What Is a Good SAT Score? Finding Your Goal Score 2022
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A good SAT score may be different from person to person. Identify the target SAT score that will support your academic goals.
A good SAT score is one that helps you achieve your academic goals, whether that means getting into a particular college or earning a merit scholarship to help cover costs. A good score for you might look different than a good score for a classmate, and that’s okay.
By identifying a target SAT score based on your own unique goals, you’ll know what to aim for to boost your chances of success.
Before we discuss the ways you might gauge the success of your score, it’s helpful to understand how the SAT is scored:
Your total SAT score will be between 400 and 1,600 points
There are two sections, Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW), and each one is worth 200 to 800 points.
The percentile shows how your score compares to other students.
The benchmark score indicates college readiness—likeliness of passing first-year classes.
What is a good SAT score?
There’s no single standard for a “good” SAT score. In general, a good score is one that helps you get into your target school or supports your case for a merit scholarship. There are a couple of ways to think about your score.
Average SAT score
According to the College Board, the US national average total SAT score for the class of 2021 was 1088. The ERW national average score was 541, while the average score for the Math section was 538 .
Average scores can be useful in comparing the test performance of one entire graduating class to another's, but it's not necessarily the most helpful measure for an individual test-taker. For that, you'd want to consider your SAT score percentile.
SAT score percentiles
Your score report will include two percentiles to help you compare your performance with that of other test takers. If your score percentile is 50, that means 50 percent of test takers scored at or below your score.
Nationally Representative Sample Percentile: This measures your score against all US students in grades 11 and 12, weighted to include those who did not take the test.
SAT User Percentile: This measures your score against real scores of students from the past three graduating classes who took the current SAT test during high school.
You can see these percentiles for your total score, as well as your ERW and Math section scores. This lets you quickly see how you did in comparison to your peers.
For reference, here's a chart showing the SAT User Percentiles for the total, ERW, and Math scores in 2021 .
|SAT User Percentile||Total SAT score||ERW score||Math score|
|29 and below||920 and below||460 and below||450 and below|
Each of your section scores will include a benchmark. This will show up as a color—green, yellow, or red—meant to indicate college readiness.
Green: On track
Yellow: Close to being on track
Red: Need to strengthen skills
What does this mean? A green benchmark score indicates a 75-percent chance of earning a C or higher in a first-semester college course in algebra, statistics, pre-calculus, or calculus (for Math), or history, literature, social sciences, or writing (for ERW).
Use these benchmarks as a guideline for what academic areas to work on. With the right perspective and preparation, you can find success in college no matter your benchmark score.
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Target school average SAT scores
This is perhaps the most meaningful way to think about your score (more on that below), but you won’t find it on your score report. It’s worth repeating that a “good” SAT score is a score that helps you get into the school you want. And that score will be different for different schools.
What about SAT Essay and SAT Subject Test scores?
As of January 2021, the College Board no longer offers SAT Subject Tests or the optional SAT Essay. Some students may be required to complete the SAT Essay in states where it’s required as part of the SAT School Day program. If you’re taking the SAT on a school day, check with your school for details.
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How to find your target SAT score in 3 steps
How do you know whether your SAT score is good enough to get you into your school of choice? One way is to determine your target SAT score—a score that would increase your chances of getting admitted to the schools on your list. Here’s how to find your target score:
1. Make a list of schools you’d like to attend.
Write down the names of six to 10 schools you’re interested in applying to. Try to include a mix of dream, target, and safety schools.
If money and qualifications weren’t issues, where would you want to attend? These are your dream schools, also known as reach schools.
Target schools are those where your grades, test scores, and class rank are similar to the average for the most recently admitted class.
You should be happy to attend your safety schools, but they should also be schools that you can afford and that you feel confident you’ll be admitted to.
If you don’t know how to categorize your schools just yet, that’s okay. You can do this in the next step.
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2. Find each school’s middle 50 percent.
Search for the name of the school and “SAT score range” to find the middle 50 percent of SAT scores. This represents the range of scores between the 25th and 75th percentiles for the most recent class of admitted students. In other words, this is what’s left when you throw out the top and bottom scores.
Write down these scores for each of your schools. It may be helpful to record the ranges for the Math and ERW sections as well.
For the 2021 admitted class at the University of Michigan, for example, the SAT score middle 50 is 1400 to 1540 . That means that the middle half of admitted students scored within this range. The range is 680 to 760 for the ERW section, and 710 to 790 for the Math section.
3. Identify your goal SAT score from the list.
Now arrange your schools in order of these score ranges, from highest to lowest. The schools at the top of the list would likely be your dream schools, with the target and safety schools in the middle and at the bottom of the list.
The high end of the range (the 75th percentile score) for the school highest on the list is your target SAT score. If you can get a score at or near the 75th percentile for the most competitive school on your list, chances are you’ll be competitive at the other schools too.
Tip: Set a goal to score at or above the 75th percentile of SAT scores for the school you want to attend.
How can I improve my SAT score?
Whether you’re thinking ahead toward the SAT or want to improve upon an existing score, here are some tips to get you started.
Take a practice test like the PSAT.
Prepare for success on the SAT by taking the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT, as a sophomore or junior. You’ll get a feel for the test format and types of questions, and your scores can show you areas to focus on as you prepare for the SAT.
Tip: Taking the PSAT as a high school student qualifies you for the National Merit Scholarship. Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards 7,500 scholarships to students that are among the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
Work on your weaknesses.
Focus your preparations on the areas where you received the lowest scores on your practice test. If you scored at or near your target score for the ERW section but fell short on your Math score, you’ll want to dedicate more of your practice time to math questions.
Plan to spend at least two to three months preparing for the SAT each time you take it. You have options when it comes to how you prepare, and many of them are free:
Take a free, full-length practice test.
Complete the free, interactive Official SAT Practice.
Enroll in a SAT prep course.
Hire a tutor.
Buy a study guide or check one out from the local library.
Retake the test.
You can take the SAT as many times as you want. This means that if your first score has room for improvement, you have the opportunity to improve it by retaking the test. The College Board recommends taking the SAT at least twice, once during the spring of your junior year and again in the fall of your senior year. For some schools, you can choose which scores to include on your score report. Others require that you submit all of your scores.
Do all colleges require the SAT?
Some colleges and universities had started dropping their entrance exam requirements even before COVID-19 cancelled SAT and ACT exam dates. Since the pandemic began, many more institutions have switched to a test-optional or test-flexible model.
What does this mean for you? At a test-optional school, you can choose whether to include SAT scores in your application. A test-flexible school might waive their SAT requirement if you meet a minimum GPA or have qualifying AP scores. A few schools are test-blind, which means they do not want you to submit scores at all.
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What if my SAT scores are still too low?
Your SAT score is only one part of your college application. Depending on the school you’re applying to, it may not even be mandatory. If your scores are lower than your target score, you still have options. (And remember, the scorers on the lower end of the middle 50 for each school on your list also got in).
Strengthen your application.
Schools look at more than just your SAT score when determining college admissions. If you feel your scores are lower than you’d like them to be, spend some time working on the other areas of your application.
Talk to your teachers about how you can improve your grades.
Ask for strong letters of recommendation.
Spend time polishing your application essay.
Start a new club at your school, volunteer, or look for an internship to help your extracurriculars stand out.
Adjust your college list.
As you get ready to apply to schools, consider adjusting your list. Add one or two new target schools that you’d like to attend where your scores fall within the middle 50. You may even choose to add another safety school where your score is near or above the 75th percentile ranking.
Consider the ACT.
Many schools accept ACT or SAT scores, and it’s not uncommon for students to perform better on one than the other. Take both so you can see which one highlights your strengths.
ACT vs. SAT: Which is right for me?
Neither the ACT or SAT is easier than the other, but they may have differences that make one of the two easier for you. For example, the ACT puts more emphasis on verbal skills, while the SAT may be better suited to emphasize math skills. If possible, take both tests in your junior year, then retake your preferred exam in the fall of your senior year. Be sure to research the schools on your list to see which test they require or prefer.
Read more: Your Guide to College Entrance Exams
Read more: What Is a Good ACT Score in 2021? Finding Your Goal Score
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
This depends on the school. It might be a good idea to submit your SAT score to a test-optional school if:
- Your score falls near or above the 75th percentile for that school
- Your SAT score is stronger than other parts of your application, such as your GPA
- You’re interested in a merit scholarship and an SAT score is required for consideration
Here’s a look at the middle 50 score ranges for each Ivy League school:
|School name||Middle 50 range|
|Harvard University||1460 to 1580|
|Yale University||1470 to 1560|
|Princeton University||1440 to 1570|
|Columbia University||1450 to 1560|
|Brown University||1420 to 1550|
|Dartmouth College||1450 to 1550|
|University of Pennsylvania||1440 to 1560|
|Cornell University||1420 to 1540|
*All data from PrepScholar (October 2021)
The College Board recommends that you begin test prep two to three months before your test date. By starting to study earlier, you could feel more confident (and perform better) on the exam.
You can take the SAT as many times as you want. It’s a good idea to take it at least twice, once in your junior year and again in the fall of your senior year. Taking the test more than once could give you the opportunity to improve your score. Many colleges consider your highest SAT score for admission.
Score Choice lets you choose which scores you send to colleges. If you take the SAT more than once, you can choose which scores to add to your score report. Some schools and scholarship programs require that you send all your scores. Be sure to find out ahead of time from the admissions office.
Some schools consider SAT scores using a process called superscoring. If a school you’re applying to uses superscoring, it means that they’ll combine your highest Math section score with your highest ERW score, even if they were from different test dates. Contact an admissions counselor to find out if a school uses superscoring.
Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for College
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1. College Board Blog. "What is the Average SAT Score?, https://blog.collegeboard.org/what-is-the-average-sat-score." Accessed August 9, 2022.
2. College Board. "SAT: Understanding Scores 2021, https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/understanding-sat-scores.pdf." Accessed August 9, 2022.
3. University of Michigan. "First-year Student Profile, https://admissions.umich.edu/apply/first-year-applicants/first-year-student-profile." Accessed August 9, 2022.
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What is a good SAT score for 2022? ›
A good score is in the range of 1300 to 1500 (Math: 650 to 750, Reading/Writing: 650 to 750). Colleges like Emory University with a 25.2 percent acceptance rate list accepted student SAT scores in the range of 1330 to 1520.What's an average SAT score 2022? ›
SAT Scores: The Good, The Bad and the Average
The average Math score is 528, and the average Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score is 531. 1520!
While there's no standard for a "good" SAT score, it's best to aim for at least 1200. More importantly, aim for an SAT score that's within or higher than your school's middle 50%.Is a 1550 SAT score of 2022 Good? ›
Is 1550 a good SAT score? The average SAT score is 1059 and the highest possible score is 1600 — a 1550 SAT score is undeniably good.Is 1050 a good SAT score in 2022? ›
A score of 1050 is just a hair below the 50th percentile, clocking in at the 49th percentile. With a 1050, you'll be eligible to apply to a good number of colleges, and may even be relatively competitive at a select few, but a good portion would love to see you inch that score up past the 50th percentile mark.What SAT score is required for Harvard? ›
Harvard SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.
An SAT score of 1555 (out of 1600) or ACT score of 35 (out of 36) will place you right in the top 25% for most Ivy League schools, whereas an SAT score of 1455 or ACT score of 33 would put you at the boundary of the bottom 25%.Is 1060 a good SAT score? ›
A Good SAT Score for College Admissions
The average SAT score for the class of 2021 was 1060, up by nine points from the class of 2020, according to a report from the College Board, which administers the SAT.
' Will Smith SAT score was a perfect 1600. A rare score few people have earned. Despite this incredible score, Will chose not to attend college, did not even enroll, and decided to pursue his career in music.What is a realistic increase in SAT score? ›
Test publishers show that the average SAT improvement is around 60 to 70 points, on average, with a little bit of additional studying before the next test date. Some students improve by 150 to 300 points, which is excellent.
Is 1050 a good SAT score? ›
In 2019, the average SAT score was 1050. Any score above that would be above average and perfectly acceptable for many colleges. A score of 1350 would put you in the top 10% of test takers and help make your application competitive at more selective schools.Is 1500 a good SAT score for Ivy League? ›
A 1500 SAT score is incredibly competitive and makes you eligible for admission into all colleges — even the most competitive ones, the Ivy Leagues. Included in the institutions you can apply to are the University of Chicago, Columbia University in the City of New York, and Duke University.How many students get 1600 SAT? ›
A 1600 is only achieved by around 300 test takers per year and makes you eligible and highly competitive for admission at every college.How rare is a 1550 SAT? ›
A 1550 SAT score puts you in the 99th percentile. This means you outperformed 99% of test takers.How many students get 1580 SAT? ›
1580 SAT Score Standings
Out of the 2.13 million test-takers, 3260 scored the same or higher than you. You can apply to 1498 colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted. You have a very low chance of getting into 0 schools with this score.
A 1200 is an above average score that places you in approximately the 74th percentile of all high school students taking the exam. A score of 1200 makes it possible to apply to the vast majority of schools throughout the nation and be competitive for admission at a sizable number of colleges.What college has a 100 acceptance rate? ›
Located in North Dakota's capital city, Bismarck State College tops the list of colleges with the highest acceptance rates. The third-largest institution in the state's public university system, BSC serves approximately 4,000 students each year. The school accepts 100% of applicants.Is a 900 SAT score of 2022 Good? ›
Is 900 a good SAT score? A “good” SAT score is one that makes you a competitive candidate at a majority of colleges, including your ideal college. A 900 doesn't give you as many college options as we'd normally like students to have, so raising your score closer to that national average (1150-1100) is encouraged.What is the lowest GPA Harvard has accepted? ›
Most students admitted to Harvard have an unweighted GPA of 4.18 or above, so you'll need to have at least a 4.2 to be seriously evaluated. To meet the Harvard requirements, you'll have to score primarily A's on your high school courses.What is the highest GPA ever? ›
A GPA higher than 5.0 is rare, but school point systems are occasionally structured so that students taking advanced classes can rack up bonus points. One student even managed to land a stunning 10.03 GPA by taking 17 advanced classes at a school that awarded bonus points.
What SAT scores are good for scholarships? ›
What Is a Good SAT Score for College Scholarships? Scoring anywhere between 1200 and 1600 on the SAT is generally considered a good score for earning merit-based scholarships. The higher your score, the more scholarship money you can potentially win.What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›
Based on the information provided above, you probably noticed that Cornell University has the highest acceptance rates out of all the Ivy League schools and can therefore be classified as the easiest Ivy league school to get into.What is the minimum SAT score for Stanford? › Does Harvard prefer SAT or ACT? ›
No matter what you might've heard, Ivy League schools have no preference between the ACT and SAT. You can submit scores from either test or from both of them without worrying that your application will be dinged.What is the hardest school in the world to get into? ›
Harvard University — 3.19%
With a record-low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into.
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1075, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1245. In other words, a 1075 places you below average, while a 1245 will move you up to above average.What college has the hardest acceptance rate? ›
Harvard ranked as the toughest school in the country to get into. It has a 5% acceptance rate, according to Niche. Stanford came in second on the list— with an acceptance rate of 5% as well. However, it accepts students with slightly lower test scores, Niche says.What was Mark Zuckerberg SAT score? ›
Ques: What was Mark Zuckerberg SAT score? Ans: Mark Zuckerberg achieved the highest SAT score possible, 1600.What did Steve Jobs score on the SAT? ›
|Smart Person||Known For||SAT Conversion (out of 1600)|
|Sonia Sotomayor||Associate Justice of the Supreme Court||1560|
|Steve Jobs||Co-founder of Apple||1420|
|Barack Obama||44th and current President of the United States||1340|
|Lyndon B. Johnson||36th President of the United States||1190|
|Celebrity||SAT Score (out of 1600)||College Attended|
|Ben Affleck||Almost perfect||Occidental College, University of Vermont|
|Bill O'Reilly||1585||Marist College|
How much can your SAT score improve in a month? ›
As I mentioned previously, one month should give you enough time to study for up to 80 hours and attain, at a maximum, a 200-point score increase: 0-30 point improvement: 10 hours. 30-70 point improvement: 20 hours. 70-130 point improvement: 40 hours.Do SAT tutors really help? ›
Despite what many private tutors and test-taking agencies say, they can't guarantee success. In the end, it's all up to you. Tutors can be a great resource for students who've already taken these tests and are struggling to improve. Tutors are also great for students who have a hard time studying on their own.Is 1 month enough to study for SAT? ›
Q. Is 1 month enough to study for SAT? A. Studying for the SAT Exam in a month is possible, though it's recommended that you spend 10 to 20 hours per week over the course of two or three months prepping for the SAT.Is a 1100 a good SAT score? ›
Is An 1100 SAT Score (58th Percentile) Good? A score of 1100 on the SAT puts you at the 58th percentile, meaning you scored higher than 58% all 2 million+ test takers. Earning an 1100 makes you eligible to apply to most colleges and universities as a decent candidate.Is a 1175 a good SAT score? ›
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 990, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1175. In other words, a 990 places you below average, while a 1175 will move you up to above average.Is 1020 a good SAT score? ›
Their scores are a combination of Math (800 points) and Reading (800 points). A 1020 is average.Can I get into MIT with a 1500 SAT? ›
MIT SAT Requirements
You must at least have an SAT score of 1500 to have a chance of being considered for admission to MIT. If we investigate the data of previously admitted students to MIT, the lowest SAT math score was in the 700-740 range.
Stanford SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
There's no absolute SAT requirement at Stanford, but they really want to see at least a 1440 to have a chance at being considered.
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1470, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1560. In other words, a 1470 places you below average, while a 1560 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at Yale, but they really want to see at least a 1470 to have a chance at being considered.Can you get a 1600 SAT and miss questions? ›
You can find official SAT practice tests and their scoring tables at the College Board. As you can see with the above SAT scoring chart, it's possible to get some questions wrong and still earn the max SAT score. Generally speaking, you can miss 1-2 questions on each section and still get a perfect 1600.
How many people have gotten perfect SAT scores? ›
Scoring a perfect 1600 on the SAT isn't easy — less than 1% of students do this.How rare is a perfect SAT score? ›
How Many People Get A Perfect SAT Score? Yearly, less than 1% of all test-takers get a perfect score. That's hundreds out of nearly three million people who take the test. The people who score perfect aren't necessarily the smartest test-takers–but they are often the most prepared.What is the lowest SAT score ever recorded? ›
The lowest SAT score is 400. Your total SAT score is comprised of a Math section score and an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score. Each SAT section is scored between 200 and 800 points. The average SAT score for the class of 2020 was 1051.Can I get into MIT with a 1550 SAT? ›
MIT SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
In other words, a 1500 places you below average, while a 1570 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at MIT, but they really want to see at least a 1500 to have a chance at being considered.
99th Percentile: 34
A 34 is a really, really high score. It's only two points away from a perfect score, but it's still a feat that is accomplished by 1-in-100 test takers.
Key Point: 1580 or above increases your chances of acceptance; 1450 or below means you're not likely to get in.Who got a 1600 SAT? ›
A Davis Senior High School student received a perfect score on his SAT exam. Apurva Mishra's father called KCRA 3 when the results arrived, ecstatic that his son scored a 1600 score, placing him in the 99th percentile in the nation among test-takers.Has the SAT score always been 1600? ›
For most of its history, the SAT has been out of 1600. Starting in the 1950s, the SAT offered a Verbal and Math section, with each section worth 800 points. Before that, students completed 7-9 subtests to receive their final score.Is 1300 a good SAT score for 2022? ›
Is a 1300 Sat Score (87th Percentile) Good? Yes. It indicates good performance in all sections of the exam and places you around the 87th percentile of all test takers, meaning you scored higher than 87% of all test takers.Is 1200 a good SAT score for 2022? ›
Utilizing a scoring scale of 400 to 1600, the SAT's best possible result is a 1600. A score of 1200 demonstrates an above average performance and shows that you answered a majority of the questions on the standardized test correctly.
Is 1500 a good SAT score in 2022? ›
A 1500 puts you in nearly the 95th percentile of all 1.7 million test takers. Just 100 points shy of a perfect score, a 1500 makes you eligible to apply to every college and university in the country and be competitive for admission at almost every single one, including elite institutions.Is 1400 a good SAT score in 2022? ›
Is 1400 a good SAT score? Considering that 1600 is the top score and 1059 is the average score, it's safe to say that 1400 is a good score! It gives you the option of applying to even the most competitive schools, as well as earn significant merit aid.Can you get into Harvard with a 1300 SAT? ›
Harvard applicants with a combined SAT score of 1300-1400 and an average GPA of 3.5-4.0 have a better chance of being accepted to Harvard University.Can I get into UCLA with a 1300 SAT? ›
UCLA admissions is extremely selective with an acceptance rate of 14%. Students that get into UCLA have an average SAT score between 1300-1530 or an average ACT score of 29-35.How many people get 1600 SAT? ›
A 1600 is only achieved by around 300 test takers per year and makes you eligible and highly competitive for admission at every college.Can I get into Harvard with a 1200 SAT? ›
SAT exam is an entrance test to get into colleges and universities in the United States. To get admission to top colleges like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, one needs to score at least 1500. But there are more than 430 colleges that accept an SAT score of 1200 or 75th percentile score.Can I get into Ivy League with 1200 SAT score? ›
If a student gets a score that ranges from 1200 to 1300 in their SAT exam, they are not eligible to apply for admission to any of the colleges coming under the ivy league.What is the average SAT score for Yale? › What SAT score do you need for Ivy League? ›
Ideal SAT Score for Ivy League Colleges
A good average aim should be 75 percentile or an SAT score of 1580 (out of 1600). But the main goal should be to earn scores that exceed the majority of applicants. Students can look at the previous year's scores to predict how much score they should aim for.
A 1400 SAT score places you in the top 95th percentile of all students taking the SAT.
Can I get into Duke with a 1400 SAT? ›
There's no absolute SAT requirement at Duke, but they really want to see at least a 1450 to have a chance at being considered.How hard is it to get a 1400? ›
If a student receives a 1400 SAT score, that puts them in the 94th percentile, meaning the student performed better than 94% of all test takers. With a 1500 on the test, the student would be in the 99th percentile, which is a difference of about 10 more questions answered correctly.