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SAT Scoring

SAT Scoring

Many students and parents know the basics of how the SAT is scored, but those basics alone simply aren’t enough information to maximize scores on the test. Students who understand exactly how questions are scored and how those scores lead to overall results can approach the SAT strategically and confidently, so we would like to share some essential information about SAT scoring.


1. SAT Scoring Overview—What Does 2400 Really Mean?
2. Section-by-Section Scoring Information
3. GLC’s Approach to SAT Scoring


SAT Scoring Overview—What Does 2400 Really Mean?

The SAT carries a maximum possible score of 2400, with each section (Critical Reading, Math, and Writing) scored on a 200-800 point scale. But how are these scores actually calculated?

  • Each Correct Answer Scores 1 Point. Students receive 1 point in their “raw score” for each correct answer to a multiple-choice or free-response question on the SAT.
  • Incorrect Multiple Choice Responses Lose Points. Students lose 1/4 of a point for each incorrect response to a multiple-choice SAT question. This has important implications for elimination and guessing strategies on the SAT.
  • Blank Responses Gain Zero Points. Students do not earn any points for questions left blank, but they also avoid the 1/4 point penalty for incorrect responses.
  • The Essay is Different. The timed essay is a major component of the Writing test, and it is evaluated on a holistic scale of 1-6 by two readers, leading to a possible score ranging between 2-12. This score is then factored into the overall Writing section score, along with the multiple-choice grammar and usage questions.
  • The Raw Score Converts to a Scaled Score. There aren’t 2400 questions on the SAT, so how can students even achieve a 2400? The points earned in a student’s raw score are converted to a scaled score for each section (between 200-800). Those scaled scores are then combined for a total score ranging from 600-2400 for the entire SAT. Raw scores may convert to slightly different scaled scores from test to test, based on each test’s difficulty and students’ overall performances on each test.


Section-by-Section Scoring

While each SAT section generally has an average score around 500 points, there is some minor variation across the Critical Reading, Math, and Writing sections. The table below outlines recent national averages for each section:

SectionAverage Score
Critical Reading502


GLC’s Approach to SAT Scoring

Even the smartest students can miss out on points on the SAT when they don’t understand exactly how it’s scored. GLC’s SAT curriculum gives students the information, individual attention, and targeted feedback they need to build test-taking confidence and maximize their SAT scores.


Score-Boosting Strategies

Students who understand what to do on the SAT generally score well, but students who understand how the SAT is graded score the best. Our proven program—a local leader in Northern Virginia and Charlottesville for the past 16 years—teaches each student the ins and outs of SAT scoring so he/she knows how to eliminate unlikely answer choices, make educated guesses, and turn the test’s scoring rules into an advantage.


Targeted Feedback

The SAT tests a wide variety of Critical Reading, Math, and Writing topics across a test that lasts nearly four hours. This makes improving on the SAT seem daunting for many students, which is why we emphasize data-driven feedback that pinpoints each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Our diagnostic tests help students and parents track progress and identify areas where a bit of additional attention might yield huge improvements on the SAT.


Individual Attention

The lack of individual attention is the major weakness of many SAT classes, and it’s something that we set out to rectify from the very beginning. Twice a week, our SAT students have the opportunity for individual work with our instructors in our Study Lounges. These offer great opportunities for students to receive clarification on tough questions, shore up areas of weakness, and learn effective strategies from teachers who know how to succeed on the SAT.


At the end of the day, students prepare for the SAT because they want to boost their scores. Our students improve by an average of 260 points! Click the button below to learn more about our program, view class schedules, or register for SAT Classes.


SAT Success at GLC!

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