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Scoring the SAT II Subject Tests
Please Note:
The last administration of the SAT II Writing was on 1/22/05. Beginning 3/12/05, parts of the SAT II Writing test will be included in the New SAT. You should be studying the New SAT book. Go there!
Scoring the SAT II Subject Tests
There are three different versions of your SAT II 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.
Because SAT II Writing contains an essay portion in addition to multiple-choice questions, the raw score is calculated differently than it is for most SAT II tests. Since this chapter of the book is an introduction to all SAT II tests, we’ll describe the usual way that raw scores are calculated; in the next chapter we’ll discuss the specifics of how to calculate the SAT II Writing raw score.
For most SAT II tests, 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 incorrect answer.
  • 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 1/4, and subtract this value from the number of right answers.
raw score = # of correct answers – 1/4# of wrong 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 Zebulon, and he received a score that placed him in the 37th percentile. That percentile tells Zebulon 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 about.
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.
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