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Sat Writing Raw Score With Essay Checker

The SAT, which is used to assess college and career readiness, is often the most significant standardized test you take as a high school student. Most (though not all) colleges require that applicants submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT in order to be considered for acceptance. Your scores, combined with your overall academic profile, essays, and recommendations, will weigh into the admissions committee’s final decision about your application. While a strong SAT score alone won’t get you into a college, a weak score can certainly exclude you from competitive schools.


For this reason, it’s important that you spend some time learning to take the test. Although you might be a strong student who generally grasps new concepts easily, taking a standardized test is a different skill set and your subject-matter knowledge will only go so far. You will also need to consider the test format, pacing, and scoring process to fine-tune your test-taking strategy.


The SAT was recently redesigned, and its new structure consists of two required sections and one optional section. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the test contains both a Reading test and a Writing and Language test, which contribute to your overall Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score. The Math section of the test contains a Math – No Calculator test and a Math – With Calculator test. These two scores combine to form your overall Math score. There is also an optional Essay portion of the new SAT.


To learn more about the new SAT format, check out the Khan Academy’s video summary.


Although you will need to prepare specifically for each section of your SAT, considering the unique structure, content, and skills required for each, there are also some strategies that can be applied universally to both the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and the Math section. (Because it is entirely writing-based, the Essay section requires a different set of strategies altogether.)


For five simple strategies that you can use on any part of your required SAT, read on.

1. Learn the Directions Ahead of Time

No matter how strong a test-taker you are, time-saving strategies allow you to focus more on the content of the test and less on the time constraints. Saving a precious minute or two across the course of a section could allow you the time to answer two more questions, check your work, or revisit a particularly challenging question.


Lucky for you, there is a very easy way to save yourself a minute or two on each section of the test, and that is by memorizing the directions ahead of time. The directions on each section of the SAT are the same every time it’s administered. Not only that, but they’re also the same directions as those on the official SAT practice tests. You don’t need to memorize them verbatim, but knowing what each section of the test is asking you to do will maximize your efficiency on test day.


For example, you should know how to complete the grid-in questions on the math test. You should know how to find embedded questions in the text of the Writing and Language passages. You should know which formulas are available in the reference sheet for the math section. You should know what the instructions for the Reading test are asking you to do. These are all things you can learn ahead of time, and waiting until the test to re-read them and clarify your thinking will eat into time that most test-takers can’t afford to lose. Do yourself a favor and know the gist of every section before you enter the exam room.


2. Have a Game Plan for Your Target Score

First of all, you need to have a target score in mind for both the Math portion and the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion of the SAT. For more information about how to select a realistic target score that’s within the range of scores feasible for acceptance at the colleges you intend to apply to, check out CollegeVine’s What Parents Need to Know About SAT and ACT Studying Prep, or contact one of the expert advisers available through the CollegeVine Mentorship Program.


Once you have a target score in mind, figure out what you’ll need to do to achieve it. That doesn’t mean studying quadratic equations or grammar rules, though it might ultimately include those things. What that means specifically is that you will need to know the raw score most likely to yield the converted score you’ve set as your target. This isn’t a precise science, since each SAT is scored slightly differently depending on its difficulty, but you can get a general idea of how many questions you can afford to get wrong on each section by looking at raw score conversion charts.


Start with the raw score conversion chart available for the official SAT practice tests. It can be found on page seven of the booklet, Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #1. A quick glance through this chart will reveal that in order to achieve a perfect 800 on the math test, you cannot miss any questions. To score a 750, you can miss four questions. To score a 750 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, you can miss up to nine questions on the Reading section, as long as you don’t miss any on the Writing section, or you can miss up to six questions on the Writing section, if you don’t miss any on the Reading section. Of course, there are all sorts of combinations in between.


Familiarize yourself with this chart to get a general idea of the raw score you’ll need to achieve to get the converted score you want, but also know that these numbers might change very slightly from test to test. Use this knowledge to help shape your game plan for test day. If you know you want to score a 750 on the Math section, you can miss up to four questions. That means if you come to a question that seems nearly impossible, you can make your best guess and move on to the next question up to four times before you need to really worry about your score. Using this strategy means that you’ll have more time to focus on getting the easier questions correct and double-checking your work without totally jeopardizing your score or time management.


3. Check Your Pace

The SAT is a quick-paced exam. There is not a single section of the test that allows for more than 90 seconds per question, and much of the test requires you to move at a pace closer to 60 seconds per question. In addition, there are lengthy passages to read, graphics to interpret, and formulas to determine. Simply put, you will need to stay on top of your pace if you’re going to finish everything with time to check your work.


To accomplish this, first make sure that you have a watch. Although most testing sites will have a clock in the room, it’s not a guarantee, and you can’t be certain that you’ll be seated in a place where you can see it. Do yourself a favor and bring a watch to the exam so that you’ll know how much time is remaining at any given moment. Keep in mind, though, that a watch that makes any noise or serves any purpose other than keeping time is strictly prohibited, and using one could result in your test being confiscated and your scores being canceled.


In addition to having a watch, you should also have an idea of the pacing you need to keep for each section based on your performance on practice tests. If you know that you need six minutes at the end of the Reading section to review your answers, you will need to make sure that you are done with the third reading passage and its associated questions with 30 minutes remaining. Keep careful track of time during your practice tests to help determine the pace you’ll need to keep on each section.


You know your SAT score is important for college admissions and even things like scholarships, but how does your SAT score get calculated? I'll show the steps to calculating your final SAT score so you can get an accurate idea of how well you're doing on the exam.


Step 1: Determine Your Raw Scores

Your raw score is simply calculated using the number of questions you answered correctly.

  • For every question you answer correctly on the SAT, you receive one point
  • There is no penalty for guessing or skipping. 

The maximum possible raw score varies by section (and depends on the total number of questions asked). For example, for the Reading Test, there are 52 questions, so the maximum raw score is 52. If you answered all 52 questions correctly, you would have a raw score of 52. For Math, there are 58 questions. For Writing, there are 44 multiple-choice questions.

There is one essay, which is graded separately on a scale of 2-8 and is not factored into your composite score (your 400-1600 score); therefore, I will not be discussing it further in this article, but for more information, read our articles on the new SAT essay prompts and the SAT essay rubric.


Step 2: Convert the Raw Scores to Scaled Scores

The raw score is converted into the scale score (on the 200 to 800 scale for each section) using a table. This table varies by SAT test date. The table is used as a way to make sure each test is “standardized”. The table is a way of making “easier” SAT tests equal to the “harder” SAT tests. For instance, a raw score of 57 in Math might translate to an 800 on one test date and 790 on another.

For Math, you simply convert your raw score to final section score using the table. For the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score, there is an extra step. You get individual raw scores for the Reading Test and the Writing and Language Test. These two raw scores are the converted into two scaled test scores using a table. The two test scores are then added together and multiplied by 10 to give you your final Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score (from 200 to 800). I'll explain this more in-depth with examples below: 

You cannot know what the raw to scale score conversion will be in advance. While the exact raw to scale score conversion will vary by testing date, the College Board supplies this example chart in their new SAT Practice Test: 


Raw Score

Math Section

Reading Test
Writing and
Test Score


Note: this is just an example. The exact conversion chart will vary slightly depending on the individual test.

Why are Reading and Writing and Language listed as separate sections? Why are they graded from 10-40 instead of 200-800? As I mentioned briefly before, you get separate raw scores for the Reading and Writing and Language. You then take these two raw scores and convert them into two scale scores using the above table. For example, if you answered 33 correctly in Reading and 39 correctly in Writing and Language, your scale scores would be 29 and 35, respectively. 

These two scaled scores are then added together and multiplied by 10 to give you your final Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score (from 200 to 800). Continuing the above example, if your scale scores were 29 for Reading and 35 for Writing and Language, your final Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scaled score would be:

(29 + 35) x 10 = 64 x 10 = 640


Step 3: Take the Scaled Scores and Add Them Together

Once you have your scaled score for both the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections, you just add them together to get your overall SAT composite score.

For example, if you scored a 710 in Math and 640 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, your composite score would be 710+640 = 1350. 


How to Understand Your SAT Score Report

The College Board gives you the breakdown of your incorrect, correct, and omitted answers on your SAT score report in addition to your final scaled scores. See below excerpts from a real new SAT score report:



Note that on this test, the raw Math score was out of 57, not 58, points. This sometimes happens when a question on the test is deemed to be unfair or unanswerable and the SAT drops it from everyone's scoring.


For the Reading and Writing and Language sections on this SAT score report, this student’s raw scores were 52 and 42. These raw SAT section scores scaled to section scores of 40 (Reading) and 39 (Writing and Language), which translated to a 790 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Score:

(40 + 39) x 10 = 790

I'd like to emphasize that you will not be able to determine what the full table of raw to scaled scores conversion was from your score report. Instead, you will only be able to determine what your raw score was and see how it translated to your scaled score. 


What This Means for You

Once you have determined your target SAT score in terms of raw score, you can use it to determine your SAT test strategy options. We have plenty of resources to help you out. Once you know what SAT score you're aiming for and how far you are from that goal score, you can begin to develop a study plan, gather study materials, and get to work on raising your score!


If You Need Help Creating a Study Plan

How to Build an SAT Study Plan

How to Cram for the SAT

How Long Should You Study for the SAT?


If You Need More Study Materials

Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

The 11 Best SAT Prep Books

The Best SAT Prep Websites You Should Be Using


If You Want to Raise Your Score

The Best Way to Review Your Mistakes for the SAT

How to Get an 800 on SAT Reading

How to Get an 800 on SAT Math



What’s Next?

Want to rock the SAT? Check out our complete SAT study guide!

Want to find free new 2016 SAT practice tests? Check out our massive collection!

Not sure what score to aim for on the new SAT? Read our guide to picking your target score.


Disappointed with your scores? Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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