How to Get A Perfect SAT Score

Woman studying
November 24, 2022
What is A Perfect SAT Score?How Many People Get A Perfect SAT Score?Tips to Get A Perfect SAT ScoreFAQs: How to Get a Perfect SAT Score


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Obtaining a perfect SAT score is no easy feat, but it can open up a world of possibilities through the college admissions process. This article will go through the ins and outs of the perfect SAT score.

With high school graduation peeking its head around the corner for many juniors and seniors across America, the SAT has become an increasingly stressful aspect of college admissions. 

A perfect score on the SAT is a dream shared by many high school students intent on college. Here is some helpful information on how to get a stellar SAT score.

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What is a Perfect SAT Score?

A perfect score on the SAT is 1600/1600. However, schools don’t ask for a perfect score, but a high score coupled with other substantial aspects of the application. 

Important factors to keep in mind are what schools you apply to and how holistic their application assessment is, since some schools are increasingly making it optional to submit SAT scores. 

Considering that your SAT score might be one of many factors that lead to a successful application, it’s good to think of the SAT as only one component of your application. It’s not what makes or breaks your chances of getting into your dream school. 

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

Depending on the school you’re applying to, it’s good to try and achieve an SAT score that falls around the average for recently admitted classes.

If you want to earn a near-perfect score on your SAT, you will have to strive to be in the 99th percentile of all test takers, with a score between 1520-1600. Achieving this score would require you to answer all questions on each of the SAT sections correctly. 

The chart below breaks down the different sections, test topics, and the total score for each section.

SAT section scores
Source: Quad Education

You’ll want to ensure you don’t get a score lower than average of the school you apply to. A good rule of thumb is aiming for a score of 1500 as it puts you in a competitive position as an applicant at top US schools.

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.

Tips to Get A Perfect SAT Score

There are a few tried-and-true methods to achieving a perfect score on the SAT. With this, the universal truth is that it takes a long time of purposeful studying. Here are a few tips that will ensure your studying puts you in the best position to get that perfect SAT score. 

1. Give Yourself Time 

You should allocate at least three months to purposeful SAT studying. However, if you're aiming for a perfect score, you might want to plan around six months ahead of your test date.

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 reading and writing portions. This is something that’s best to assess early. Try either doing a few practice tests or speaking with a school counselor. 

Taking a practice SAT for the purposes of identifying 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, we could have all the time necessary to triple check our answers. But this isn’t the reality. 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 in authentic conditions to prepare you for test day. Using a permissible calculator, without scrap paper, at a desk for 4 hours might seem trivial, but it could help you get a few correct answers closer to a perfect SAT score!

4. Hire a Tutor or Study With Friends 

Anyone who can keep you accountable for studying is worth having around. A tutor can be highly effective at identifying your weak areas early on and assisting you through them. Although they come at a pretty penny, a tutor can help you reach that perfect score. 

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. This exercise pushes you to teach it to someone and thus develop a better understanding of the material. 

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 will help you on your way to a perfect score on the SAT.

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

At the end of the day, getting a high score on the SAT is challenging by design. If you feel the pressure got to you on test day, or that 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 with each try. If you don’t reach a perfect 1600/1600 on your first try, your excellent SAT results await in round 2.

FAQs: How to Get a Perfect SAT Score

To achieve a perfect SAT score, you must never give up and practice a lot. Below are some helpful pieces of information to aid you in your studying. 

1. Has Anyone Had A Perfect SAT Score?

Yes, people have gotten perfect scores before; however, less than 1% of test takers reach this height. But to ensure you don’t get discouraged, remember that there have been many notable individuals who have achieved the perfect SAT score. 

2. How Rare Is A Perfect SAT Score?

Very rare. But you’re less likely to win the lottery than get a perfect score on the SAT. It’s all about perspective. 

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

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

4. 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 wanting a perfect SAT score, you’ll definitely benefit from starting your SAT review further in advance.

5. Do Ivy League Schools Require a Perfect Score? 

Top schools require a remarkably high SAT score, but not necessarily a perfect one. You can consider a high SAT score an aspect of your college application that puts you in the running. But keep in mind that many schools rely on numerous aspects of your application to evaluate your candidacy. 

6. Is it Easier to get a Perfect SAT score or ACT score? 

In a way, this question is like comparing apples and oranges. With this said, given that the SAT consists of more points, there are more points to lose. Due to this, it can be arguably easier to receive a perfect score on the ACT. If you’ve landed on taking the SAT, it’s not necessarily worth jumping ship in hopes of a smoother journey to a perfect score on the ACT.

Final Thoughts

A perfect score on the SAT, although a golden ticket into top schools, 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 make you a qualified candidate for some top schools.

Everyone's journey through the SATs is different. Whatever you score on the SAT, it shouldn’t define you. Remember that many other factors contribute to the success of your college application.

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