What is a Good SAT Score?

The SAT, or the Scholastic Assessment Test, is a standardized test that high school students take in the United States as a requirement for college admissions. This test measures a student’s math, reading, and writing proficiency.

The higher the score a student gets, the better their chances of getting accepted into their desired college or university. But what is considered a good SAT score?

Understanding the SAT Scoring System

The SAT consists of two sections, each scoring 800 points: the math section and the evidence-based reading and writing section. The total score ranges from 400 to 1600 points. Additionally, students can receive sub-scores for the essay section, which is optional.

National Average SAT Score

The SAT, administered by the College Board, is a standardized test used by colleges and universities in the United States as a part of their admission process. The test consists of three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The Math section is scored on a scale of 200-800, while the Reading and Writing sections are combined to give you a final Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score on a scale of 200-800.

The total SAT score range is from 400-1600, with 1600 being perfect.

As of 2022, the national average SAT score reported by the College Board is 1050, with an EBRW average score of 529 and a Math average score of 538.

Average SAT Scores by State

The average SAT scores by state vary widely based on various factors such as demographics, high school resources, and test preparation. Here is a table of the most recent average SAT scores for all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

State% of students taking the SAT# of Test TakersEBRWMathTotal
District of Columbia100%4,651502484985
New Hampshire81%12,5625305211050
New Jersey63%72,3385435371079
New Mexico42%8,875496480976
New York59%122,1705345331067
North Carolina27%28,6565735621136
North Dakota1%806106031212
Puerto Riconot provided3,167513476989
Rhode Island93%10,667494477971
South Carolina51%27,1115265041030
South Dakota2%1626086111219
Virgin Islands, USnot provided438489451940
West Virginia84%15,265481456938

Source: The College Board

Average SAT Scores of Top Colleges

SAT Scores For Ivy League Schools

SchoolSAT Score (25th-75th Percentile)
Brown University1440-1560
Columbia University1490-1570
Harvard University1460-1570
Yale University1460-1570
University of Pennsylvania1460-1570
Princeton University1450-1570
Dartmouth University1440-1560
Cornell University1400-1540
Source: BestColleges

SAT Scores for Other Popular Schools

SchoolSAT Score (25th-75th Percentile)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1510-1570
University of Chicago1500-1570
Duke University1470-1570
Vanderbilt University1470-1570
Stanford University1440-1570
New York University1370-1540
University of Michigan1340-1530
University of Texas, Austin1210-1470
Source: BestColleges

National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Score

In September, around one-third of the high-scoring students, totaling more than 16,000, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure inclusivity, Semifinalists are chosen based on their representation in their respective state. These students represent the highest scoring entrants in each state, and while qualifying scores may vary from state to state and from year to year, all Semifinalists have achieved remarkably high scores.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. However, to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must meet high academic standards and all other requirements detailed in the provided information and advance to Finalist standing.

For more information on what Semifinalists must do, check out the Requirements and Instructions for Semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

SAT Score Percentile Ranking

Percentile ranking refers to the percentage of students who scored lower than a particular student. For instance, if a student scored in the 90th percentile, they scored higher than 90% of the students who took the test. A good SAT score is usually in the 75th percentile or higher.

SAT Scores for Scholarships

Many colleges and universities offer scholarships based on SAT scores. For example, the University of Alabama offers full-tuition scholarships to students with an SAT score of 1490 or higher. In general, a good SAT score for scholarships is in the range of 1400 to 1600.

Factors Affecting SAT Scores

Several factors can affect a student’s SAT score. These include:

SAT Test Preparation

Students who prepare well for the SAT tend to score higher than those who do not. SAT preparation can involve taking practice tests, working with tutors or study groups, and using study resources.

Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a common issue that affects many students. It can lead to poor performance on the SAT. Students who experience test anxiety can seek counseling or use relaxation techniques to reduce their anxiety levels.


Demographics, such as race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, can affect SAT scores. Studies have shown that students from certain racial and ethnic backgrounds tend to score lower on the SAT than their peers.

Parental Education Level

Research has found that students whose parents have higher levels of education tend to score higher on the SAT. This may be due

High School Location

A student’s high school location can also impact their SAT score. High school students with greater resources and more rigorous academic programs tend to perform better on the SAT.

How to Improve Your SAT Scores

There are several ways to improve your SAT scores, including:

Tips for SAT Preparation

Effective SAT preparation involves setting goals, developing a study plan, and using study resources such as books, online courses, and practice tests. It is also important to practice time management and test-taking strategies.

SAT Study Resources

Many SAT study resources are available to students, including books, online courses, and practice tests. Some popular study resources include The College Board’s official SAT study guide, Khan Academy, and Princeton Review.


A good SAT score meets the college or university requirements a student is interested in attending. While there is no universal definition of a good SAT score, the average score of admitted students at top colleges can serve as a benchmark. Students can improve their SAT scores by preparing effectively, using study resources, and addressing any test anxiety or demographic-related factors that may impact their performance.


Q1: What is the highest possible score on the SAT?

A1: The highest possible score on the SAT is 1600, with 800 points for math and 800 points for the evidence-based reading and writing sections.

Q2: What is considered a good SAT score for Ivy League schools?

A2: The average SAT score for admitted students at Ivy League schools is around 1400-1570.

Q3: Can a low SAT score prevent a student from getting into college?

A3: While a low SAT score can make getting accepted into certain colleges or universities more difficult, it is not necessarily a guarantee of rejection. Admissions committees consider a variety of factors in addition to SAT scores when making their decisions.

Q4: How long is the SAT?

A4: The SAT is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, not including breaks.

Q5: Is the SAT mandatory for college admissions?

A5: Many colleges and universities in the United States require the SAT or another standardized test as part of their admissions process, but there are some exceptions. It is important to check the admissions requirements of each school you are interested in applying to.