Adam Groden - ACT and SAT Expert Academically reviewed by Adam Groden - ACT and SAT Expert
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.

Some students may have not taken the SAT yet, but want to know what scores to aim for. Knowing what scores to aim for can be very helpful while studying for your SAT and give you a goal to work towards.

We will review SAT scores and what is a good SAT score in this guide. We also provide you SAT score ranges and percentiles from popular public and private schools so you can compare what score you may need to get.

Summary: Learn about SAT scores, percentiles, and score ranges for various institutions around the country.

What is a Good SAT Score?

In order to answer this question, lets first go over the basics of the SAT score. 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).

Now that we have some background on the SAT, let's take a more in-depth look at SAT scores. We know 1600 is the highest score you can get. But what about a 1350? Is that a good SAT score?

Luckily, the makers of the SAT use percentiles to help students compare their scores to others around the country. Your percentile score tells you what percentage of students you scored the same as or better than. 

Example: If you are in the 55th percentile, this means you have scored better than 55% of all SAT test takers.

SUMMARY OF AVERAGE, GOOD, AND EXCELLENT SAT SCORES

  • Poor: 900 or lower (bottom 25% of test-takers)
  • Average: 1050 (exactly in the middle)
  • Good: 1200 (top 75% of test-takers)
  • Excellent: 1350+ (90%+ higher than all test-takers)

While we have provided you with some raw data of what makes a “good” score, we want to dive in further to help you understand what a good score can and should mean for you!

SAT Score Percentiles - Total Composite Score

You can view a breakdown of SAT scores and various percentiles for those scores below. The makers of the SAT try to keep the average (50%) around 1000. The average SAT score was 1051, according to the CollegeBoard’s annual report.

SAT Composite Score Range Percentile Score
1550-1600 99+
1500-1550 99 to 99+
1450-1500 97 to 99
1400-1450 94 to 97
1350-1400 91 to 94
1300-1350 87 to 91
1250-1300 81 to 87
1200-1250 74 to 81
1150-1200 67 to 74
1100-1150 58 to 67
1050-1100 49 to 58
1000-1050 39 to 49
950-1000 31 to 39
900-950 23 to 31
850-900 15 to 23
800-850 10 to 15
750-80 5 to 10
700-750 2 to 5
650-700 1 to 2
600-650 1- to 1
400-600 1-

Source: CollegeBoard

We now know various SAT score percentiles and their corresponding SAT score. As you can see from the chart above, most students will score around the 1000 mark. 

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 you score just a little, your percentile will also jump. 

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

In terms of what makes for a good SAT score based on the percentile chart above, anything above 1050 would be considered above average. This is a great starting point for first-time test takers.

SAT Score Percentiles – Section Scores

If you are curious about percentile scores for each section of the SAT, you can view the table below to find out where your section score stands when compared to other students.

SAT Score EBRW Percentile Math Percentile
800 99+ 99+ 
750 98 96
700 94 91
650 86 84
600 73 75
550 57 61
500 40 42
450 24 27
400 11 15
350 3 5
300 1- 1
<250 1- 1-

Source: CollegeBoard

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 SAT 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 and private universities. These scores are the average accepted score for each institution. The first table is 100 public universities while the second table is 100 private universities.

Take me to the public university SAT scores.

Take me to the private university SAT scores.

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

(click on image to enlarge)

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.

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 utilizing a SAT prep course. Our team reviewed the best SAT prep courses. Use those reviews to find the best course for you. 

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 YOU 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. We reviewed the best SAT prep courses to help our users find the best fit for them.

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 Scores of 100 public universities

Instiutuion Name Percent Admitted SAT 25th % Score SAT 75th % Score
Arizona State University 86% 1120 1360
Auburn University 81% 1150 1320
Boise State University 77% 1030 1230
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona 55% 1010 1270
California State University-Fresno 58% 940 1130
California State University-Fullerton 53% 1030 1200
California State University-Long Beach 39% 1040 1250
California State University-Los Angeles 48% 890 1080
California State University-Northridge 59% 910 1130
California State University-Sacramento 82% 940 1140
Clemson University 51% 1230 1400
Colorado State University-Fort Collins 81% 1070 1290
East Carolina University 79% 1040 1190
Florida Atlantic University 63% 1080 1240
Florida International University 58% 1110 1280
Florida State University 36% 1200 1340
George Mason University 87% 1110 1320
Georgia Institute of Technology 21% 1300 1510
Georgia Southern University 54% 1050 1200
Georgia State University 76% 1060 1250
Grand Valley State University 83% 1050 1250
Indiana University-Bloomington 78% 1150 1360
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis 81% 1000 1200
Iowa State University 92% 1100 1340
Kennesaw State University 75% 1050 1230
Kent State University at Kent 86% 1040 1230
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 75% 1080 1310
Michigan State University 71% 1100 1320
North Carolina State University at Raleigh 45% 1250 1420
Ohio State University 54% 1250 1460
Ohio University 82% 1050 1260
Oklahoma State University 70% 1060 1280
Old Dominion University 89% 980 1180
Oregon State University 82% 1080 1320
Pennsylvania State University 76% 1070 1310
Portland State University 96% 1000 1220
Purdue University 60% 1190 1440
Rutgers University-New Brunswick 61% 1210 1430
San Diego State University 34% 1110 1320
San Francisco State University 67% 940 1150
San Jose State University 64% 1020 1260
Stony Brook University 44% 1230 1440
Texas A & M University 58% 1160 1390
Texas State University 81% 1010 1180
Texas Tech University 69% 1070 1260
The University of Alabama 83% 1080 1340
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 79% 1150 1330
The University of Texas 32% 1230 1480
The University of Texas at Arlington 83% 1040 1250
The University of Texas at Dallas 79% 1240 1460
The University of Texas at San Antonio 77% 1030 1220
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 80% 950 1130
University at Buffalo 61% 1160 1340
University of Arizona 85% 1110 1360
University of Arkansas 77% 1120 1300
University of California-Berkeley 16% 1330 1530
University of California-Davis 39% 1170 1410
University of California-Irvine 27% 1170 1420
University of California-Los Angeles 12% 1300 1530
University of California-Riverside 57% 1130 1330
University of California-San Diego 31% 1250 1490
University of California-Santa Barbara 30% 1230 1480
University of Central Florida 44% 1170 1340
University of Cincinnati 77% 1120 1350
University of Colorado Boulder 78% 1140 1360
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus 67% 1000 1220
University of Connecticut 49% 1200 1410
University of Delaware 71% 1160 1350
University of Florida 37% 1310 1470
University of Georgia 45% 1240 1420
University of Houston 65% 1140 1310
University of Illinois Chicago 73% 1030 1260
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 59% 1210 1470
University of Iowa 83% 1130 1340
University of Kentucky 96% 1070 1320
University of Maryland-College Park 44% 1280 1470
University of Massachusetts-Amherst 64% 1190 1390
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 23% 1340 1530
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 57% 1260 1480
University of Missouri-Columbia 81% 1120 1340
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 78% 1120 1360
University of Nevada-Las Vegas 81% 1030 1250
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 23% 1310 1500
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 65% 1120 1290
University of North Texas 74% 1060 1250
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus 80% 1110 1310
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus 57% 1260 1440
University of South Carolina-Columbia 69% 1180 1370
University of South Florida 48% 1170 1330
University of Utah 62% 1143 1380
University of Virginia 24% 1340 1520
University of Washington-Seattle Campus 52% 1220 1470
University of Wisconsin-Madison 54% 1300 1480
Utah State University 91% 1050 1310
Virginia Commonwealth University 87% 1070 1260
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 70% 1180 1390
Washington State University 76% 1020 1230
Wayne State University 73% 1010 1230
West Virginia University 84% 1030 1230

Source: National Center for Eduction Statistics 

SAT scores of 100 private universities

Instiutuion Name Percent Admitted SAT 25th % Score SAT 75th % Score
Abilene Christian University 61% 1015 1230
American University 36% 1210 1390
Amherst College 11% 1310 1520
Babson College 26% 1270 1450
Baylor University 45% 1200 1380
Benedictine University 42% 990 1163
Bentley University 47% 1230 1410
Boston College 27% 1340 1500
Boston University 19% 1340 1510
Brigham Young University-Provo 67% 1210 1420
Brown University 7% 1440 1570
Bucknell University 34% 1255 1430
California Institute of Technology 6% 1530 1560
Carnegie Mellon University 15% 1460 1560
Case Western Reserve University 27% 1340 1510
Colby College 10% 1380 1520
Colgate University 23% 1330 1500
College of the Holy Cross 34% 1260 1430
Columbia University in the City of New York 5% 1440 1570
Connecticut College 37% 1310 1450
Cornell University 11% 1400 1560
Creighton University 74% 1170 1350
Dartmouth College 8% 1440 1560
Davidson College 18% 1310 1485
Denison University 29% 1200 1410
Drexel University 75% 1190 1390
Duke University 8% 1480 1570
Duquesne University 74% 1130 1300
Emerson College 33% 1200 1410
Emory University 16% 1360 1530
Fordham University 46% 1240 1450
George Washington University 41% 1280 1470
Georgetown University 14% 1380 1550
Hamilton College 16% 1370 1520
Harvard University 5% 1460 1570
Hofstra University 68% 1160 1340
Howard University 36% 1130 1280
Johns Hopkins University 11% 1460 1560
Kenyon College 34% 1270 1460
Lafayette College 31% 1250 1440
Lehigh University 32% 1280 1450
Liberty University 51% 1040 1260
Lipscomb University 63% 1080 1290
Long Island University 80% 1080 1290
Loyola Marymount University 44% 1230 1410
Marquette University 83% 1120 1320
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 7% 1510 1570
Middlebury College 15% 1360 1530
New York University 16% 1350 1530
Northeastern University 18% 1390 1540
Northwestern University 9% 1440 1550
Pepperdine University 32% 1230 1450
Pomona College 7% 1390 1540
Princeton University 6% 1460 1570
Providence College 47% 1210 1350
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 47% 1290 1490
Rice University 9% 1470 1570
Rochester Institute of Technology 71% 1220 1410
Saint Louis University 58% 1170 1380
Santa Clara University 49% 1280 1440
Savannah College of Art and Design 96% 1050 1240
Seton Hall University 74% 1150 1330
Skidmore College 30% 1220 1400
Southern Methodist University 47% 1300 1480
St Lawrence University 42% 1180 1350
St Olaf College 48% 1190 1430
St. John's University-New York 72% 1090 1300
Stanford University 4% 1440 1570
Swarthmore College 9% 1380 1540
Syracuse University 44% 1180 1380
Texas Christian University 47% 1150 1350
Texas Wesleyan University 42% 990 1140
The University of Tampa 45% 1100 1250
Trinity College 33% 1298 1450
Trinity University 29% 1290 1450
Tufts University 15% 1390 1540
Tulane University of Louisiana 13% 1360 1520
Union College 43% 1220 1420
University of Charleston 50% 940 1143
University of Chicago 6% 1500 1570
University of Denver 59% 1170 1350
University of Miami 27% 1270 1440
University of Mobile 46% 1010 1160
University of Notre Dame 16% 1400 1550
University of Pennsylvania 8% 1450 1560
University of Richmond 28% 1290 1460
University of Rochester 30% 1310 1500
University of San Diego 49% 1190 1370
University of San Francisco 64% 1130 1330
University of Southern California 11% 1360 1530
University of Tulsa 36% 1090 1360
Vanderbilt University 9% 1460 1560
Vassar College 24% 1370 1520
Villanova University 28% 1320 1470
Washington University in St Louis 14% 1480 1560
Wellesley College 22% 1360 1530
Wesleyan College 44% 940 1120
Williams College 13% 1410 1550
Yale University 6% 1460 1570

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Note: All universities, both public and private were selected based on enrollment numbers and acceptance numbers.

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