Many people ask us “How do I understand SAT subject test scores?”  The most important thing to know is that your final score, which is called your scaled score, can range from 200 – 800 (800 being a perfect score.)  The second thing to know to understand SAT subject test scores is that there is a raw score in addition to a scaled score. 

SAT ConfusionThe raw score is similar to the regular SAT in that you get 1 point for each question you answer correctly and you lose ¼ of a point for every question you answer incorrectly.  (If you omit a question, you neither gain nor lose points.)  Your raw score is then converted to your scaled score. 

Another way that you can understand SAT subject test scores is that the College Board will also tell you what percentile you scored in.  Your percentile is simply the percentage of students who took an exam who scored lower than you.  For example, if Joe Williams scored in the 80th percentile, that means he scored higher than 80% of the students who took that exam. The percentile is meant to give students an easy way to understand how well they did in relation to other students. 

Students think that it is difficult to understand SAT subject test scores but it is not.  To summarize, a student gets a raw score based on how many questions they answered correctly and incorrectly and then that raw score is converted to a scaled score that will fall somewhere between 200 and 800.