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Scoring Subject Tests

How SAT Subject Test scores are reported

The SAT score report contains useful information about a student's performance, including a comparison with scores of other test-takers in last year's college-bound senior class. Online score reports are supplemented with other tools to help students make decisions about taking high school courses, applying to college, and choosing a major.

High schools can choose from several delivery methods for individual student scores. The College Board also offers useful group reports for analysis of school- and district-wide SAT performance.

Score ranges and percentiles

Scores are approximations rather than precise measures of skill. Student performance is best measured by score ranges. The score range offers a better picture of a student's skill than a single score. College admission officers ask that ranges be included in score reports and accept students with a wide range of test scores.

Students, high schools, and colleges can compare performance on any Subject Test with the performance of other college-bound seniors by looking at percentile ranks listed on the score report. Read more about using score ranges and percentiles to compare scores.

How SAT Subject Tests are scored

SAT Subject Tests are scored in two steps:

  • The raw score is established
  • The raw score is converted to the College Board 200- to 800-point scaled score

Establishing the raw score

All questions on Subject Tests are multiple choice. To establish the raw score:

  • One point is added for each correct answer.
  • A fraction of a point is subtracted for wrong answers:
    • 1/4 point is subtracted for five-choice questions.
    • 1/3 point is subtracted for four-choice questions.
    • 1/2 point is subtracted for three-choice questions.
  • No points are deducted for unanswered questions.
  • The total points answered incorrectly are subtracted from the number answered correctly.
  • If the resulting score is a fraction, it is rounded to the nearest whole number—1/2 or more is rounded up; less than 1/2 is rounded down.

Converting the raw score to the scaled score

The raw score is converted to the College Board 200- to 800-point scaled score by a statistical process called equating. 

Equating adjusts for slight differences in difficulty between test editions and ensures that:

  • A student's score does not depend on the specific test edition she took.
  • A student's score does not depend on how well others did on the same edition of the test.

The scaled score is reported to colleges. Total test scores for all Subject Tests are reported on the College Board 200- to 800-point  scale.

How are the Subject Test subscores computed?

Subject Test subscores are used to compute the total score, but their individual contributions (or weights) are not all the same.

For some Language Tests, subscores are provided for listening, reading, and usage.

  • For the French, German, and Spanish with Listening Tests, the reading subscore counts twice as much as the listening subscore.
  • Subscores for the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tests are weighted equally.

Customized Entry Pages

Related Materials

Go to the SAT Downloads and Materials Ordering page to view and print these and other related materials:

  • Guidelines for the Release of Data
  • Score Reporting Options for High Schools
  • Electronic Data Layout for High Schools
  • Score Reporting Options for Higher Ed Institutions
  • Electronic Data Layout for Higher Ed Institutions

Coming in Spring 2016: The Redesigned SAT

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