The New SAT Score Report presents a lot of data. The total score out of 1600 is the most important number to consider. Section scores, test scores, sub scores, and college readiness metrics all help identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. The more specific data on a Score Report can get overwhelming, however, it can be useful for making a prep plan.

The following infographic highlights the parts of the Score Report that parents and students should pay attention to as they make a plan for the future:

Score report example

Total score

Total score is the big one. It’s your student’s score out of 1600 points, the sum of your scores on both Evidence-Based Reading & Writing, and Math. Colleges pay attention to total score and individual section scores for admissions. Remember, the essay score (see below) isn’t included in the total score.

If your student took both the old (pre-March 2016) SAT and the new SAT, you can compare scores with the College Board’s SAT Score Converter.

Test scores

Test scores make up the two sections on the SAT. Reading, and Writing & Language make up the Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Section, each one accounting for 400 out of the section’s 800 total points. The Math test makes up the entirety of the Math Section, accounting for all 800 points. Your focus should be on where each of your student’s test scores fall on the red, yellow, and green graph. Scores in the yellow and red represent areas in which a student has not yet demonstrated proficiency, a.k.a. areas to focus on for future improvement.


Subscores represent the specific test content within Reading, Writing, and Math. Subscores provide an in-depth look at your student’s performance and are especially helpful for making a test prep plan. For example, if the Heart of Algebra subscore falls in the red area your student should prioritize algebra for the next test. By focusing on the weak area of algebra, your student will significantly move the needle on his or her total score.

Percentile scores

Percentile scores indicate what percentage of folks your student scored above. The College Board provides two percentiles. Neither are particularly important, but the SAT User Percentile gives you a look at how your student’s score relates to college-bound juniors and seniors.


The essay is broken down into three scores measuring reading, writing, and analytic proficiency respectively. Each score is measured on a scale between 2 and 8 points. Keep in mind that the essay is optional and doesn’t contribute to the total SAT score. Students should check with their target schools to determine if this section is important in each school’s admissions process.

So what’s next? After successfully interpreting the SAT Score Report, the next steps are to consider your score in relation to your target score, and make a plan for how to get there.