New SAT Scores - How do they stack up?

College applications go from hard to more manageable once you get the SAT out of the way, but with the new SAT, what should you expect?? First, to know what’s going on, we need to know what’s changed, and second, we need to know how this affects college admissions decisions.


The “redesigned” SAT has some perks students will (probably) love. The writers have reduced the test from three sections to two - Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing - and no longer requires the essay portion. Though students take one less section of multiple choice, remember that the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing is really another way of saying that this new section combines Critical Reading and Writing, but with revised types of questions. Also, rather than five choices per question, students must choose between four, and the new scores do not penalize for incorrect answers. The test creators have announced that more frequently used vocabulary will appear on the new version, straying from the agonizing lexicon the old version required students to know. 


Now, the scores range from 400 - 1600, so most notably, we need to figure out how the old and new scores compare, and how these score differences could affect college admission decisions. College Board has announced that many colleges will be converting SAT scores (most likely the new SAT to old SAT scores) to try to make the fairest admissions decisions possible. They have provided a score converter for your convenience, but it’s a little tricky to understand. We’ll take a shot at deciphering it, but first, we must establish that College Board gives the disclaimer that these converted scores are just estimates. They cannot fully, exactly calculate the score you would have made if you took the different SAT version on the same day you went in to test. So with that in mind, let’s try to make sense of this:


First, let’s convert old SAT to new SAT scores… 

Critical Reading: 640

Math: 630

Writing: 660 

Total SAT score: 1930 


Because the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing combines critical reading and grammatical questions, the score converter estimates a score based on all three sections combined and a score based on just Critical Reading and Math. Overall (based on all three sections of the old SAT), the old SAT score of 1930 out of 2400 estimates to a new SAT score of 1370 out of 1600. Based on just Critical Reading and Math, the overall score is estimated at 1330. Each college will individually determine which sections they use to estimate a converted score.


New SAT to old SAT…

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 670

Reading: 34

Writing: 33

Math: 630

Math: 31.5

Total SAT score: 1300


Overall, the scores convert from the new score 1300 out of 1600 to the old SAT score of 1820 out of 2400. They estimate the breakdown of the old SAT scores as such: Critical Reading - 640, Math - 610, and Writing - 600.


Hopefully this has helped you get a grasp on how previous scores compare to the current. However, we do recommend that you continue checking with each college of your interest so that you know their standards for new scores. Otherwise, keep studying, take prep classes, and go conquer the new SAT!


Nicole Prinz / Imagine College Coaching