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Math, Reading, and Writing Concordances for the New SAT

By May 9, 2016 May 12th, 2016 SAT

In an ongoing effort to explain how to interpret new SAT scores, we have posted information on how to compare old SAT, new SAT, and ACT scores and what mid-range scores may look like for popular colleges. Below we take a look at concordances between the Math, Reading, and Writing. 

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Download a PDF of These Tables

One of the more confusing aspects of the change from the old SAT to the new SAT is that scores have the same range (200-800) without having the same meaning. The tests measure different skills, and the scores have different distributions. In order to compare students with different scores — old SAT, new SAT, and ACT — colleges use concordance tables that allow them to match-up comparable scores. In the Math concordance below, for example, a 640 on the old SAT is comparable to a 660 on the new SAT. Whether looking at SATs reported by colleges, PSAT score report projections, ACT scattergrams in Naviance, or NCAA eligibility cutoffs, students must first understand the point of reference — old, new, or different.

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The new SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score combines skills similar to those tested on the old SAT’s Critical Reading and Writing sections. In order to compare old SAT scores to new SAT scores, it is best to use the sum of CR and W to find the comparable value for EBRW. For example, the table below shows that a score of 1320 CR+W (660 CR and 660 W, for example) is comparable to an EBRW score of 700. In overly simplistic terms, 700 is the new 660.

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Some colleges never incorporated Writing scores into their admission process, and many college guidebooks stick to Critical Reading and Math in presenting a school’s test scores. The table below allows students to translate between old SAT (CR+M) and new SAT Total (EBRW+M). For example, a student with a 590 CR and 590 M on the old SAT (1180 CR+M) would find that a comparable Total score on the new SAT is 1250. The reverse is also true. A student with a new SAT Total of 1370 should be comparing that score to a 1310 on the old SAT.

critical-reading-and-math-concordanceEventually all of these changes will be moot, and colleges, counselors, and families will understand new SAT scores without reference to the old SAT. During this transition period, though, concordance tables are an essential part of a student’s testing process.  You may also want to read about comparing new SAT and ACT scores or about what estimated score ranges for colleges will be for the new SAT.

Download a PDF of These Tables

Art Sawyer

About Art Sawyer

Art graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he was the top-ranked liberal arts student in his class. Art pioneered the one-on-one approach to test prep in California in 1989 and co-founded Compass Education Group in 2004 in order to bring the best ideas and tutors into students' homes and computers. Although he has attained perfect scores on all flavors of the SAT and ACT, he is routinely beaten in backgammon.

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