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.

 

Table of Contents


 

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 University1460-1570
Harvard University1460-1570
Columbia University1450-1570
Massachusetts Institute of Technology1510-1570
Yale University1460-1570
Stanford University1440-1570
University of Chicago1500-1570
University of Pennsylvania1450-1560
California Institute of Technology1530-1560
Johns Hopkins University1470-1570
Northwestern University1440-1550
Duke University1480-1570
Dartmouth College1440-1560
Brown University1440-1570
Vanderbilt University1460-1560
Rice University1470-1570
Washington University in St. Louis1480-1560
Cornell University1400-1560
University of Notre Dame1400-1550
University of California - Los Angeles1280-1530
Emory University1360-1530
University of California - Berkeley1310-1530
Georgetown University1380-1550
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor1340-1530
University of Southern California1360-1530
Carnegie Mellon University1460-1560
University of Virginia1340-1520
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill1300-1490
Wake Forest University1320-1490
New York University1350-1530
Tufts University1390-1540
University of California - Santa Barbara1240-1490
University of Florida1310-1470
University of Rochester1310-1500
Boston College1340-1500
Georgia Institute of Technology1370-1530
University of California - Irvine1160-1440
University of California - San Diego1230-1490
University of California - Davis1150-1420
College of William and Mary1320-1510
Tulane University1360-1520
Boston University1340-1510
Brandeis University1350-1520
Case Western Reserve University1340-1510
University of Texas - Austin1230-1480
University of Wisconsin - Madison1310-1490
University of Georgia1240-1420
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign1220-1480
Lehigh University1280-1450
Northeastern University
1390-1540
Pepperdine University1230-1450
University of Miami1270-1440
Ohio State University - Columbus1250-1460
Purdue University - West Lafeyette1190-1440
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute1330-1510
Santa Clara University1280-1440
Villanova University1320-1470
Florida State University1200-1340
Syracuse University1180-1380
University of Maryland - College Park1280-1480
University of Pittsburgh1260-1440
University of Washington1220-1470
Pennsylvania State University1160-1370
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick1210-1430
University of Connecticut1190-1390
Fordham University1240-1450
George Washington University1280-1470
Loyola Marymount University1230-1410
Southern Methodist University1300-1480
Texas A&M University - College Station1160-1390
University of Massachusetts- Amherst1190-1390
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities1260-1480
Worcester Polytechnic Institute1310-1470
Clemson University1230-1400
Virginia Tech1180-1390
American University1210-1390
Baylor University1200-1380
Indiana University - Bloomington1150-1360
Yeshiva University1150-1390
Brigham Young University--Provo1210-1420
Gonzaga University1200-1360
Howard University1130-1280
Michigan State University1100-1320
North Carolina State University - Raleigh1250-1420
Stevens Institute of Technology1340-1500
Texas Christian University1150-1350
University of Denver1170-1350
Binghamton University--SUNY1280-1440
Colorado School of Mines1260-1460
Elon University1160-1320
Marquette University1120-1320
Stony Brook University -SUNY1230-1440
University at Buffalo - SUNY1160-1340
University of California--Riverside1110-1340
University of Iowa1130-1340
University of San Diego1190-1370
Auburn University1150-1320
University of Arizona1110-1360
University of California--Merced980-1180
University of California - Santa Cruz1190-1390
University of Delaware1170-1360
University of Utah1143-1380

Back to Top

 

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).
    • Math score range: 200-800 points
    • Evidence-Based Reading & Writing score range: 200-800 points
    • The average SAT score on each section is 500 points, give or take 30 points (in 2020, the average EBRW score was 528 and the average math score was 529).
       
  • 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 about 1000 points (the average overall composite score in 2020 was 1051).
       

Back to Top

 

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
149099
148099
147099
146099
145098
144098
143098
142098
141097
140097
139097
138096
137096
136095
135094
134094
133093
132093
131092
130091
129090
128089
127088
126087
125086
124085
123084
122083
121082
120081
119080
118078
117077
116076
115074
114073
113071
112070
111069
110067
109065
108063
107061
106060
105058
104056
103054
102052
101050
100048
99046
98044
97042
96040
95038
94036
93035
92033
91031
90029
89027
88026
87024
86023
85021
84020
83018
82017
81016
80014
79013
78011
77010
7609
7508
7407
7306
7205
7104
7004
6903
6802
6702
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 (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)
80099+
79099+
78099
77099
76099
75098
74098
73097
72097
71096
70095
69094
68093
67092
66091
65090
64089
63087
62085
61083
60081
59079
58076
57073
56071
55068
54065
53061
52057
51052
50047
49044
48040
47036
46032
45029
44025
43023
42020
41017
40015
39013
38010
3709
3607
3505
3404
3303
3202
3101
3001
2901
2801-
2701-
2601-
2501-
2401-
2301-
2201-
2101-
2001-
SAT Percentiles (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)

Total Score (Section)Percentile (Math)
80099+
79099+
78099+
77099+
76099+
75099
74099
73099
72098
71097
70097
69096
68095
67093
66092
65090
64088
63086
62084
61081
60079
59076
58074
57071
56068
55065
54062
53058
52055
51051
50048
49044
48041
47038
46034
45031
44028
43024
42022
41019
40016
39013
38011
3709
3607
3505
3403
3302
3202
3101
3001
2901-
2801-
2701-
2601-
2501-
2401-
2301-
2201-
2101-
2001-

Back to Top

 

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?
Back to Top

 

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.
Back to Top

 

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.

Back to Top

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!

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!