All You Need To Know About SAT: Part 10

Written by: Helen Donohoe


***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.

In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***


SAT is crammed with numbers and statistics. Here are those you should know and understand:

raw score – the total of all three sections – math, critical reasoning, writing (this inludes the essay and grammar sections) – 800 each = 2400. A very good score is 2000 plus. Few students score in that range the first time they take the SAT. Sometimes it requires three tries.

percentile – from 0 – 99. This indicates where a student ranks in a random group of 100 test takers. If you are on the 90th percentile, that means that out of one hundred test takers, only nine scored higher than you. That makes you a very solid prospect for any college.

What the SAT does not refer to are percentages. However, you can use percentages yourself to gauge your progress as you study. For every ten questions you do, add up the total correct. If you have eight out of ten correct, that is 80%, which equates to a raw score of 1920. That will keep you in the safe zone. Anything less than eight out of ten means that you have your work cut out for you.

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