How is the SAT essay scored?

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How Are the SAT Essays Scored?

The SAT essay, which is graded by two people, is scored on a scale of 1 to 6 (low to high).

Two people will read your essay, and each will give it a score on a scale of 1 to 6 (6 is the highest). These two scores are added together and multiplied by a mysterious conversion factor that translates the raw score so it equals about 30 percent of your overall writing raw score. It’s added to the raw score from your multiple-choice Grammar section, and then this total raw score is converted to the familiar 200–800 scale. If, by some chance, the readers differ by more than one point (and this is very rare) a third “master” reader will be called in to score the essay.

ETS says the essay is graded "holistically." That means essay readers look at the overall impression that the essay makes and give you a score accordingly. However, because there are so many to get through, each grader spends an average of only two to three minutes for each essay. In that short amount of time, what sort of impression can you, as a student, make? Well, with the right approach, a very good one.

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