New SAT Scores: Not as Simple as We Thought

Converting scores from the old SAT (out of 2400) to the new SAT (out of 1600) should be easy, right? The old SAT had 3 sections--each out of 800 points--and the new one has 2 sections--each out of 800 points. So multiply your old score by 2/3 and you get your new score. A 1500 on the old SAT would be a 1000 on the new SAT. A 1200 on the new SAT equates to an 1800 on the old SAT. Right? Isn’t this the way it should work?

WRONG, says the College Board. Yesterday, May 10th, they released a series of complicated concordance tables. The tables show, essentially, that higher scores are the new normal. The 1800 on the old SAT that we thought would be equivalent to a new SAT score of 1200? Actually equivalent to a 1290. The 1500 on the old SAT that we thought would be equivalent to a new SAT score of 1000? Actually equivalent to a 1090.

So what are the key takeaways here? First, don’t think comparing old and new SAT scores is as simple as multiplying by 2/3 (or 3/2). Make sure to consult a concordance chart. I’ve created a simplified version, which I’ve printed below and which is always available at PremierEdgePrep.com/resources. Also be careful when converting ACT scores to new SAT scores--make sure you are using an up-to-date concordance chart that reflects the College Board’s new scales. Second, if you’re a junior taking the new SAT or a sophomore beginning to prepare for it, don’t get too excited by what seems like a high score. Unfortunately, it’s not worth as much as it used to be.