What Makes a Good SAT Score

What Makes a Good SAT Score?

A good SAT score is what? You took the SAT, received your results, and are curious about how you did. Or perhaps you want to know what grade to aspire for moving forward.

How to compare your SAT scores to those of all other test-takers is covered on this page. Afterward, based on the universities you are interested in, Masterclass Space will assist you in determining what a decent SAT score is for you. Finally, we include the average SAT scores for more than 50 well-known universities and cover what to do if your score is lower than you anticipated.

What Does a Good SAT Score Mean Across the Nation?

The range for your two-section scores on the SAT is 200–800, and your overall score is 400–1600. One component score is for maths, while the other is an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score that combines reading and writing.

As you might expect, your score increased in direct proportion to how well you performed in comparison to all other test-takers. But is there a specific threshold for the SAT that denotes a "good" score?

You must understand the actual mechanics of SAT scoring in order to establish what constitutes strong SAT results in comparison to everyone else. Your total score out of 1600 and your two section scores out of 800 are combined to produce a percentile rating. You may find out what proportion of students you scored the same as or better than using your SAT percentile. Therefore, if you scored in the 60th percentile, you performed better than 60% of all test takers!

SAT composite scores have a mean of 1060. It should be noted that the test was specifically created so that the average result, or roughly 500 for each component, hangs around 1000 on the 1600-point scale. While the average EBRW score is 533, the average maths score is 528.

Scores on the SAT have a normal distribution. As a result, student performance often falls between the middle of the scale (where 1000 falls) and the extremes (400 for the lowest score and 1600 for the highest score).

Significantly fewer test takers score at the top and lower ends of the scale.

You can examine the score distribution yourself using the shortened SAT score chart with percentiles for 2021 SAT composite scores provided below:

SAT Composite Score (Out of 1600) Percentile (2021)
1600 99+
1550 99
1500 98
1450 96
1400 93
1350 90
1300 86
1250 81
1200 74
1150 67
1100 59
1050 51
1000 42
950 34
900 26
850 19
800 12
750 7
700 3
650 1
600 and below 1- (less than 1%)

Please note that the percentile range "1-" indicates that the percentage of test-takers scoring in the specified range is less than 1%.

The percentiles and accompanying scores show that more pupils fall between the top and bottom of the scale than in the middle.

For instance, if your score rises from 1000 to 1100 (100 points), you pass roughly half of the exam takers and move up from the 42nd to the 59th percentile! However, going from 1250 to 1350, or 100 points, only elevates you 10%, from the 81st to the 90th percentile. A 100-point difference near the top of the scale, from 1450 to 1550, nets you only about 3%!

Anything over that would be considered above average in terms of what defines acceptable SAT scores based on this chart since you already know that 1050 is roughly the norm. With a score of 1250, you'll be in the top fifth of test takers, or the 81st percentile, which is outstanding.

A score of 1350 places you in the top 10%, so it's a nice one. A score of 1400 places you in the 93rd percentile or the top 7% of test takers. Your ranking in the elite top 2% is 1500 or higher!

In comparison, a score of less than 1050 is considered to be below ordinary. The 34th percentile score of 950, for instance, places you in the bottom third of test takers. With a score of 900, which puts you in the 26th percentile, you are also nearly at the lowest fourth. Not great by comparison.

This graph displays the percentiles for the Math and EBRW parts of the SAT. Even though the distributions are quite similar, there are a few minor variations.

For instance, fewer students perform extremely well on EBRW than on Math. A score of 750, which places you in the top 2% of test takers and places you in the 98th percentile for EBRW, indicates that this is the case. You are only in the top 5% of students with that score because it falls in the 95th percentile for maths.

SAT Math Percentile (2021) (Out of 800) Percentile (2021)
800 99+
750 95
700 91
650 84
600 75
550 61
500 43
450 28
400 16
350 5
300 1

SAT EBRW Percentile (2021) (Out of 800) Percentile (2021)
800 99+
750 and above 99+
700 and above 98
650 and above 85
600 and above 73
550 and above 58
500 and above 41
450 and above 25
400 and above 11
350 and above 3
300 and above 1
250 and under 1-

Bonus: Do you want to ace the SAT? Check out our renowned article on how to achieve a perfect 1600. This strategy guide has been viewed by over 500,000 individuals, so regardless of your skill level, you'll find helpful information here.

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Explore the average SAT scores for over 50 well-known universities and find guidance if your score falls below expectations. Understand the mechanics of SAT scoring, percentiles, and score distributions with the help of this comprehensive guide. Plus, discover expert tips to achieve a perfect 1600 score from a Harvard graduate and SAT specialist. Start improving your SAT score today!