What Is A Good SAT Score?

test taker wondering what is a good sat score
October 29, 2022
The SAT: Percentiles and ScoresWhat is a Good SAT Score?Good SAT Scores for Popular Colleges in the U.S.What Is a Good SAT Score For the Ivy League?What is an Above Average SAT Score?How to Get a Good SAT ScoreFAQs: What Makes a Good SAT Score?


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/29/22

Want to get the best SAT score possible? This guide will show you the way. 

As you begin your college search, you’ll likely have to take a standardized test and send your test scores to schools. The SAT is one of those tests. You may be wondering, what’s a good SAT score? Competitive SAT scores ultimately depend on which schools you want to attend and how competitive the applicant pools for those schools are. 

Keep reading to find out what the SAT is, how to get a good SAT score, and more!

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The SAT: Percentiles and Scores 

Your SAT score is the sum of your section scores. Each section uses a scale of 200-800 points in 10-point increments, so total scores range from 400 to 1600. You earn points based on the number of correct answers you get.

What are the Sections on the SAT?

Here is a chart summarizing the format of each section of the SAT. 

Table outlining the topic, time limit, and number of questions for each section of the SAT test
Table outlining the topic, time limit, and number of questions for each section of the SAT test

Your SAT scores are typically available a few weeks after the test date. SAT scores must be reported from the College Board directly. When you sign up for an SAT date, you can register to send free score reports to a maximum of four target schools (and pay for extras).

What is a Good SAT Score?

It’s best to aim for a 1200 minimum, but the expectations of different schools vary. You should research the admission statistics for the schools on your college list and aim to score around the 50th-75th percentile. 

Good SAT Scores for Popular Colleges in the U.S.

So, what is a good score on the SAT for selective programs? Here’s a chart for the top 11 schools in the U.S. and their SAT score statistics. 

Source: Princeton| Harvard | Columbia
Source: MIT | Yale  | Stanford| UChicago
Source: UPenn | Caltech | JHU | NU

What Is a Good SAT Score For the Ivy League?

Using the numbers from the above chart, here’s an example of how you would calculate a good SAT score for the Ivy League. Say you want to apply to Harvard, Yale, and UPenn. Harvard’s middle 50% range is 1500-1580, Yale’s is 1460-1580, and UPenn’s is 1510-1560. 

What’s considered a good SAT score for Ivy League schools depends on class profile data. However, you should aim to score toward the 75th percentile for the most competitive Ivy League school on your list. That way, you’ll have competitive SAT scores for all the schools you want to attend. 

What is an Above Average SAT Score?

The average SAT composite score is 1051, with the average score for math being 523 and EBRW being 528. A score above 1040 is above-average, and a score above 1200 puts you in the 75th percentile (the top 25% of test-takers). 

Here’s a chart of SAT scores and their percentiles, meaning what percentage of test-takers got a specific score. These numbers may vary slightly every year. 

Table outlining the SAT Scores and their percentiles

How to Get a Good SAT Score

So, how do you get a good SAT score? If you haven’t already taken the SAT or you’re planning to retake it, these valuable tips to get a better score can help you maximize your chances of success. 

If you’re unhappy with your score, consider retaking the SAT. Invest the time to work on your weaknesses and practice taking the test repeatedly. 

FAQs: What Makes a Good SAT Score?

Still have questions about your SAT scores? We’ve got you covered. 

1. What Is a Good SAT Score? 

While it’s a good idea to aim for 1200, a good SAT score is whatever score is competitive at your desired colleges. 

2. Is 1100 A Decent SAT Score? 

An SAT score of 1100 can get you into many schools. Below are some colleges that accept students with an 1100 SAT score.

Table outlining the 25th percentile SAT score, 75th percentile SAT score, and acceptance rate of Georgia State University, University of Northern Iowa, CSU Long Beach, University of Hartford, and Western Kentucky University
Source: NCES

3. Is 1200 a Good SAT Score?

The average score on the SAT is 1200. 1200 is a good score on the SAT and would put you in good standing at these colleges: 

Table outlining the 25th percentile SAT score, 75th percentile SAT score, and acceptance rate of University of Colorado Boulder, Auburn University, Michigan State University, University of Tampa, and Washington State University
Source: NCES

4. Is 1300 a Good Score?

A score of 1300 means you have an above-average SAT score. 1300 is a great SAT score if you want to apply to any of these schools: 

Table outlining the 25th percentile SAT score, 75th percentile SAT score, and acceptance rate of Ohio State University, Fordham University, UC Davis, Loyola Marymount University, and Florida State University
Source: NCES

5. Is 1400 a Good SAT Score?

1400 is an excellent SAT score. You can get into many popular colleges with a 1400 SAT score. 

Table outlining the 25th percentile SAT score, 75th percentile SAT score, and acceptance rate of University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, UC Santa Barbara,  Villanova University, and George Washington University
Source: NCES

A score of 1400 is great for the SAT. Remember, many colleges have adopted test-optional applications. A good SAT score isn’t the only element that matters. If your test scores don’t reflect your academic potential, ensure your application shows off your strengths!

6. What Is a Good SAT Essay Score? 

Previously, a good SAT Essay score would be a 5-6 in reading, writing, and analysis. However, the College Board has discontinued the optional SAT Essay. 

As of January 2021, the SAT Essay is only available in states that require it on SAT School Days. Contact your principal or school counselor to see if your school participates.

7. What Is the Best SAT Score? 

The best possible SAT score is 1600. 

8. Is a 1500 SAT Score Good for Harvard? 

Achieving a 1500 SAT score would put you in the middle 50% range of admitted students’ scores. A 1500 SAT score is good for Harvard, but a score closer to 1580 (the 75th percentile) will make you a more competitive applicant. 

Ready to Get a Great SAT Score? 

There’s no minimum number that can be considered a good SAT score. But if you want to attend a top-ranked school, aim for 1440-1570 to match the average applicant. 

Now you better understand how the SAT is formatted and how you can prepare. You should study regularly for the SAT because the more you practice, the easier it will be. Good luck! 

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