The College Board has recently released a SAT Score Convertor that converts between old SAT and new SAT scores (as well as the ACT).
The calculator itself is quite clunky. I’ve managed to reverse engineer it into easy-to-read concordance tables:
These tables reveal something pretty startling: An old SAT score of 2300, long considered a good qualifying threshold score for Ivy League and other top-20 schools, is equivalent to a 1560 out of 1600 on the new SAT.
To put this in perspective, you can’t get more than an average of 4 questions wrong on the entire test (154 questions) if your goal is a 1560+.
And a 1500/1600 on the new exam is only a 2170/2400 on the old exam. Ouch. What you think is an amazing score may just be a good one.
This score inflation is due to a few factors:
- No penalty for guessing on the new SAT
- Only four answer choices instead of five on the new SAT
- The test overall is easier in terms of subject matter and question types
Don’t get me wrong—the new SAT is not a walk in the park. You’ll definitely encounter some very tough and tricky questions. The problem is that you’ll need to get those tough questions right to stay competitive. Silly mistakes on the easier questions will cost you more than ever before.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes up the college admissions landscape in the coming year.
By the way, if you took the PSAT, there is clear evidence of inflation there as well. See my PSAT National Merit Cutoff Predictions here.
Has the SAT gotten so easy that the margin of error at the top is now too thin? Or should we welcome the new changes simply because the test is now easier to get through?