SAT Subject Test Scoring

The SAT subject tests can be a bit of a mystery for a lot of students...Do I need to take subject tests?  Which ones are the best for me to take? Do all schools require subject tests?  How are the tests graded?

We've answered a few of these questions already in previous posts:

General Info -  

Comparison with AP tests -

But recently, we have had a lot of students who are curious about the scoring on the tests and what a 'guessing penalty' is! 

SAT Subject Test Scoring Basics

Subject tests are graded on a scale of 200-800, similar to how the subsections of the SAT are graded.  But the Subject Tests continue the guessing penalty, an old SAT tradition that they've since done away with on the general test. 

The College Board states that "The system takes the circles that you filled in and calculates your raw score. Basically, this is the sum of points you earned based on the number of questions you answered correctly, minus a fraction of the number of the questions that you answered incorrectly[.]"

The scoring breaks down as follows: 

  • + 1 point for correct answers

  • For wrong answers:

    • 1/4 point is taken away on 5-choice questions

    • 1/3 point is taken away on 4-choice questions

    • 1/2 point is taken away on 3-choice questions

  • No points are subtracted from blank answers

  • Final raw scores are rounded up if the score is 1/2 or more, and rounded down if it is less than 1/2

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