Home > ed > SAT Scoring - How SAT Test Scoring Works

SAT Scoring - How SAT Test Scoring Works

Before your child takes the SAT, it's a good idea for him or her to be familiar with how the SAT test scoring works. Here is the information your child needs to know.

Scoring for the Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Sections

  • Students earn 1 point for each correct answer
  • Students neither earn nor lose points for questions skipped or answered incorrectly
  • Scores for each section range between 200 and 800. Total scores range between 400 and 1600

There is no deduction for incorrect answers, which means students should answer every single question. For most sections of the SAT, questions get more difficult as you work through each type of question in a section (except for Evidence-Based Reading questions). This means that the first few questions will usually be easy for most students, and the last ones will usually be extremely difficult for all but the most advanced students. The SAT is designed to challenge students at every level, so the average student is going to face a lot of tough questions in a very short period of time.

How in the world are are students supposed to answer all of those questions?

By guessing! The goal is to answer as many questions correctly as possible, but there will always be some questions so difficult that students won't have a clue as to how to answer them.

One of the greatest advantages of taking a multiple-choice test like the SAT is that there is more than one way to arrive at the correct answer. In school, students are used to working and working until they find the correct answer or until they get frustrated and give up. On the SAT, there is another option: get rid of all the incorrect choices you can until you have just a few (or maybe even one) choice(s) remaining. It may sound strange, but identifying the incorrect choices on the SAT increases the chances of finding the correct answer.

For more information about SAT scoring, visit the College Board website.

Scoring for the Essay

The SAT essay requires students to use a passage as the basis for a well-written and well-thought out argument.

  • Two readers read and score each student's essay. Essays are scored based on three categories: Reading, Analysis, and Writing.
  • Each reader gives the essay a score ranging between a 1 and 4 points in each category, for a total possible score of 8 points.

For more information about SAT Essay scoring, visit the College Board website.

Related Topics

  • Find out why StudyPoint recommends viewing SAT scores before sending them to colleges. Visit our Sending SAT Scores page.
  • For more specific information about the SAT format and question types, visit our SAT Test page.

Share This Information:

StudyPoint is a national leader in one-to-one, in-home test prep and academic tutoring. The test-taking techniques and strategies taught in our SAT tutoring and ACT tutoring programs enable students to earn higher test scores and gain admissions to competitive colleges and universities. Our expert subject tutors and personalized lesson plans help students earn better grades and become happier, more confident students. Whether you're looking for a math tutor, or any other type of academic tutoring, StudyPoint can help. To learn about tutoring programs in your area, feel free to contact us for more information.

About StudyPoint

StudyPoint offers private, in-home SAT, PSAT, ACT & SSAT tutoring. Our staff also includes expert math, science, foreign language, and writing tutors.

Download for free!



Our newsletter is designed to offer you grade- and season- specific information that will help you navigate and stay on top of the college admissions process. We need high school graduation year to provide you with timely, relevant information. You can unsubscribe at any time.