Scoring the SAT II Subject Tests
There are three different versions of your SAT II U.S.
History score. The “raw score” is a simple score of how you did
on the test, like the grade you might receive on a normal test in school.
The “percentile score” compares your raw score to all the other
raw scores in the country, letting you know how you did on the test
in relation to your peers. The “scaled score,” which ranges from
200–800, compares your score to the scores received by all students
who have ever taken that particular SAT II.
The Raw Score
You will never know your SAT II raw score, because it
is not included in the score report. But you should understand how
the raw score is calculated, because this knowledge can affect your
strategy for approaching the test.
A student’s raw score is based solely on the number of
questions that student got right, wrong, or left blank:
- You earn 1 point for every correct answer
- You lose 1/
4 of a point for each
- You receive zero points for each question left blank
Calculating the raw score is easy. Count the number of
questions you answered correctly and the number of questions answered
incorrectly. Then multiply the number of wrong answers by
and subtract this value from the number of right answers.
The Percentile Score
A student’s percentile is based on the percentage of the
total test-takers who received a lower raw score than he or she
did. Let’s say, for example, you had a friend named John Quincy
Adams, and he received a score that placed him in the 37th percentile.
This percentile score tells John that he scored better on the SAT
II than 36 percent of the other students who took the same test;
it also means that 63 percent of the students taking that test scored as
well as or better than he did.
The Scaled Score
ETS takes your raw score and uses a formula to turn it
into the scaled score of 200–800 that you’ve probably heard so much
The curve to convert raw scores to scaled scores differs
from test to test. For example, a raw score of 33 on the Math IC
might scale to a 600, while the same raw score of 33 on the Math
IIC will scale to a 700. In fact, the scaled score can even vary
between different editions of the same test. A
raw score of 33 on the February 2004 Math IIC might scale to a 710,
while a 33 in June of 2004 might scale to a 690. These differences
in scaled scores exist to accommodate varying levels of difficulty
and student performance from year to year.