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 you 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, lets take a look at SAT scores. We know 1600 is a perfect score and 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|
|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|
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|
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.
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.
(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 to apply to. 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 pulled 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 an overwhelming amount of resources, test preps, classes, and tutors specifically designed to raise your score- 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, so do it! Many students gradually increase their score as the number of attempts increase and as you 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 allow you to super-score all you SAT’s which essentially means picking and choosing the highest scores from various attempts at the SAT. So, say your second attempt you had your highest math score and your first attempt you had the 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|
|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|
|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-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|
|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|
|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|
SAT scores of 100 private universities
|Instiutuion Name||Percent Admitted||SAT 25th % Score||SAT 75th % Score|
|Abilene Christian University||61%||1015||1230|
|Brigham Young University-Provo||67%||1210||1420|
|California Institute of Technology||6%||1530||1560|
|Carnegie Mellon University||15%||1460||1560|
|Case Western Reserve University||27%||1340||1510|
|College of the Holy Cross||34%||1260||1430|
|Columbia University in the City of New York||5%||1440||1570|
|George Washington University||41%||1280||1470|
|Johns Hopkins University||11%||1460||1560|
|Long Island University||80%||1080||1290|
|Loyola Marymount University||44%||1230||1410|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||7%||1510||1570|
|New York University||16%||1350||1530|
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||47%||1290||1490|
|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|
|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|
|Texas Christian University||47%||1150||1350|
|Texas Wesleyan University||42%||990||1140|
|The University of Tampa||45%||1100||1250|
|Tulane University of Louisiana||13%||1360||1520|
|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|
|Washington University in St Louis||14%||1480||1560|
Note: All universities, both public and private were selected based on enrollment numbers and acceptance numbers.