scores it on a range of 1-6 points. Each multiple choice question receives 1 point for a correct answer, loses 1/4th point for a wrong answer and receives no marking for an answer left blank. The exception to this scoring practice is the grid-in questions in the Math section where the test takers are not given any choices for answers and are required to solve the problem and fill in the solution. These questions receive no penalty for wrong answers like the multiple choice questions and receive a zero for wrong answers.

Equating Scores

The College Board states that these scores are aimed at reflecting a test takers true ability at the test. This also helps colleges compare applicants at the time of admissions. Since the test papers are said to vary with regards to levels of difficulty and test takers receive different editions of the test, equating helps ensure elimination of such differences thereby standardizing the level of abilities reflected by two individual test takers with two different editions of the test. This means that if two individuals receive a score of 500 points on two different editions, they display the same level of skills and abilities. Equating also helps ensure that a student’s scores do not depend on how well others scored on the same edition of the test. The test also contains a 25-minute section which does not account for your total score. This section helps the College Board to make up for minor differences between the different editions of the test and also helps them gauge the student’s abilities. It also provides a reasonable insight on the types of questions for the following year depending on the success rate and types of answers the test takers provide.

Score Ranges

The SAT scores comprise a compilation of individual test section scores viz Critical Reading, Writing and Math, each of which is scored on a range of 200-800 points. The average score or 50th percentile of the SAT score in the USA for 2011 was 1500 points. Also the scores can range from anything between 600 to 2400 points. The lowest score you could get would be 600 points and the highest 2400. Low, average and high scores depend upon how much you score in the individual sections of the test and depend upon how other test takers perform in the test. The average scores for Math, Critical Reading and Writing for test takers of 2011 are 514, 497 and 489 respectively. The score reports for test takers of 2011 show that the mean scores of test takers are as follows

SAT Scores Classification

Critical Reading



A+ (97-100)




A (93-96)




A- (90-92)




B (80-89)




C (70-79)




D,E or F (Below 70)




According to the data mentioned above you will have a high score if you have scored between A and A+, an average score if it is B or above and a low score below B. To understand more about percentile scores visit: http://sat.collegeboard.org/scores/understanding-sat-scores. Once you have understood about percentile scores, you will gain an insight on what the average scores are and accordingly be able to gauge the scoring ranges of high, average and low scores.