The Impact Of Your SAT Scores: How They Are Calculated & What Do They Really Mean?

The Impact Of Your SAT Scores:  How They Are Calculated & What Do They Really Mean?

Many high school students may wonder how important their SAT scores are in relation to other parts of an accomplished academic portfolio. The short answer? They're important. These scores remain a relevant way to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you've gained in high school. Understanding your scores and the impact they can have on your future is crucial to preparing for your college admissions.

SAT scores are used in a variety of ways, including:

  • College admissions. Each college determines its individual admissions requirements and a vast majority of schools require students submit a set of scores from the SAT exam. These scores will provide additional achievement data and reflect the knowledge and skills you have gained in high school. 
  • Scholarships and grants. As the cost of higher education increases the competition for scholarships and grants has also skyrocketed. Your scores from the SAT exam can help you stand out from the crowd. Consider the scores as an additional piece of evidence that proves you are highly qualified for the award. 
  • Merit based financial aid. Some financial aid is based on need as well as merit. The professionals that award merit based financial aid are committed to ensuring that highly qualified students in need of financial assistance receive the support necessary to attend college. A strong SAT score will help your application if you plan to apply for any merit based financial aid. 

Don't fear the SAT exam. View this milestone as a way to boost your academic portfolio and demonstrate the knowledge you've gained in high school. Preparing for the SAT and utilizing your scores to your best advantage will help set you apart. 

Seek help in preparing for the exam. Because the SAT is a high stakes test you are wise to seek support in your preparation. Consider enrolling in a series of personalized tutoring sessions that are designed to match both your strengths and weaknesses. Huntington Learning Centers offer several different SAT preparation courses that are individualized to help you succeed. Spending the weeks and months leading up to the exam in intentional practice will ensure you are ready for test day.

Understand how the test is scored. When you receive your scores you will likely be focused on the total score and the individual scores of each subtest. Just as important is the process that was used to calculate the scores. You will receive one point for each correct multiple choice answer and will lose 1/4 point for each incorrect multiple choice answer. You will receive zero points for an omitted answer or an incorrect answer on a student-produced math response. The essay portion of the writing test is scored on a scale of 1 to 6  by two independent readers. The raw score for each subtest (math, reading, and math) is converted to a scaled score with 800 as the maximum score. These three subtest scores are combined for your overall score on the SAT.

Since one subtest can have a significant impact on your overall score it may be beneficial to seek targeted subject tutoring for specific academic areas. Huntington Learning Centers offer tutoring in a wide variety of subject areas, as well as test preparation, to ensure that their students are able to succeed on all portions of the SAT exam. 

Know the admissions policies of schools you are applying to. Every college in the country has a different admissions policy and set of criteria for determining which students are granted admission. Spend time researching the admissions policy for each school you are interested in. Determine what is required and the amount of emphasis placed on SAT scores. Each college takes into account high school grades, test scores, achievements, and activities but may place emphasis on certain parts of a student's admissions portfolio. 


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