What is a good SAT score? In this article, we’ll provide information and cover a few significant factors to help you answer that question.
What is the highest SAT score?
Let’s start with the basics. The highest SAT score is 1600. This is comprised of your math score (200-800) and reading score (200-800).
What is percentile?
Percentile lets you know how many other students scored lower than you on the SAT. For example, if your percentile rank is 70%, that means 70% of students scored lower than you on the test.
This means you want your percentile score to be as high as possible to unlock better opportunities for both acceptance and scholarships.
Each year, College Board reports the latest score and percentile calculations. In 2019, students scored 960 in the 40th percentile, 1010 in the 50th percentile, 1060 in the 60th percentile, 1120 in the 70th percentile, 1190 in the 80th percentile, 1290 in the 90th percentile, 1360 in the 95th percentile, and 1450 to hit the elusive 99th percentile.
As you can see, improving your score by 110 points can pull you up from the 50th percentile all the way to 70th.
If you’d like to see how your raw score translates all the way up to your percentile, Albert has a nifty tool for that.
How can I find my percentile?
Your SAT score report from the College Board will include your overall percentile, as well as percentiles for the Math and ERW (commonly known as reading) sections.
What score do I need to get accepted at my preferred college?
Average SAT scores of admitted students are a great tool to see whether your preferred college is within reach. The college admissions process takes a lot more than your SAT score into account, of course, and you can often get in even if you’re below your school’s SAT average. In general, the more prestigious the school, the higher score you’ll need for admission.
For reference, MIT’s middle 50% of accepted students scored between 790-800 on Math and 730-780 on ERW.
Public universities, even those with strong academics, will have more reasonable averages. For example, University of Central Florida’s freshman class averaged 1306 on the SAT in 2020.
To set your SAT goal, you should find the average SAT scores for your preferred colleges, and aim for a score near that range.
What score do I need to get a good scholarship?
SAT scores can get you more than just acceptance letters—they can qualify you for scholarships. These programs often require certain GPA and SAT thresholds for automatic annual merit scholarships. Let’s take a look at the University of Alabama’s in-state scholarship offerings.
At Alabama, a 3.00 GPA and 1200 SAT will net you $3,000 a year. A 3.50 GPA and 1260 will get you twice that much—a nice $6,000 a year. If you can manage a 1360 with your 3.50 GPA, Alabama will pay your in-state tuition for four years.
We used Alabama as a fairly generous example, but many colleges offer some variant of these automatic SAT/GPA scholarships. If you’ve already worked hard for the GPA, your SAT scores can earn you big scholarship money.
What is a good SAT score?
So what is a good SAT score? Hopefully we’ve given you enough information to set a goal for yourself, based on percentile and admissions and scholarship programs at your preferred universities.
If you’re looking to raise your SAT score, it’s absolutely possible. We’ve even written an article to get you started, with three practical ways to raise your score.