When you complete a Praxis exam, you’ll immediately receive a raw score for your test—this score is specifically there to help you understand how you just did. So it’s important to understand your raw score—what it looks like, how it’s calculated, and what it measures.
On the score display you see right when you finish a Praxis exam, you will see a field that tells you the total number of questions on the test. On Core Reading (just as one example), the total number of questions will display as 56. You will also see a field that tells you the number of questions you answered correctly. The number of questions you answered correctly is your raw score.
You can calculate the percentage of a raw score as a ratio of correctly answered questions to total number of questions. So if you got—say—42 questions right, your raw score would be 42 and could also be expressed as 75%.
What your raw score does not measure is the true percentage of answers you’ve gotten correct. Some questions have more than one answer, such as this question from pages 46 and 57 of the Praxis Core Reading Study Companion:
This question has two correct answers (see the Study Companion for an answer key), while most Core Reading multiple choice questions have just one. So a question like this would have a greater percentage weight in calculating your official score, but would not have more raw points than a question with just one answer. In other words, unofficial and official scores are calculated by the percentage of answers you get right; raw scores are calculated ONLY by the number of individual questions that had completely correct answers.
This distinction of how a raw score is calculated is especially important if you are working with a school or academic program that wants to hear about your score as soon as possible, before the official scores are actually issued. If you need to tell an academic adviser or potential employer how you did on a praxis test, do NOT give them your raw score. Give them your unofficial score, which will also be show to you at the end of the testing session. The unofficial score will display alongside your raw score on test day. In most cases, the unofficial score will be exactly the same as your official score, unless the test center itself made a mistake in calculating your points.
The raw score will be different and is a less accurate measure of how you actually performed, in terms of answering everything correctly. Raw scores also expressed on a different scale than the unofficial/official scores. The raw score is calculated on a scale of zero to the total number of questions on the test. Your true praxis score—both in official and unofficial form—are calculated on a scale that starts at 100 and goes to 200. (Read more about Praxis score scaling here.)
Ultimately, your raw score provides a simple, easy-to-understand look at how you’ve done on an exam you just took. When you’re mentally fatigued form answering one question after another, knowing how many of those questions you got completely right allows you to easily get a basic idea of your performance, without any more careful thought. But it’s the unofficial and official scores that really indicate how you did on a percentage basis, and whether you’ve met the requirements of your state or prospective school.