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, consider investing in a best SAT prep course.
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 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 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 test to prepare for your exam.
Good SAT Scores by Section
If you are curious about scores by section, 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|
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. 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:
|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|
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 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 ourfree SAT practice questionsto 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 thebest SAT prep coursesto 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 Score FAQs
Is a 1200 good on the SAT?
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.
What is a decent SAT score?
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.
Can I retake the SAT?
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.