What is the range for SAT scores? How do your scores stack up? In this article, I’ll give you a basic rundown of the range of scores you can expect on the SAT and help you put your scores in perspective if you’ve already taken the test.
SAT Score Range: The Basics
The SAT is scored on a 1600 point scale, and composite scores range from 400 to 1600.
You composite score represents the combined scores of two test sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, scored from 200 to 800, and Math, also scored from 200 to 800.
three test scores in Reading, Writing, and Math
on your score report, but they range from 10-40 and will not be a concrete aspect of your final composite score. The
SAT score report
two cross test scores
seven subsection scores
that are designed to give you a more complete picture of your strengths and weaknesses based on which questions you answered correctly.
The essay is optional
(like it currently is on the ACT) and does impact your composite score; the essay score is reported separately.
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Average SAT Scores
If you’re scoring above a 1500, you’re already doing better than half of the country. If you’re scoring above an 1800 you’re in the top 25% of scorers, and if you’re scoring below a 1260 you’re in the lowest 25%.
In the end, you shouldn’t worry about these averages nearly as much as you should worry about averages for your particular college.
Some schools don’t even consider the Writing Score
, like schools in the public university system in Massachusetts. Admitted students to UMASS Lowell last year had an average combined Critical Reading and Math score of 1150, meaning they scored slightly higher than average on each test.
If you want to have the strongest chance of getting into a school, you should
aim for the 75th percentile score
(a higher score than 75 percent of admitted students). If you’re hoping to
get into schools in the Ivy League and other top schools
like MIT and Stanford,
you will be expected to have scores that are in the 2200-2400 range.
To use Stanford as an example, the 75th percentile composite score for applicants this past year was a 2360!
To learn more about what scores you should aim for,
check out our article on
figuring out your target score
Ugh Stanford get over yourself. NO PLEASE TAKE ME YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL.
Studying for Your Score Goals
Now that you have a better sense of the possible score range on the SAT, you can
take a practice test
(or take a look at scores from an SAT you’ve already taken) and see where you fall in the rankings. If your scores aren’t where you need them to be yet, that’s ok! You will just have to plan out your studying time accordingly.
I’m Looking to Improve 100-200 Points
This will require about
40 hours of studying
on average. Plan ahead a couple months or so before your test date –
if you give yourself two months, five hours of studying a week should get you up to speed.
If you prefer to spread out your studying more, you might start studying six months in advance and schedule out one or two hours a week for SAT prep.
’m Looking to Improve by Around 300 Points
This will require about
60-80 hours of studying
on average. You should
plan out your studying at least three or four months in advance
and be prepared to
study for five hours every week.
In this case it would probably be easier to start studying six months or more before the test.
If you think you might need longer study time because you often get distracted or have difficulty learning quickly from your mistakes, you should definitely
plan on starting six months in advance and studying at least two or three hours a week.
I’m Looking to Improve by 500+ Points
This is a big goal, so you should be prepared to
study for 150+ hours
to reach it. If you
start six months before the test and study for five hours a week
or so, that should be enough to get you close to a 500 point improvement.
Remember, though, if you want to improve by this much,
your studying has to be super high-quality!
Mark any questions you don’t understand on practice tests and figure out what the problem is that’s causing you to make mistakes.
understanding your mistakes
and figuring out how to correct them
is the key to making significant improvements!
Here are some of the
you should know about SAT scores:
Composite scores range from
600 to 2400
Critical Reading, Math, and Writing are each worth
200 to 800
Nationally, the average SAT score is about
You should check the average scores for the schools you’re applying to, and try to aim for the 75th percentile score as a goal for yourself.
Everyone has a different target score!
You can make a study plan depending on how much you need to improve, so your scores will be in the right range by the time you take the real test.
Trying to decide when to take the SAT?
Read this article
to find the best test date for your situation.
If you plan on taking the new SAT but have been practicing with the old SAT,
take a look at the charts in this article
to convert your scores and see where you might fall within the new 1600 point score range.
Score choice and superscoring are two policies that might impact your test taking and studying plans for the SAT.
Read more about these policies and the difference between them.