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What is a Good SAT Score?

What is a good SAT score? Many students take the SAT, get their scores back, then wonder how they did.

If you have not taken the SAT yet, it can be beneficial to have a goal score in mind. This will give you something to aim for and work towards.

We cover everything you will need to know regarding scores in our guide below.

Summary: Learn everything you need to know SAT scores. If you want to improve your score, take our full-length SAT practice exam.

What is a Good SAT Score?

The easiest way to determine if you scored well on the SAT is to compare your score to historical percentages of previous students who have taken the SAT. Use the following information to quickly determine if you have a good SAT score:

  • Poor SAT Score: 900 or lower (bottom 25% of test-takers)
  • Average SAT Score: 1050 (even with 50% of test-takers)
  • Good SAT Score: 1200 (top 75% of test-takers)
  • Excellent SAT Score: 1350+ (90%+ higher than all test-takers.)

As you can see, a good SAT score would be any score above 1200. This would put you in the 75th+ percentile.

Example: If you are in the 75th percentile, this means you have scored better than 75% of all SAT test takers.

SAT Score Range

The SAT score range is between 400-1600 for your total score. There are 2 sections on the SAT – each section is scored between 200-800.

These 2 sections make up your total combined score. The two sections on the SAT are Math and a combined Reading and Writing section, more commonly referred to Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW).

The SAT is out of 1600. A 1600 would be the best score you can get.

Average SAT Score

The average SAT score was 1051 according to the CollegeBoard’s annual report. As you can see below, a score of 1050 would put you right around the 50th percentile – this means that you score 50% better than half the students who took the exam.

Use the following table to learn more about the SAT score range:

SAT Composite Score RangePercentile Score
1500-155099 to 99+
1450-150097 to 99
1400-145094 to 97
1350-140091 to 94
1300-135087 to 91
1250-130081 to 87
1200-125074 to 81
1150-120067 to 74
1100-115058 to 67
1050-110049 to 58
1000-105039 to 49
950-100031 to 39
900-95023 to 31
850-90015 to 23
800-85010 to 15
750-805 to 10
700-7502 to 5
650-7001 to 2
600-6501- to 1

Source: CollegeBoard

We now know that the average SAT score hovers around 1050. As you can see from the chart above, most students will score between 1000 and 1100.

Notice how when you jump from a 1000 to 1100, your SAT score percentile also jumps significantly? This is because most students score around that mark, so if you can improve your score just a little you can drastically increase your percentile score.

Percentile jumps are less of a factor as you get away from the average SAT score (1000ish). As you can see, an increase from 1300 to 1350 is only 4 percentage points.

In terms of what makes for a good score based on the percentile chart above, anything above 1050 would be considered above average, with a score of 1200 being a good SAT score.

A score above 1050 should be considered a great starting point for students taking the exam for the first time. Take a SAT practice exam to prepare for your exam.

Good SAT Scores by Section

SAT ScoreEBRW PercentileMath Percentile

Source: CollegeBoard

Find Your SAT Goal Score

Finding what your SAT goal score is important for students to figure out. Finding what your goal score should be will help keep you motivated and give you something to work towards.

SAT Goal Score

Step 1: Determine Which Schools You Want to Apply To

This should be the first step in determining your SAT goal score. Every school will have different SAT score requirements, so it is important to figure out which schools you want to apply to.

You should choose a variety of schools. Your list should include safety, target, and reach schools. Safety schools are schools you know you can get into. Target schools are schools that you should be able to get into. Reach schools are schools that will be a reach to get into.

Step 2: Find SAT Scores for the Schools You Are Applying To

Once you have your list of schools, find SAT scores for applicants who applied and got into those schools. Luckily for you, we have listed scores for 100 public and 100 private colleges and universities below.

Find those scores and write them down next to each school you are applying to.

Step 3: Determine Your Goal Score

This step will be determined by your personality and your thought process, but it is best to aim for a lofty goal.

Look at the 75th percentile scores for the most competitive school on your list. That should be your goal. If you hit this score, you should be golden for admission to the other schools on your list.

If you miss by a couple of points, you should still be good for the other schools on your list. Make sure to review SAT test dates to ensure you have enough study time to meet your goals.

What Is a Good SAT Score for You?

What may be considered a good SAT score for someone may not be considered a good score for someone else. A lot of what is considered a good score depends on your goals.

If you are someone who is trying to attend Harvard, you will need a top SAT score. If you are someone who just wants to get into college, an average SAT score will probably get the job done.

To make it really simple, a good SAT score is the score that allows you to be competitive when applying to your schools of choice.

We have collected data from the National Center for Education Statistics which outlines SAT scores for public universities. View the table below:

Institution NamePercent AdmittedSAT 25th % ScoreSAT 75th % Score
Arizona State University86%11201360
Auburn University81%11501320
Boise State University77%10301230
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona55%10101270
California State University-Fresno58%9401130
California State University-Fullerton53%10301200
California State University-Long Beach39%10401250
California State University-Los Angeles48%8901080
California State University-Northridge59%9101130
California State University-Sacramento82%9401140
Clemson University51%12301400
Colorado State University-Fort Collins81%10701290
East Carolina University79%10401190
Florida Atlantic University63%10801240
Florida International University58%11101280
Florida State University36%12001340
George Mason University87%11101320
Georgia Institute of Technology21%13001510
Georgia Southern University54%10501200
Georgia State University76%10601250
Grand Valley State University83%10501250
Indiana University-Bloomington78%11501360
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis81%10001200
Iowa State University92%11001340
Kennesaw State University75%10501230
Kent State University at Kent86%10401230
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College75%10801310
Michigan State University71%11001320
North Carolina State University at Raleigh45%12501420
Ohio State University54%12501460
Ohio University82%10501260
Oklahoma State University70%10601280
Old Dominion University89%9801180
Oregon State University82%10801320
Pennsylvania State University76%10701310
Portland State University96%10001220
Purdue University60%11901440
Rutgers University-New Brunswick61%12101430
San Diego State University34%11101320
San Francisco State University67%9401150
San Jose State University64%10201260
Stony Brook University44%12301440
Texas A & M University58%11601390
Texas State University81%10101180
Texas Tech University69%10701260
The University of Alabama83%10801340
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville79%11501330
The University of Texas32%12301480
The University of Texas at Arlington83%10401250
The University of Texas at Dallas79%12401460
The University of Texas at San Antonio77%10301220
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley80%9501130
University at Buffalo61%11601340
University of Arizona85%11101360
University of Arkansas77%11201300
University of California-Berkeley16%13301530
University of California-Davis39%11701410
University of California-Irvine27%11701420
University of California-Los Angeles12%13001530
University of California-Riverside57%11301330
University of California-San Diego31%12501490
University of California-Santa Barbara30%12301480
University of Central Florida44%11701340
University of Cincinnati77%11201350
University of Colorado Boulder78%11401360
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus67%10001220
University of Connecticut49%12001410
University of Delaware71%11601350
University of Florida37%13101470
University of Georgia45%12401420
University of Houston65%11401310
University of Illinois Chicago73%10301260
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign59%12101470
University of Iowa83%11301340
University of Kentucky96%10701320
University of Maryland-College Park44%12801470
University of Massachusetts-Amherst64%11901390
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor23%13401530
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities57%12601480
University of Missouri-Columbia81%11201340
University of Nebraska-Lincoln78%11201360
University of Nevada-Las Vegas81%10301250
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill23%13101500
University of North Carolina at Charlotte65%11201290
University of North Texas74%10601250
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus80%11101310
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus57%12601440
University of South Carolina-Columbia69%11801370
University of South Florida48%11701330
University of Utah62%11431380
University of Virginia24%13401520
University of Washington-Seattle Campus52%12201470
University of Wisconsin-Madison54%13001480
Utah State University91%10501310
Virginia Commonwealth University87%10701260
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University70%11801390
Washington State University76%10201230
Wayne State University73%10101230
West Virginia University84%10301230

Improving Your SAT Score

If you are looking for various ways to increase your SAT score, check out some of the tips listed below. One surefire way to increase your score is by using practice exams.

Become Familiar With the SAT

In other words, practice, practice, practice! Become comfortable with the types of questions they are going to ask as well as completing as many questions as you can under the time restraint.

There are many resources, including test prep classes, and tutors, that can help you improve your score, so take advantage of them!

Use our free SAT practice questions to become more familiar with the SAT.

Re-Take the Test

You have as many chances to take and re-take the test as you want. Many students gradually increase their score as the number of attempts increase and as they become more used to the test.

If you don’t have the time to re-take the test and your score puts you at risk for acceptance into your top university, consider adding several “safety” schools.

You Can Super-Score Your Score

Many universities will consider superscoring all your SAT’s which essentially means picking and choosing the highest scores from various attempts at the SAT.

So, if your second attempt had your highest math score and your first attempt had your highest reading/writing score, you can combine them. All the more reason why taking the test multiple times is beneficial.

Use Your Time to the Best of Your Ability

There will be trick questions and there will be questions you have absolutely no clue what the answer is. The great thing about the SAT? Wrong answers do not count against you! If you don’t know the answer, make an educated guess and move on.

It does not serve in your best interest to waste 10 minutes on a question and then not be able to answer all the other questions in that section.

One great way to use your time better is to enroll in a SAT prep course. There are many great providers out there, make sure to find one that fits your specific needs.

Go Into the Test Fully Prepared and Well-Rested

You are given short breaks in between sections- utilize them! Bring a snack, quickly decompress, and then get ready to dive back in. When you are well-rested and feel great before going into the exam, chances are that you will score better.

This applies to your mentality too. If you go in unsure of yourself with poor confidence, chances are you will doubt yourself and score lower.

SAT Score FAQs

Yes, 1200 is a good score on the SAT. With the average SAT score being around 1050, a 1200 would put you well above the average.

A score of 1200 would put you around the 74th percentile which means you scored better than 74% of other test-takers.

A decent SAT score would be around 1050. The average SAT score hovers around the 1050 mark. If you score a 1050, you will have a fighting chance of admission at plenty of colleges and universities.

Yes, you can retake the SAT as many times as you would like. Many students end up taking the SAT more than once. It is actually recommended that you take the SAT more than once.

Adam Groden
Adam is our ACT and SAT expert. He has 30+ years of experience and runs his own test prep company.