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The “average SAT score” depends on a lot on which version of the test you took, which year you took it in, and a number of other factors.
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The “average SAT score” depends on a lot on which version of the test you took, which year you took it in, and a number of other factors.

At Prep Expert, we offer great SAT prep courses to help your child earn the best score possible.

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For an idea of what the average SAT score looks like across the United States, we have that covered in the infographic below:

sat average by state prep expert

National SAT Average Score

Total ERW Math
1060 533 527

*ERW - 'Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section'

SAT Average Score By Sex

Sex Percent Total ERW Math
Female 53% 1050 534 516
Male 47% 1070 532 538

SAT Average Score By Ethnicity

Ethnicity/Race Percent Total ERW Math
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 963 486 477
Asian 9% 1181 569 612
Black/African American 13% 941 479 462
Hispanic/Latino 24% 990 500 489
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0% 986 498 488
White 44% 1118 565 553
Two or More Races 3% 1103 560 544
No Response 5% 961 475 485

SAT Average Score By High School GPA

Grade Percent Total ERW Math
A+ (97-100) 6% 1254 626 628
A (93-96) 18% 1187 595 592
A- (90-92) 17% 1122 564 558
B (80-89) 41% 1005 508 497
C (70-79) 10% 899 456 444
D, E, or F (below 70) 1% 850 429 421
No Response 7% 987 489 498

SAT Average Score By Parent Education Level

Highest Parental Education Level Percent Total ERW Math
No High School Diploma 8% 944 472 472
High School Diploma 28% 1003 507 497
Associate Degree 8% 1036 525 511
Bachelor's Degree 28% 1118 562 556
Graduate Degree 20% 1177 591 586
No Response 9% 914 455 460

SAT Average Score By State & US Territory

State Number of Testers ERW Math Total
Alabama 2,393 593 572 1165
Alaska 2,971 547 533 1080
Arizona 20,466 563 553 1116
Arkansas 1,065 614 594 1208
California 226,699 531 524 1055
Colorado 5,896 606 595 1201
Connecticut 43,252 530 512 1041
Delaware 10,060 503 492 996
District of Columbia 4,801 482 468 950
Florida 147,058 520 497 1017
Georgia 63,805 535 515 1050
Hawaii 7,352 544 541 1085
Idaho 18,757 513 493 1005
Illinois 12,402 559 556 1115
Indiana 45,622 542 532 1074
Iowa 861 641 635 1275
Kansas 1,199 632 628 1260
Kentucky 1,608 631 616 1247
Louisiana 1,696 611 586 1198
Maine 13,826 513 499 1012
Maryland 42,919 536 524 1060
Massachusetts 56,024 555 551 1107
Michigan 110,082 509 495 1005
Minnesota 2,061 644 651 1295
Mississippi 716 634 607 1242
Missouri 1,990 640 631 1271
Montana 990 605 591 1196
Nebraska 680 629 625 1253
Nevada 6,245 563 553 1116
New Hampshire 14,758 532 520 1052
New Jersey 72,173 530 526 1056
New Mexico 2,342 577 561 1138
New York 135,141 528 523 1052
North Carolina 49,595 546 535 1081
North Dakota 123 635 621 1256
Ohio 14,545 578 570 1149
Oklahoma 2,776 530 517 1047
Oregon 15,866 560 548 1108
Pennsylvania 89,218 540 531 1071
Puerto Rico 2,913 515 487 1003
Rhode Island 7,205 539 524 1062
South Carolina 22,292 543 521 1064
South Dakota 237 612 603 1216
Tennessee 3,495 623 604 1228
Texas 204,409 513 507 1020
Utah 1,277 624 614 1238
Vermont 4,303 562 551 1114
Virginia 57,453 561 541 1102
Virgin Islands, US 752 483 442 924
Washington 43,911 541 534 1075
West Virginia 2,406 558 528 1086
Wisconsin 1780 642 649 1291
Wyoming 144 626 604 1230

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SAT Score Changes And Background

It’s important to note that the total number of possible SAT points has changed several times over the past few years.

For a long time, the exam was based out of 1600 points. However, ten years ago, the College Board made the essay section mandatory and added it to students’ scores.

This addition increased the potential point total to 2400. Then, just this past year, responding to ACT competition, the SAT was again revised. This time, the essay section became optional again, reverting the highest possible score total back to 1600.

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For the revised SAT, released this past year, the average student received a score of 1060, with the top 25 percent of test takers receiving a 1200 or higher, and the bottom 25 percent scoring an 840 or below. The lowest possible score on the new SAT is a 400 (200 base points for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and 200 for Math).

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Average SAT Scores For State School Admissions & Scholarship Programs

One reason you might be wondering about the average SAT score is because you’re applying for admission to a state college or university, or applying to a state-specific scholarship program.

If so, and you think you need to improve your score, visit our SAT prep courses and see what’s available before your next test!

A state’s average SAT score is affected by a variety of factors such as:

  • Size
  • Total Number of Student Exam Takers
  • Educational System Quality

So, based on the numbers above, if you’re applying to a college, university, or scholarship program in a state like Massachusetts, you face a more competitive environment than a student in, say, Louisiana.

Why? Because of the massive difference in the number of test-taking students in each state. Just keep in mind, in these situations, it’s your state’s average SAT score, not the national average, that matters.

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Now, How Much Does This All Matter?

Other than for the reasons mentioned above, not much.

And that’s because overall, college and university admissions officials care little about national or state average SAT scores.

What colleges and universities care most about is the average SAT score of the students that apply to their schools. Generally, for more competitive schools, the average SAT score of admitted students will be higher than for less-competitive schools.

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Where Do I Find This Information?

Most schools’ admissions websites will have score bands showing the average SAT scores of admitted students.

Typically, these bands will list the average scores for the 25th percentile, 50th percentile and 75th percentile of admitted students - Because your SAT score isn’t the only number admissions officers will be looking at, your GPA also plays a role in how close to a particular percentile you’ll need to be in order to gain admission.

Of course, it’s always best to shoot for the 50th percentile or higher. But, if you have a particularly high GPA, you might be able to get away with having an SAT score closer to the 25th percentile at a particular school, and still gain admission.

Conversely, students with comparatively low GPAs will want to shoot for the 75th percentile of SAT scores to remain competitive candidates for admission at any particular school. The biggest takeaway here is that neither score alone seals your admissions fate, but it’s better to boost both as high as possible for the best competitive edge.

Another excellent resource for this sort of information is your high school guidance counselor - At most high schools, the guidance office will have records of all the students from your school who were admitted, rejected, or waitlisted by particular colleges and universities over the past few years.

This information will also include those students’ average GPAs and SAT scores. At some schools today, this information is available online, through programs like Naviance. Using this data, you can get an idea of what some colleges and universities are realistically looking applicant-wise, and what you’ll need to do to fit.

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What’s The Average Score For My Dream School?

Below is a list of some of the most competitive colleges and universities, ranked in the order of highest 75th percentile SAT score to lowest:

Rank School Average SAT Score
1 CalTech 1534
2 University of Chicago 1504
3 MIT 1503
4 Harvard 1501
5 Yale 1497
6 Princeton 1495
7 Vanderbilt 1475
8 The University of Washington 1474
9 Columbia 1471
10 Stanford 1466
11 Northwestern 1458
12 Rice 1454
13 Pomona 1454
14 Notre Dame 1450
15 Dartmouth 1446
16 Duke 1444
17 The University of Pennsylvania 1442
18 Williams College 1439
19 Amherst 1434
20 Carnegie Mellon 1432
21 Tufts 1428
22 Brown 1425

 

The schools with the highest 75th percentile scores aren’t necessarily the most competitive – those numbers are based on how many students are admitted out of those who apply.

These percentiles do affect a school’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, though, so colleges and universities definitely care about how they stack up there.

Remember, your SAT score isn’t the only thing colleges and universities look at when they evaluate your application. They’re also looking at:

  • GPA
  • High School Curriculum Competitiveness & Rigor
  • Athletics & Extracurricular Activities
  • Recommendation Letters
  • Personal Statement

So, don’t focus too much on this one number. It’s just one piece of the admissions puzzle. You’ll be better served by working on building up your score but also by working on this other package pieces, i.e. asking people for letters of recommendation, assessing your extracurricular activities, etc.

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Where Should I Apply, Based On My SAT Score?

There are lots of things you should take into account when deciding which schools to apply to. Examples include:

  • Interested Subject of Study
  • Finances
  • Location
  • School Size

Talking purely about SAT scores, though, you should make a list of between nine and 12 schools, among three categories:

  • Safety Schools - schools where your SAT score (and GPA) are in the 75th percentile of scores
  • Competitive (aka ‘Target’) Schools - schools where your scores are around the 50th percentile mark
  • Reach Schools - schools where your scores are at either the 25th percentile mark or below

Try to have between three to four schools in each category to ensure you’ll be admitted somewhere for the fall.

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Things To Keep In Mind

There are two major points to keep in mind when absorbing all this information:

Average scores are based on the results of past administrations of the SAT - The average SAT score for the particular administration of the exam that you’re sitting for this time around will be different than the average scores you’re looking at now. When the results of your test are released, averages could go up or down (although chances are that they won’t fluctuate all that much).

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When it comes to particular schools, the average scores for admitted students will change from year to year, and the trend is almost always up - If a particularly large number of students apply to a school in a given year, the average SAT score of admitted students could go way up, making that school much tougher to get into. So when you make your list, it’s probably a good idea to have at least a few ‘target’ schools where you’re closer to the 60th-70th percentile of SAT scores.

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How Do I Improve My Score?

As always: study, study, study.

Get a handle on the underlying academic concepts tested on the SAT, and bone up on the areas where you’re deficient. Then, you might want to consider signing up for a prep course, like those offered by Prep Expert.

Prep Expert’s courses will teach you test-taking strategies – how to notice trap answers or read passages more effectively, for example – and can go a long way toward improving your score.

Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation, a #1 bestselling SAT & ACT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect using 100 strategies that we teach in our Prep Expert SAT and ACT courses.

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