How to Get A Perfect SAT Score

Woman studying
May 24, 2024
7 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

Wondering how to get a perfect score on the SAT? Read on to learn the ins and outs of achieving a perfect SAT score. 

Your SAT score shows schools you’re ready to handle the rigorous instruction college offers. A perfect score on the SAT is a dream shared by many high school students intent on getting into a top college. Here’s some helpful information on how to get a stellar SAT score. 

What is a Perfect SAT Score?

A perfect SAT score is 1600. In 2023, the average SAT score was 1028, and only 10% of students scored above 1360. To achieve a perfect score, you’ll need to create a solid study plan well in advance of your test date. 

Important factors to consider are what schools you apply to, and their test policies, since some schools make it optional to submit SAT scores. While a high SAT score can bolster your application, it may not make or break your chances of getting into your dream school. 

Regardless, shooting for the highest SAT score possible sets you on a path to success throughout the college admissions process. Based on a comprehensive list of SAT scores, 1520-1600 places you in the 99th percentile

It’s best to try and achieve an SAT score that falls around the average for recently admitted classes. To earn a near-perfect score on your SAT, you must strive to be in the 99th percentile of all test-takers. The chart below breaks down the different sections, test topics, and the total score for each section.

Writing and Language Test Reading Test Math Test
Total Score: /400 Total Score: /400 Total Score: /800
Grammar Critical reading Algebra
Vocabulary Reading comprehension Calculus
General English language skills History and literary knowledge Data analysis

It’s best to aim for a higher SAT score than the average of admitted students at the school you want to apply to.

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 are often the most prepared. 

Tips to Get A Perfect SAT Score

There are a few tried-and-true methods to achieving a perfect score on the SAT. Here are a few tips on how to get a perfect score on the SAT.

1. Give Yourself Time 

You should allocate at least three months to studying for the SAT. However, if you're aiming for a perfect score, you might want to plan to start around six months ahead of your test date. Use this time to seek out valuable SAT resources, develop a study plan, and systematically work through test content.

2. Work on Where You’re Weakest 

If you are a math wiz but struggle to display your thoughts in writing, pay extra attention to the SAT’s Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section. Taking a practice SAT to identify weak points, not to replicate test-taking conditions, can help you achieve a perfect score.  

3. Time Yourself 

It’s good to mimic the testing atmosphere for when the day comes. In a perfect world, you’d have all the time necessary to double-check your answers. However, since the test is timed, it’s best to take practice tests within a time limit as well. Ensuring you can get through the SAT in time will put you one step closer to that dream SAT score. 

Additionally, it would be beneficial to try at least two practice tests to prepare you for test day. 

4. Hire a Tutor or Study With Friends 

Anyone who can keep you accountable is a great study partner. An SAT tutor can be highly effective at identifying your areas for improvement and assisting you through them. Another great way to learn something is to put it in your own words and teach it to someone else. This is where studying in a group setting can be highly effective.  

Collaborative studying can be beneficial for everyone. Your classmates can explain and rephrase questions you might find challenging, and vice versa. 

5. Get Yourself in the Right Mindset 

Nourishing, hydrating, and coming to your test well-rested is crucial to your success on your test day. Getting a good night’s rest, not scheduling anything else important around test day, and eating healthy are often overlooked but crucial ways to ensure you score as high as possible.

6. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again

Getting a high score on the SAT is challenging. If you feel the pressure got to you on test day or you didn’t prepare as much as you would have liked, retaking the test might be your best bet. 

Many students retake the test for a second or third time, with their scores visibly increasing on each try. If you don’t reach a perfect 1600 on your first try, you can always try again – just ensure you take the test early enough to account for a retake!

Not sure if you're ready to ace the SAT? Take our free interactive SAT Readiness Quiz to find out if you're prepared to succeed on the test!

FAQs: How to Get a Perfect SAT Score

To achieve a perfect SAT score, you must commit yourself to a lot of practice. Below are some helpful pieces of information to aid you in your studying. 

1. How Rare Is A Perfect SAT Score?

Achieving a perfect score is very rare but possible; how many students get a perfect SAT score each year varies, but they make up less than 1% of the test-taker pool.

2. Is It Possible to Get A Perfect SAT Score?

Absolutely. A perfect score is possible with enough purposeful studying and practice. That said, those who get a perfect SAT only take up 1% of all test-takers.

3. How Much Do You Need to Study to Get A Perfect SAT Score?

Though there is no definitive answer to this question, a typical student will prepare for an average of three months before test day. If you're serious about achieving a perfect score, you may want to begin your SAT prep journey even earlier. 

4. Do Ivy League Schools Require a Perfect Score? 

Top schools typically admit students with high scores but not necessarily perfect ones. Also, many Ivy League schools are now test-optional. Remember, many schools rely on numerous aspects of your application to evaluate your candidacy – not just your SAT score.

5. Is it Easier to Get a Perfect SAT Score or ACT score? 

In a way, this question is like comparing apples and oranges. Given that the SAT consists of more points, there are more points to lose. However, the SAT also allows more time on average to answer questions; the SAT and ACT both have trade-offs, so there’s no concrete answer. 

6. How Do People Get a Perfect Score on the SAT? 

Those who score 1600 on the SAT are often the most prepared students: they identify areas where they struggle and take steps to bridge these gaps. With enough practice and confidence, it’s easier to score high on the SAT! 

7. What Is the Highest SAT Score? 

The highest possible score you can get on the SAT is 1600.

8. Can I predict my SAT score?

Yes! Prepare for your standardized test stress-free with our simple SAT Score Calculator! It’s easy to use and gives a quick estimate of how you might perform on the SAT exam.

Final Thoughts

A perfect score on the SAT is a sufficient but not necessary condition for a successful college application. It’s good to strive for a perfect score because even if you fall short of this goal, your score should be strong enough to help you stand out. Remember that many other factors contribute to the success of your college application.

Everyone's SAT journey is different. Ensure you study hard but also study smart. Hone in on the areas where you struggle, find people who can help you study, and use the resources available to boost your chances of achieving a perfect score! 

Take on 5 free practice SAT questions here

Take on 5 free practice SAT questions here

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