What is a Good SAT score?

A perfect score SAT is not impossible. Learn about SAT Scores, how to prepare for SAT, tips to help you to find universities you can enrol in on the basis of your score and more.

Updated by Theres Ann on 21st May 2019

It’s nearly impossible to predict the best SAT score. However, a rough score of 1400 can probably get you admission in any of the colleges and universities of the country. The SAT score policy of the college has to be considered first. The average SAT scores that students receive range between 1050 and 1060.

College admissions in the United States are standardized with the help of a widely used test known as the SAT. The test was first called the Scholastic Aptitude test in 1926. Then the name changed to Scholastic Assessment Test, SAT I: Reasoning Test, SAT Reasoning Test and finally SAT.

The College Board which is a private, non-profit organization in the United States owns, develops and publishes the SAT. The Educational Testing Service administers the test on behalf of the College Board. The SAT exam measures the preparedness of a student for the college. The test mostly reflects what students learn in high-school. The SAT scores along with High-School GPA of the student would be a better indicator of how good the student is in the studies.

  • The four sections of the SAT include Reading, Writing, Language, and Math (with and without the use of calculators).

  • An additional essay section is available at the end of the four basic sections. Students may or may not take this section.

  • The normal duration of the exam is 3 hours. If the essay section is attempted an additional half hour is allotted to students.

  • The total score of the exam is the combined result of two section scores.

  • SAT score is entirely based on the number of correct answers and hence students needn't worry about negative marking.

  • Low scores can be covered up with a remarkable college application. Moreover, most colleges ask students to take up an extra-course, to balance the low scores that they have secured. 

What is a good SAT Score?

Source: La Vega High School

Structure of SAT scores

It consists of two sections/subscores which together accounts for the total marks of the SAT.

First Section is Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW), with a total of 100 minutes with a total of 96 questions.

  • Reading section consists of 52 questions and students are allotted 65 minutes for completion.

  • Writing section consists of 44 questions and 35 minutes are given for completion.

Second Section is Math, that has 58 questions and students are given 80 minutes for completion. It is further divided as

  • 55 minutes calculator section

  • 25 minutes no calculator section.

How to score high for SAT?

The maximum score of the SAT is 1600. Out of millions of students who appear for the test usually, just 300 get the highest scores.

Try to miss a maximum of just 1 or 2 questions when you appear for the reading section. You’ll have to score for all the questions in the mathematics section. You can miss one question at most in the writing section.

  • Keep motivating yourself. Only hard-work would work to bring the best out of you.

  • Avoid low-quality materials when you prepare for the test. Though costly get the most simple and worthy study-materials. And in fact, the best study materials come from the College Board.

  • Rather than mugging up the content in the preparation material, learn various approaches that you can use to solve the given problem.

  • Avoid distractions.

  • Double check your answers.  

What not to do?

How to score high for SAT

source - imgflip.com


How does SAT score work?

The range of sat score is between 400-1600 for the total score, however, the scores are divided into two sub scores which comprise of ‘Math’ and another sub-score which combines your reading and writing skills to form the “Evidence-based reading and writing”, the subscores range is between 200-800.

To determine a good sat score depending on the colleges and universities you are interested to be a part of, you must be aware of the highest sat score that is 1600, consisting of 2 sections having 800 marks each.

SAT memes

Source: Discover Instagram

SAT scores average

The table below displays the average sat score for both the subscores as well as the total sat score out of 800 and 1600 respectively.

Total SAT score 1060 1600
SAT exam sections Average Marks Total Marks
Mathematics 527 800
Evidence-based reading and writing. 533 800
  • Based on the above table a good SAT score is the one that is above the National SAT Average Score, having above-average marks such as 1100-1200 increases your chances as well as provides you an ample number of options to choose from.

  • Having just above-average marks may still not be good enough for the most selective and popular schools and colleges, but having above-average marks definitely increases your chances of attending a good college, school or university.

  • Scoring marks that are below average can result in fewer choices and probably you are left with choices for only a few four-year schools.

  • There are still a few colleges where having the good academic record can help you balance the below average sat score with the good academic records, however, this may also be applicable under certain terms and conditions.

  • Having higher SAT scores means having higher options and chances. 

SAT scores average

Source: Studyabroad Careers360

Number of trials allowed for SAT

Students can write the exams as many numbers of times and the College Board is more than happy to let you attempt any number of tests. Only the 6 most recent scores will stay on the file. But it is more welcoming to attend the test for a maximum of 4 times in total.

Some colleges do not permit the Score Choice option which allows you to submit the best scores for evaluation. So, it is necessary to understand the Score Choice policy of your college and then act accordingly. 

If you want to keep your scores high, you can take up training sessions. But, if you are trying your luck by attempting one exam after the other, you might end up in losing your time and money. So decide on the number of times, you’ll be attempting the test.

The first attempt can be a trial to know about the question patterns and effective time management. After further training, you can improve your performance upon each new attempt.

SAT Percentiles

Based on the marks scored by the students, the SAT score follows the normal distribution of marks. The students who score higher marks in the SAT have a very high chance of getting admitted among various different colleges. The percentile is distributed as mentioned below -

Based on the following percentile distribution you can see that anything above-average puts you above 50 percentile who is considered a pretty good score, and thus above-average scores or even higher scores have a wide range of variety when it comes to schools, colleges, and universities.

Remember - The more the SAT score, the better the chances of getting into a popular college or university.

Whereas anything below the average scores that is 1060 reduces the number of options and is considered comparatively low.

How good is your SAT score compared to others?

The SAT score can be considered good when it’s either above-average or it satisfies the requirement of the school or college you are considering. Having above-average marks or suppose having secured 1350 or more marks puts you in the 90 percentile category, which means you scored better than the rest 90 % of students appearing for the same test. 

These marks are good enough for a lot of prominent schools, colleges, and universities. Though a few selective schools may demand more marks but have just above average marks are good enough for a variety of colleges.`

SAT Scores (Score Comparison)

On an individual level, good SAT scores are any score that gets you into at least one among the colleges you would like to go to. To figure out what a good 2018 SAT score is for all students, however, we'll need to take a broader view of SAT score data.

SAT Marks Percentile
1330-1600 90-99+
1230-1330 80-89
1170-1230 71-79
1110-1170 61-79
1060-1110 51-60
1000-1060 40-50
950-1000 31-39
890-950 21-30
810-890  11-20
750-810  5-10
680-750  1-4
400-680 1-3

As a general rule, well SAT scores are ones that place you within the top half of test-takers, the farther on top of average your score is, the better. Similarly, a not-so-good sat score is one that lands you in the bottom half of test-takers.

To take a closer look at the various levels of performance on the SAT, there's a chart with sat percentiles and scores. Remember that a percentile score tells you what proportion of students performed at or below your level. 

SAT Percentile Evidence-based Reading and Writing Math Total
90th percentile (excellent)   670* 680* 1340*
73rd percentile (good) 600 590 1180
50th percentile (average)     530** 520** 1050**
25th percentile (poor) 460 450 910*
10th percentile (very poor) 400 390 810*

*Score is one percentile higher than percentile listed (e.g. 91st or 24th percentiles).

**Score is one percentile lower than percentile listed (e.g. 49th percentile)

A "perfect" SAT score or the highest possible score on the examination is 1600 points. The present average SAT score is 1060.

A "good" SAT score depends on the colleges and universities you're considering. A score of 1200 on the SAT is above the present national average and can make you a strong applicant at several universities, but it's going to fall below the average score for accepted students at more selective colleges. 

How good is your SAT score?

Source: Quickmeme

SAT scores for Colleges and Universities

To help you understand the SAT score requirements of various colleges and setting your goals to achieve the required targets, below are a few tables showing the SAT score requirements of the most popular colleges.

University of Rochester

source - the scientist magazine

Universities/Colleges that accept SAT scores above 1340

Some of the popular universities that accept SAT score of above 1340 are as given below.

Rank University/College Name SAT25 percentile SAT75 percentile Acceptance Rate
1 Stanford University 1390 1580 5.0%
2 Harvard University 1400 1600 5.6%
3 University of Pennsylvania 1380 1550 10.2%
4 Washington University in St. Louis 1400 1550 16.7%
5 Yale University 1430 1600 6.7%
6 Bowdoin College 1360 1510 14.9%
7 Columbia University 1380 1570 6.6%

Institutions accepting SAT scores between 1200-1340

Some of the popular colleges that accept SAT scores between 1200 and 3400 are as given below.

Rank University Name SAT25 percentile SAT75 percentile Acceptance Rate
1 University of Southern California 1270 1500 16.6%
2 New York University 1250 1470 32.1%
3 University of Michigan-Ann Harbor 1290 1500 26.3%
4 Northern University 1340 1510 28.5%
5 Boston University 1200 1410 32.6%
6 Cornell University 1330 1530 15.1%
7 UC Berkeley 1250 1510 16.9%

Institutions accepting SAT scores between 1030-1200

A few of the universities that accept SAT score between 1030 and 1200 are as given below.

Rank College Name SAT25 percentile SAT75 percentile Acceptance Rate
1 UCLA 1180 1470 17.30%
2 Penn State 1090 1300 51.30%
3 UT Austin 1170 1410 39.20%
4 University of Florida 1170 1350 47.50%
5 Syracuse University 1090 1290 48.30%
6 UC Santa Barbara 1090 1360 32.60%
7 University of Washington 1120 1370 53.30%

Universities accepting SAT scores between 830-1030

Few colleges accept SAT Scores between 830 and 1030. They are as given below.

Rank University Name SAT25 percentile SAT75 percentile Acceptance Rate
1 San Diego State University 1010 1230 34.4%
2 Temple University 1010 1230 55.7%
3 University of Alabama 980 1210 53.6%
4 Michigan State University 980 1260 66.3%
5 Liberty University 930 1190 21.6%
6 University of Arizona 983 1230 76.4%
7 Howard University 990 1220 49.0%

Institutions accepting SAT scores below 830

There are also a few other universities that accept SAT score below 830. They are given below.

Rank University/College Name SAT25 percentile SAT75 percentile Acceptance Rate
1 California State University Northridge 790 1010 45.6%
2 CSU Los Angeles 780 990 68.1%
3 Clark Atlanta University 740 920 51.2%
4 SUNY Buffalo State College 800 1000 62.3%
5 CSU East Bay 800 1020 74.0%
6 Morgan State University 800 970 66.7%
7 CSU Fresno 790 1010 52.2

These are the various examples or options of colleges for you to choose if your score falls between any of the mentioned categories. The above tables give an idea about the popular and selective colleges that are open for the students having the required Sat scores. There are plenty of schools and colleges available for the students who are having above-average marks or even below average marks.

The table can also help to set up SAT score goals and find the college that best suits you.


There are multiple ways to define what a good SAT score is. The broadest comparison means observing your SAT score and comparing it to the average score (1060). If you scored at or above the typical SAT score, you probably did well; if you scored below this score, you probably did not. Ultimately, a good SAT score is one that gets you into the colleges you would like to go to. And how much your preparation is effective, at last everything boils down to your efforts. 

Low SAT scores? Don’t worry.

  • There are several colleges that accept students with low SAT scores.

  • The reason why they do it is that most of these colleges are specialization institutions for religion and arts.

  • Hence, the college authorities would want students who are really passionate about these courses and believe that the SAT scores shouldn’t prevent them from applying to these colleges.

One thing to always remember is that a sat score whether it’s good or bad is specific to you, the score that is good for you may or may not be good for others. The sat score is good only when it is able to accomplish its job of getting you admitted to a school, college or university of your choice.

All the Bestsource -quickmeme.com


  What is the SAT?

SAT is an assessment exam that checks the college-preparedness of students in the United States. It is administered by the College Board and is used as a filtering factor for admissions to college.

  What is Score Choice in SAT?

Most colleges in the United States provide an option to select the best SAT scores to submit at the college. But there a few colleges which accept the most recent scores in the list. It is necessary to understand the Score Choice facility of your dream college before you appear for the SAT.

  What is the maximum number of times you can attempt the SAT?

There is no restriction on the number of times you attempt the SAT. You can attempt for it until you reach your perfect score.

  Would an increase in the number of attempts, increase your scores?

Mostly, you reach your personal best score at the third or the fourth attempt. More attempts would probably not increase your scores but waste your time and money.

  What is the duration of SAT exams?

If the additional essay section is taken up, then the exams can last for about 3 hours and 50 minutes. Or else the duration of the exam is for 3 hours with 15 minutes break.

  Can SAT exams be taken online?

SAT exams are proctored and conducted in scheduled time and location.

  What is the maximum possible score of the SAT?

The maximum possible score of SAT is 1600.

  Is there negative marking in the SAT exam?

There is no negative marking in the SAT exam.

  What is a bad score in the SAT?

Scores below 1100 are mostly considered as bad scores.

  What is an average score in SAT?

Any score between 1100 and 1500 are considered as average scores in SAT.

  What is a good score in SAT?

A score above 1500 is considered as a good score in SAT.