Analyzing the SAT®: What is a Good SAT® Score? | Albert Resources (2024)

The SAT® is crucial for college admissions. A good SAT® score can significantly impact your college options and scholarships. But what exactly is a good SAT® score? In this guide, we’ll explore SAT® scoring, what constitutes a good score, and how you can achieve it.

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Understanding SAT® Scores

Your SAT® score combines your performance in two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math. Each section scores on a scale of 200-800, making the total possible score range from 400 to 1600. Additionally, subscores and cross-test scores provide detailed insights into your performance in specific areas.

Scores are calculated by converting raw scores (the number of questions you answered correctly) into scaled scores. This process ensures consistent scores across different test administrations.

What is a Good SAT® Score?

Analyzing the SAT®: What is a Good SAT® Score? | Albert Resources (1)

A good SAT® score is often defined by the averages and specific requirements of the colleges you’re aiming for. Nationally, the average SAT® score is around 1050. However, competitive colleges typically expect scores well above this average. For example, Ivy League schools often look for scores in the 1400-1600 range. Therefore, understanding what is a good SAT® score for your target colleges can help you set realistic goals.

In order to highlight the score differences, here is a table with the average SAT® scores for different types of universities in New York state:

University TypeUniversity NameAverage SAT® Score
Public UniversityUniversity at Buffalo (SUNY)1180-1350
Private Non-Ivy League UniversityNew York University (NYU)1350-1530
Ivy League UniversityColumbia University1500-1560

Use this table to understand the score ranges you need to aim for depending on your college preferences. This knowledge will guide you in setting realistic and achievable SAT® score goals.

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Score Percentiles and Their Significance

Percentiles rank your performance compared to other test-takers. For example, if you’re in the 75th percentile, you scored higher than 75% of students. Accordingly, percentiles help you understand your score’s relative standing and guide you in setting realistic improvement goals.

Below is a table to help you understand the percentiles:

SAT® ScorePercentile

Benchmark Scores

The College Board provides college readiness benchmarks. These scores suggest a high likelihood of success in college courses. Thus, meeting or exceeding these benchmarks indicates that you’re well-prepared for college-level work.

For example:

  • ERW Benchmark: 480
  • Math Benchmark: 530

Achieving these benchmarks means you’re likely ready for college-level coursework.

Interpreting Your Scores

Different score ranges signify varying levels of college readiness:

  • 1200-1400: Competitive for many state schools and some private colleges.
  • 1400-1600: Highly competitive for top-tier universities and Ivy League schools.

Setting target scores based on the averages of your desired colleges can help you focus your preparation efforts. Additionally, knowing what is a good SAT® score for each institution is crucial for your planning.

Start Practicing for the SAT® on Albert now!

10 Strategies to Achieve a Good SAT® Score

To improve your SAT® score, consider the following strategies.

1. Use Official Prep Resources

Understanding how to achieve the highest SAT® score involves utilizing these resources effectively. Because The College Board makes the SAT®, they also free resources, including practice tests and study guides. Additionally, other programs, such as Albert, create test prep solutions for all of your SAT® needs.

Analyzing the SAT®: What is a Good SAT® Score? | Albert Resources (2)

2. Study Regularly

Create a study schedule for consistent practice. Specifically, allocate specific times for each section and use breaks to maintain focus.

3. Create Detailed Study Plans

Creating a detailed study plan is essential for achieving a good SAT® score. Firstly, begin by assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, focus more on areas that need improvement, but don’t neglect your strong points. Thirdly, set specific, measurable goals for each study session to ensure steady progress. Incorporate a variety of study materials into your plan. Use textbooks, online resources, and SAT® prep books. Lastly, join study groups if possible, as discussing problems with peers can provide new insights and keep you motivated.

4. Use Effective Study Techniques

Use effective study techniques like spaced repetition and active recall. Spaced repetition involves reviewing material at increasing intervals, which helps reinforce your memory. Active recall, on the other hand, involves testing yourself on the material rather than passively reviewing it. This method enhances long-term retention.

5. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests help you familiarize yourself with the test format and identify areas for improvement. Take at least one full-length practice test each week. Additionally, make sure to simulate actual test conditions to build stamina.

6. Review Mistakes

Analyze practice test results to understand your mistakes and avoid repeating them. Furthermore, it is helpful to keep a journal of common errors. This allows you the opportunity to review these errors regularly.

7. Monitor Your Progress

Keep track of your progress by maintaining a study journal or log. Note the topics you’ve covered, practice test scores, and areas that need improvement. Generally, regularly reviewing your progress helps you stay focused and make necessary adjustments to your study plan.

Analyzing the SAT®: What is a Good SAT® Score? | Albert Resources (3)

8. Balance Study and Rest

While it’s important to study hard, you also need to rest. Overworking yourself can lead to burnout and reduce your efficiency. Ensure you get enough sleep and take breaks during your study sessions. Also, incorporate physical activities into your routine to keep your mind and body healthy.

9. Determine Your Motivation and Change Your Mindset

Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial for success. The first thing to remember is to stay motivated by reminding yourself of your goals and the benefits of achieving a high SAT® score. Set up a reward system to celebrate your small victories along the way. Above all, surround yourself with supportive friends and family who encourage your efforts.

10. Manage Your Time Efficiently

Effective time management is key to balancing your studies with other responsibilities. Therefore, create a daily schedule that allocates specific times for studying, breaks, and leisure activities. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible to ensure you’re consistently making progress.


Aiming for a good SAT® score requires understanding the scoring system, setting realistic goals, and dedicating time to preparation. With the right strategies and resources, you can achieve a score that opens doors to your desired colleges and scholarship opportunities. For more tips and resources, check out our other blog posts on SAT® preparation.

By following these guidelines and utilizing available resources, you can enhance your SAT® performance and achieve the scores needed for your college aspirations. Overall, understanding what is a good SAT® score and how to achieve the highest SAT® score will set you on the path to success.

Need help preparing for your SAT® exam?

Albert has hundreds of SAT® practice questions, free response, and full-length practice tests to try out.

Start practicing for the SAT® on Albert now!

Analyzing the SAT®: What is a Good SAT® Score? | Albert Resources (2024)


Analyzing the SAT®: What is a Good SAT® Score? | Albert Resources? ›

A decent SAT® score would probably be something around the 50th percentile. Using the nationally representative sample, you'd find this to be a 1010. Looking at just SAT® test takers, the 50th percentile SAT® score is between 1050 and 1060.

How to analyze your SAT score? ›

Each Test Score is based on a 10-40 point scale and is color-coded to show areas of strength and weaknesses. Scores reported in green meet or exceed the benchmark, scores in yellow are approaching the benchmark, and scores in red indicate areas where you need to strengthen skills to reach the benchmark.

What is considered a good SAT score? ›

A good SAT score is one that helps you get admitted to a college that you want to go to. The average SAT score is around 1050. Any score above that would be above average. A score of 1350 would put you in the top 10% of test takers and help make your application competitive at more selective schools.

Is 1370 a good SAT score? ›

A 1370 SAT score is a good score, but it might fall below the average scores of admitted students at top colleges. Highly selective colleges typically have average SAT scores in the 1450-1550 range.

Is 950 a good SAT score? ›

The scoring scale runs from 400 to 1600, with the average test taker receiving a composite result between 1050 and 1100. A 950 falls in the 31st percentile, short of what most colleges and universities would like to see on applications for admission.

What was Will Smith's SAT score? ›

Will Smith SAT score was a perfect 1600. A rare score few people have earned. Despite this incredible score, Will chose not to attend college, did not even enroll, and decided to pursue his career in music. Curious about Will Smith's SAT score?

Is 990 a good SAT score? ›

A 990 SAT score may be competitive for some colleges, but it may not be a strong score for more selective schools. It's important to consider the median SAT scores of the colleges you're interested in applying to.

Is 1200 a bad SAT score? ›

A 1200 is an above average score that places you in approximately the 74th percentile of all high school students taking the exam. A score of 1200 makes it possible to apply to the vast majority of schools throughout the nation and be competitive for admission at a sizable number of colleges.

Is 700 a bad SAT score? ›

Keep in mind that top-tier schools have a median SAT score close to 1500, meaning that a 700 in one section would be considered below average in those cases. If you're targeting highly selective schools, retaking the test might be helpful.

Is your GPA or SAT more important? ›

While GPA is gaining more importance in college admissions decisions, as some schools deemphasize test scores, that doesn't mean you should neglect standardized testing. While the SAT and ACT aren't the best indicator of your success in college, they generally remain an important part of the admission process.

Is 400 a bad SAT score? ›

A perfect SAT score is 1600. The minimum score is 400. The average for the class of 2023 was 1010.

Has anyone gotten a 1600 on the SAT? ›

A 1600 is only achieved by around 300 test takers per year and makes you eligible and highly competitive for admission at every college.

Is 930 a bad SAT score? ›

930 SAT Score Standings

Out of the 2.13 million test-takers, 1566507 scored the same or higher than you. You can apply to 58 colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted. You have a very low chance of getting into 1431 schools with this score.

Is 800 a bad SAT score? ›

With the national average SAT score always hovering near 1000 (purposefully), 800 falls short of that average and leaves few college options.

Is 1000 a bad SAT score? ›

Earning a 1000 puts you in the 40th percentile, meaning you scored better than 40% of all other test takers in the country. Being in the top half of all test-takers is a major boost for college applications.

Is 1100 SAT score ok? ›

Earning an 1100 makes you eligible to apply to most colleges and universities as a decent candidate. More selective and elite institutions require higher scores for competitive consideration, but outside of those a score of 1100 meets (and 8% exceeds!) expectations.

How to interpret SAT results? ›

A scaled score of 100 or more means a child is working at the expected standard – termed 'AS', while a score below 100 indicates that a child hasn't reached the government expected standard – termed 'NS'. The maximum score possible is 120, and the minimum is 80.

How do you analyze Reading for the SAT? ›

Read the passages looking for the main point and the structure of each passage. Make sure that your answer is supported by the passages. Some good or true answers are not correct. As you read, note the tone of the passage.

Is a 1200 a good SAT score? ›

A 1200 is an above average score that places you in approximately the 74th percentile of all high school students taking the exam. A score of 1200 makes it possible to apply to the vast majority of schools throughout the nation and be competitive for admission at a sizable number of colleges.

Is 900 a good SAT score? ›

Is 900 a good SAT score? A “good” SAT score is one that makes you a competitive candidate at a majority of colleges, including your ideal college. A 900 doesn't give you as many college options as we'd normally like students to have, so raising your score closer to that national average (1150-1100) is encouraged.

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