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After more than two months of eagerly waiting, students who took the first new SAT on March 5th are finally receiving their scores. As is often the case when receiving important scores for a new exam, many may feel a little confused as to what to make of all the numbers.

The Two Most Important Numbers

The two most important numbers are the scores for “Evidenced Based Reading and Writing” and “Math” which are each out of 800. These scores are your SAT score. If you were to add them up, it would give your total score out of 1600.

If you took the SAT with the essay, you also have three different essay scores for “Reading” (how well you showed you understood the passage), “Analysis” (how well you analyzed the passage), and “Writing” (how well you crafted your response). Each of these sections receive a score from 2 to 8, making a perfect score 8/8/8. The College Board has been very clear that these are meant as three distinct scores and should not be added together.

Making Sense of the Reading and Writing Test Scores

In the interest of learning where you can improve from additional preparation, the three “Test Scores” could be helpful. Reading, Writing, and Math are each given scores out of 40. For math, you already know how you did out of 800, so this additional score out of 40 is unnecessary, but the breakdown of your performances in the Reading and Writing is what you would be concerned with. To understand how you did in Reading and Writing relative to Math, try using this formula. I’ll use 32 as a Reading test score for this example.

(Reading test score) x 20 = A score out of 800

32 x 20 = 640

By doing this, you can create Reading and Writing scores out of 800 which is a value that will make more sense since the traditional scale has always been out of 800.

How Do I Know If My Scores Are Good?

The new scores cannot easily be compared to old SAT scores. One would think that in maintaining section scores out of 800, the College Board would make it easy to compare scores across old and new SAT exams. This is emphatically not so. Fortunately the College Board has realized that everyone would be clamoring for a way to compare old and new scores and has created a conversion calculator. You can also find out how your new SAT score would compare to an ACT score.

How Do We Know These First Scores Are Valid?

Aside from the tremendous amount of research and testing the College Board has done over the past few years, there is another way the College Board can be confident that these inaugural redesigned SAT scores will be completely reliable and valid when viewed with SAT score 5 or 10 years from now. This is also the reason why students were kept waiting for over two months. The College Board can score answer sheets very very quickly and after receiving them, but it was important to have more data before they gave out scores. After all, perhaps the students were willing to sit for the very first new SAT were not a typical sample size. For this reason, the College Board didn’t give official March SAT scores until after hundreds of thousands of additional students took the second redesigned SAT exam given this past Saturday, May 7th. Data from this second test administration allowed the College Board to more accurately come up with the appropriate curves for the March SAT.

If you have any questions not answered by this post, please feel free to reach out to me.

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