Superscores, Subscores, Score Choice, Oh My! Understanding Your SAT Scores Pt. 2

In a previous post, we explained subscores, superscores, and score choice. Now, here a few real-life examples!

Let’s say John made a 1320 on his first SAT, with a 620 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and a 700 on math. He took the SAT again at a later date and made a 1400, with a 750 on Evidence based Reading and Writing, and a 650 on math.

John’s First SAT John’s Second SAT
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Subscore 620 750
Math subscore 700 650
Total score 1320 1400


Although John’s highest score on the SAT is a 1400, If John’s tests are superscored, his score can actually be reported as a 1450.

What does it mean to superscore? John’s highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score, out of 620 (the first SAT he took) and 750 (the 2nd SAT he took), is 750. His highest Math section score, out of 700 (the first SAT he took) and 650 (the 2nd SAT he took), is 700. If John sends colleges both his tests, superscoring adds that 750 and 700 together to give John a score of 1450 (higher than the 1320 and 1400 he got on his tests!)

Next, let’s look at Lisa. Lisa made a 1320 on her first SAT and a 1500 on her second, with the score breakdown below:

Lisa’s First SAT Lisa’s Second SAT
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing subscore 620 750
Math subscore 700 750
Total score 1320 1500


If Lisa were to send both of her tests to a college that superscores the SAT, then her superscored score would be the same as her score for her second SAT because she did better on both the Reading and Math sections. Thus, if Lisa has a choice, she can choose to only send one test (rather than sending both and having them superscored, like John).

If you did better on different sections on different tests (like John), consider sending in both tests if the institution superscores. If you did better one test on all fronts (like Lisa) , no need to worry about losing any advantage gained from superscoring—there isn’t any!

Important: Different institutions have different score reporting policies that can be found in CollegeBoard’s official  “SAT Score-Use Practices” document.  Score reporting policies vary. For example, some colleges require you to send all of your SAT scores, ever. In that case, fancy score tables would be useless for Lisa and John because they would have to send all their scores anyway! Make sure to find out the policy of your specific institution(s) by either referencing the document above or by contacting your institution(s) directly.

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