Written by Chris Hernandez
A good SAT score will help you get admitted to your preferred college. If you have recently taken the SAT test, or are preparing for the test, you will likely have questions about what SAT score to aim for. What is a good score, what is a bad score, and what is the range of possible scores?
This guide will help you determine how your SAT scores compare to other test takers and what a good score is for you depending on the universities you are considering. We will also provide the SAT score ranges and percentiles for more than 50 prominent colleges and explain what to do if your score is lower than anticipated.
Before we get into that, it is important to understand that a good score for your friend might not be a good score for you. It depends on the requirements of the college you want to attend.
When researching colleges, consider the cost of tuition, financial aid, location, campus atmosphere, academic programs, and extracurricular activities that you are interested in. Additionally, use the average SAT score for admitted freshmen as a target for your own score.
The SAT, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is an exam taken by students applying to undergraduate courses. The test aims to assess their verbal, written, and mathematical skills. The importance of SAT scores, when it comes to being accepted into college, varies from school to school, but generally the higher your score, the more options you have for admission.
Related article: How to Boost Your SAT Reading Score (10 Tips)
Your score percentile shows how your performance on the test was relative to the other people who took it on the same day. For instance, if you are in the 15th percentile, it means that you scored better than 15% of the other test takers. If you are in the 90th percentile, that means you did better than 90% of them.
Generally speaking, a score below the 50th percentile is considered ‘bad’; anything in the 50th-70th percentile is ‘good’, and anything above the 90th percentile is great!
The average or mean SAT composite score is 1060 out of a possible 1600 points. The test is created in such a way that the mean score is typically around 1000, with roughly 500 points coming from each section. The average Math score is 528 and the average EBRW score is 531.
Check the table below to see how your SAT score compares with other test takers.
|SAT Score |||Nationally-Representative Percentile |||Percentile Among Actual SAT Test Takers|
So, what would be considered a good score versus a bad score? Additionally, what type of result would be so disappointing that it would bring you to tears? It might be better to use the term competitive score instead of good or bad.
Below is some indication of where you are on the good-to-bad scale, but remember, your choice of college plays a significant role in how good your score is. You
The score needed to get into competitive universities has been increasing, but the guide below will help you find a school that is suited to your SAT score.
You don't need to worry if you end up with a score of 1120, as there are still good quality universities you can be accepted to.
While the 1100s may not get you into a good quality school, an additional 200 points will put you in the 1300 bracket that can get you accepted to a top-10 public school in America.
It is very difficult to get accepted into the most competitive universities, as out of a hundred students, only one might be likely to be successful.
Let's investigate what types of colleges have SAT scores that fall within certain ranges, as these scores usually indicate their expectations for applicants.
|College Name||Average SAT Score|
|Arizona State University||1245|
|Colorado State University||1180|
|Florida International University||1195|
|Florida State University||1270|
|Kansas State University||1160|
|Louisiana State University||1180|
|MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)||1535|
|Michigan State University||1210|
|Northern Arizona University||1135|
|Oklahoma State University||1160|
|San Diego State University||1215|
|SMU (Southern Methodist University)||1390|
|Texas Tech University||1155|
|The Ohio State University||1355|
|University of Alabama||1180|
|University of Arizona||1235|
|University of Arkansas||1210|
|University of California at Berkeley||1415|
|University of Calfornia at Irvine||1310|
|University of Central Florida||1330|
|University of Chicago||1520|
|University of Florida||1360|
|University of Georgia||1325|
|University of Illinois||1350|
|University of Illinois at Chicago||1120|
|University of Kansas||1240|
|University of Maryland||1380|
|University of Michigan||1435|
|University of Minnesota||1350|
|University of Missouri||1190|
|University of Oklahoma||1210|
|University of South Florida||1250|
|University of Southern California||1440|
|University of Texas at Austin||1355|
|University of Washington||1340|
|University of Wisconsin||1390|
Related article: What is an SAT Superscore & Which Colleges Superscore?
Whether preparing for your first or subsequent test, don’t make the mistake thinking that you can master the material on the SAT in a short amount of time. It is important to remember that the SAT covers a wide range of topics that were learned throughout your years of schooling.
Therefore, it is not feasible to try to learn everything in a matter of days. The best approach is to begin studying early and make consistent, steady progress.
People may mention shortcuts to dramatically improve your score, but don't be fooled. The most effective way to improve is to practice the core skills that the test covers, such as grammar and algebra.
These steps are sure to get you into the school of your dreams, and you’d be wise to consider gaining outside help to guide your preparation for the SAT. There are a variety of options, such as free resources, online classes, or tutors. Experts with knowledge of the test can help you maximize your score by pointing out where you can gain points.
The College Board, the organization that runs the SAT, has found that most people who take the SAT more than once do better on it. This is mainly because they've gained experience with the test format. Doing some practice tests before the actual exam is a great way to become more familiar with the SAT and its length and difficulty.
Subscores provide a helpful way to pinpoint areas that need improvement. It is important to identify any weaknesses, look into concepts that are challenging and develop strategies to address common issues. A tutor can help you to recognize patterns in questions and know how to approach them.
High schoolers often face busy days with school, work, extracurriculars, and social involvements. To get a higher SAT score, you'll need to set aside time to study. Establish a study schedule and commit to following it. You'll be amazed at the progress that can be made in just 6 to 8 weeks of dedicated prep. As little as four or five hours a week for two months can lead to notable growth in academic understanding and test-taking skills.
Working hard is essential to success, so dedicate your efforts to completing official practice tests. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to write free official practice tests.
A successful plan should have a specific target test date and weekly objectives for the hours to be devoted to preparation. To measure your progress and decide where to focus your efforts, use your practice tests as a guide.
Last but no less important – let your target score be known! Talk to your parents about it, and this can be a great opportunity to discuss what your ultimate goal is and how you plan to do it. They can provide valued support and encouragement to help you stay on track with your test-prep routine.
Make sure you keep your goal score in your sights – write it in big and bold letters!!!
Tape it where you will see it often, like on your wall, refrigerator door, or any other room you often spend time in. This will help keep you motivated and on track with your SAT study plan.
Now that you have a better understanding of how SAT scores work and the kind of score that would be right for you, take the time to explore Amikka Learning's blogs for even more advice on how to excel on the SATs.