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Chris Lele

SAT Scores: Everything You Need to Know

a hand drawing bar chart on a notepad on a desk with a calculator representing sat scores, sat score range -image by magoosh
After taking the SAT and waiting what feels like forever for your scores (even though it’s actually more like two to three weeks!), you’re probably wondering: what’s a good SAT score range, and how does yours stack up? Generally, a good score is 1200-1400+. However, this range comes with many caveats!

The ranges of “good scores” vary a lot depending on both your goals and your age. The more competitive your dream schools are, the higher your target score should be. On the other hand, you can expect your scores to increase as you go through high school. For that reason, if you’re a sophomore, 1300 is a good score, while a freshman should be very pleased with scores of 1200 or higher.

Want to find out exactly what a good score would be for you and your goals? Read on for more information about SAT scores—from average SAT scores to SAT score charts, we have all the data you need.

 

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What Is a Good SAT Score Range for Colleges?

Let’s face it: at the end of the day, there is no “SAT passing score.” What is considered a good score depends almost entirely on the colleges that you’re applied to.

Keeping in mind the general SAT score range to aim for, let’s take a closer look at good scores for your dream school. Just to make things a little easier on you, we’ve put together this table of score ranges for the top universities in the United States. The numbers are from the middle 50% score range (meaning 25% of admitted students had lower scores and 25% had higher scores).

Type the name of your chosen school in the search box to find its middle 50% SAT score range!

Universities and CollegesSAT (25th to 75th Percentile Scores)
Princeton University1430-1570
Harvard University1480-1560
Yale University1420-1590
Columbia University1490-1590
Stanford University1510-1580
University of Chicago1490-1560
Massachusetts Institute of Technology1510-1580
Duke University1490-1560
University of Pennsylvania1420-1550
California Institute of Technology1530-1590
Johns Hopkins University1460-1580
Dartmouth College1420-1560
Northwestern University1420-1560
Brown University1405-1570
Cornell University1390-1550
Vanderbilt University1400-1550
Washington University in St. Louis1470-1570
Rice University1450-1560
University of Notre Dame1370-1520
University of California - Berkeley1290-1510
Emory University1430-1550
Georgetown University1380-1470
Carnegie Mellon University1330-1510
University of California - Los Angeles1240-1490
University of Southern California1300-1500
Tufts University1410-1550
Wake Forest UniversityTest Optional: 1320-1500
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor1380-1540
Boston College1340-1480
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill1280-1470
New York University1350-1530
University of Rochester1280-1490
Brandeis University1340-1510
College of William and Mary1310-1490
Georgia Institute of Technology1360-1490
University of California - Santa Barbara1290-1500
University of California - Irvine1195 - 1435
University of California - San Diego1300-1520
Boston University1420-1530
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute1320-1500
Tulane University1410-1510
University of California - Davis1260-1480
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign1270-1480
University of Wisconsin - Madison1280-1450
Lehigh University1330-1500
Northeastern University1360-1540
Pennsylvania State University1250-1430
University of Florida1330-1460
University of Miami1220-1410
Ohio State University - Columbus1240-1450
Pepperdine University1190-1390
University of Texas - Austin1170-1410
University of Washington1250-1430
Yeshiva University1140-1400
George Washington University1280-1460
University of Connecticut1130-1340
University of Maryland - College Park1330-1470
Worcester Polytechnic Institute1300-1460
Clemson University1220-1390
Purdue University - West Lafeyette1190-1390
Southern Methodist University1280-1460
Syracuse University1180-1370
University of Georgia1300-1460
Brigham Young University - Provo1190-1420
Fordham University1310-1450
University of Pittsburgh1270-1430
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities1310-1460
Texas A&M University - College Station1140-1360
Virginia Tech1100-1320
American University1220-1380
Baylor University1190-1360
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick1190-1410
Clark University1200-1390
Colorado School of Mines1290-1450
Indiana University - Bloomington1150-1360
Michigan State University1110-1250
Stevens Institute of Technology1330-1480
University of Delaware1180-1350
University of Massachusetts- Amherst1200-1390
Miami University - Oxford1200-1380
Texas Christian University1150-1340
University of California - Santa Cruz1170-1400
University of Iowa1120-1330
Marquette University1150-1320
University of Denver1170-1370
University of Tulsa1150-1440
Binghamton University -SUNY1290-1430
North Carolina State University - Raleigh1250-1390
Stony Brook University -SUNY1220-1440
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry1150-1300
University of Colorado - Boulder1150-1360
University of San Diego1190-1490
University of Vermont1180-1360
Florida State University1200-1350
Saint Louis University1170-1390
University of Alabama1060-1280
Drexel University1170-1380
Loyola University Chicago1120-1310
University at Buffalo - SUNY1140-1310
Auburn University1150-1310

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SAT Score Scale: The Basics

Before you send your score report to admissions officers, make sure you understand the SAT scoring scale. What is the SAT out of? What’s the top SAT score? Knowing these things can help you figure out what a good score is for you and what your goals should be.

Improve your SAT score; start your Magoosh SAT prep today

Basically, SAT test scores are given both by section and overall. Here’s a quick breakdown of the sectional SAT score scale and how it contributes to the composite score. Note that this “new” SAT scoring applies to tests from 2016 onwards—scores were different on previous versions of the SAT, with a top SAT score of 2400!

  • You’ll receive two sectional scores, one Math and one Verbal (combined from the Reading and Writing sections).
  • Your Math and Reading/Writing sectional scores add up to a composite (combined) score. The highest composite score you can earn on the SAT is 1600 points.
    • Composite score range: 400-1600 points
    • The average composite score is 1000 points.
       

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What Are SAT Percentiles?

Another way of evaluating your scores is to look at percentiles. Your SAT percentile measures the percentage of test-takers who got a lower score than you did. This means that percentile numbers, much like score numbers, indicate better test performance when they’re higher.

Here’s how to find your score percentiles on your online score report.
 
sat score report - magoosh

Basically, SAT percentiles compare your scores to average scores. Because the SAT is a standardized test, it means that these scores are easily comparable. This information falls along a bell curve:

sat average scores bell curve - magoosh

If you’re in the 91st percentile, for example, it means that only 9% of all other scores are higher than yours. In contrast, in the 30th percentile, 30% of all other test takers would have lower scores than you… and roughly 70% of the scores were higher than yours. This would place you in the bottom half of the year’s test-takers, in terms of performance.

SAT percentiles are calculated annually. Click the arrows below to see the College Board’s most recently released SAT User percentiles (meaning only juniors and seniors).

SAT Percentiles (Composite)

Total (Composite) ScorePercentile
160099+
159099+
158099+
157099+
156099+
155099+
154099
153099
152099
151099
150099
149098
148098
147098
146097
145097
144096
143096
142095
141095
140094
139094
138093
137092
136092
135091
134090
133089
132088
131088
130087
129086
128084
127083
126082
125081
124080
123079
122077
121076
120074
119073
118072
117070
116068
115067
114065
113063
112062
111060
110058
109056
108054
107052
106051
105049
104047
103045
102043
101041
100039
99037
98036
97034
96032
95031
94029
93027
92026
91024
90023
89021
88020
87018
86017
85015
84014
83013
82012
81011
80010
7909
7808
7707
7606
7505
7404
7304
7203
7103
7002
6902
6801
6701
6601
6501
6401
6301-
6201-
6101-
6001-
5901-
5801-
5701-
5601-
5501-
5401-
5301-
5201-
5101-
5001-
4901-
4801-
4701-
4601-
4501-
4401-
4301-
4201-
4101-
4001-
SAT Percentiles (Math)

Total Score (Section)Percentile (Math)
80099+
79099
78098
77098
76097
75096
74096
73095
72094
71093
70092
69091
68089
67088
66086
65085
64083
63081
62079
61077
60075
59072
58069
57066
56064
55061
54057
53053
52049
51044
50040
49037
48034
47031
46028
45025
44022
43020
42017
41015
40013
39011
3809
3707
3606
3504
3403
3302
3201
3101
3001
2901
2801-
2701-
2601-
2501-
2401-
2301-
2201-
2101-
2001-
SAT Percentiles (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)

Total Score (Section)Percentile (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)
80099+
79099+
78099+
77099+
76099
75099
74098
73097
72097
71096
70094
69093
68092
67090
66088
65086
64084
63081
62078
61075
60072
59069
58066
57063
56059
55056
54052
53049
52045
51042
50038
49035
48031
47028
46025
45022
44019
43016
42014
41011
4009
3908
3806
3704
3603
3502
3402
3301
3201
3101
3001-
2901-
2801-
2701-
2601-
2501-
2401-
2301-
2201-
2101-
2001-

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What Is a Good Score for Scholarships?

Many colleges around the country have what are called guaranteed scholarships. These scholarships are automatically awarded to accepted students who have earned a certain SAT score.

A larger number of colleges also have general merit scholarships. These scholarships have the same SAT requirements, but you are in competition with other accepted students for a limited number of awards. These scholarships may require a separate application, along with a personal or themed essay.

Scholarships based on academic merit often have minimum scores provided in their descriptions. Take note of any score requirements you find during your research, then average all those scores. The result is your minimum score goal for scholarships. To see the types of scholarships out there, check out our article What’s a Good SAT Score for Scholarships?
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How Does the Adversity Index Impact My Score?

If you’ve been paying attention to SAT news lately, you may have heard about College Board’s new adversity index. This is a measurement that they will give to colleges to contextualize your scores in terms of relative advantage/disadvantage.

By creating this new measure, the College Board hopes to show how students from low-income and minority populations perform compared to other students from similar backgrounds. While this has been controversial, the adversity index will not affect scores themselves.

Instead, what it will give schools is an understanding of your percentiles based on both your “Environmental Context” and your “High School Context.” Again, this won’t change your score at all, but instead give universities one more measure with which to interpret your scores.
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How Can I Improve My Scores?

Check out this video for tips to boost your score, and read on for resources to help you before and during test day! You can also use these tips if you’re planning on retaking the SAT.

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A Final Note

“How do my SAT scores stack up?” It’s a question that almost every test taker has asked at some point! By taking a look at the score ranges for the colleges you’re applying to, comparing your scores to the national average scores with percentile rankings, and working your test prep to keep improving your score when necessary, you’ll have everything you need to understand how your score will impact your college admissions!

Still unsure whether you want to take the SAT or ACT? Wondering how your scores stack up to potential ACT scores? Check out Magoosh’s SAT to ACT conversion!

About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!


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