Scoring the SAT II Subject Tests
There are three different interpretations of your SAT
II Math IIC 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” takes your raw score and compares
it to the rest of the raw scores in the country for the same test.
Percentile scores let you know how you did on the test in comparison
to your peers. The “scaled score,” which ranges from 200 to 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 see your SAT II raw score because the raw
score is not included in the SAT II score report. But you should
understand how it is calculated, since this knowledge can affect
your strategy on the test.
A student’s raw score is based entirely on the number
of questions that student answered correctly, incorrectly, or left
blank. A correct answer earns one point, an incorrect answer results
in the loss of a quarter of a point, and no points are given for
a question left blank.
Calculating the raw score is easy. Simply add up the number
of questions you answered correctly and the number of questions
answered incorrectly. Then multiply the number of wrong answers
and subtract this value from the number of right answers.
In the chapter called Content and Format of the SAT II
Math IIC, we’ll discuss how the rules for calculating a raw score
affect strategies for guessing and leaving questions blank.
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. Say, for example, you had a friend named Évariste Gaulois who
received a score that placed him in the 79th percentile. His percentile
score tells him that he scored better on the Math IIC than 78 percent
of the other students who took the same test. It also means that
21 percent of the students taking that test scored as well or better.
The Scaled Score
The scaled score takes the raw score and uses a formula
to place it onto the standard SAT II scale of 200 to 800. 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 will 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 on different editions of the same test.
A raw score of 33 on the February 2002 Math IIC might scale to a 710
while a 33 in June 2002 might scale to a 690. These differences
in scaled scores exist to accommodate for differences in difficultly
level and student performance. The difference in the curve for various
versions of the same test will not vary by more than 20 points or