Many students around the country were disappointed by the incredibly harsh scoring curve on the June test. The curve was so bad that national stories about it circulated within a day or two after the score release. Many students lamented that although they had gotten more questions right than they had on previous tests, sometimes many more questions, their scores had nonetheless gone down.
What students ran into was an “easy” test. Students on average got more questions correct on this version of the SAT than they typically did on other versions (say the May 2018, for example). But to compensate, the College Board applied a harsher curve, so that one had to get more questions right to achieve the same score as one might have on the May (or other) SAT.
How harsh? Consider that on the first four new SATs administered by the College Board – tests 5-8 in the Official Guide – 9 math questions wrong yields a score of between 690 and 730 every time. On the June SAT? 9 wrong equated to a math score of 640, 50-90 points below expected. And that’s just in math; the other sections were curved equally harshly.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing students can do to predict a curve on any particular test. But the good news is that these sorts of scoring outliers have occurred in the past, and they do not occur frequently, so it is highly unlikely that a rising senior would encounter such a curve again in August or October.
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