What Are High SAT Scores for 2023 - Education Policy Center (2023)

As high school students approach the end of their junior year, the topic of SAT scores has become increasingly important. A good SAT score can influence not only college admission decisions, but also the chances of getting scholarships and academic course placement. But what is a "good" SAT score?

Evaluating a good SAT score depends on the specific colleges and universities a student plans to apply to, as their expectations may vary. However, the overall goal is to be at or above the national average, which is currently 1060, with a reading and writing score of 533 and a math score of 527.

Remember that earning significantly above-average scores increases the chances of being admitted to a more prestigious institution, but ultimately a student's ability to fully demonstrate their academic strengths and extracurricular achievements plays a role in shaping their course of study.


  • Understanding SAT Scores
    • score range
    • score percentile
  • What Are Good SAT Scores?
    • University Admission Criteria
    • Scholarship opportunities
  • Evaluate your SAT scores
    • Compare your score with the national average
    • set personal goals
  • Improve your SAT score
    • Exam preparation strategies
    • re-examine

Understanding SAT Scores

The SAT is a standardized test used by many colleges and universities in the United States to assess a student's academic readiness for college. To understand what makes a good SAT score, you need to be familiar with score ranges and score percentiles.

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score range

The SAT consists of two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math. Each section is scored from 200 to 800 and the overall SAT score ranges from 400 to 1600.

When evaluating SAT scores, it is important to consider both the overall score and the individual section scores. For example, a score of 1200 may indicate high performance in one section but poor performance in another.

score percentile

Score percentiles help put SAT scores in context by comparing them to the performance of other test takers. A student's percentile rank indicates the percentage of test takers who scored lower than the student on the SAT. For example, students who scored in the 75th percentile outperformed 75% of test takers.

Let's see how the following scores rank in terms of percentiles:

  • A score of 1000 is about the 50th percentile.
  • A score of 1100 is about the 60th percentile.
  • A score of 1200 is about the 70th percentile.
  • A score of 1300 is around the 80th percentile.
  • A score of 1400 is about the 90th percentile.
  • A score of 1500 is about the 95th percentile.

According to the College Board, students with a score of 1400 or higher are in the top 10% of test takers, indicating a student who excelled. A student with a score of 1300 or higher is in the top 20% of test takers, while a score of 1500 or higher indicates a student who has performed well and is in the top 5% of test takers.

What ultimately counts as a "good" SAT score depends on the colleges and universities a student chooses to attend, as well as the student's individual goals and strengths.

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What Are Good SAT Scores?

Determining what constitutes a good SAT score depends on several factors specific to each individual's circumstances and goals. In this section, we discuss college admission criteria and scholarship opportunities related to SAT scores.

University Admission Criteria

One of the main purposes of the SAT is to assess a student's readiness for college. Therefore, a good SAT score will meet or exceed the admissions standards of the colleges and universities a student is interested in.

For example, for some colleges, a score of 1200 may be considered good, while others require a minimum score of 1300 or higher. For general reference, the average SAT score for all candidates in 2021 is 1068

Please note that admission standards for universities vary widely. Highly selective schools such as Ivy League schools tend to have higher average SAT scores, while lower schools have more lenient admission standards. It's important to research the specific school you're interested in to find out what range of SAT scores they typically accept.

Scholarship opportunities

Another factor to consider when determining a high SAT score is the likelihood of receiving scholarships based on test scores. Many scholarships and grants use SAT scores as criteria for eligibility or award amounts.

Higher SAT scores can open the door to more financial aid options. For example, a 1400 or 1500 may increase your chances of receiving a competitive scholarship, while a 1000 or 1100 may qualify you for a less competitive program. It is important to research scholarship opportunities specific to your chosen university, major, or interest to determine how your SAT scores may affect your eligibility.

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SAT-scorebereikTypical university admission criteriaPotential scholarship opportunities
1000-1100less selective universityRegional or limited scholarships
1200-1300moderately selective collegesome merit-based scholarships
1400-1500very selective universityNational and Competitive Scholarships

Ultimately, a good SAT score is subjective and depends on your specific goals and circumstances. Researching admission criteria and scholarship opportunities for colleges that match your aspirations will help you determine which SAT scores are right for you.

Evaluate your SAT scores

Knowing what comes with a high SAT score can help you set personal goals, assess your competitiveness, and prepare for college applications.

Compare your score with the national average

The Executive Board issues an annual report of the national average SAT scores, which can be used as a benchmark for evaluating scores. In 2021 it will be the national average1060, with a score of 533 in Mathematics and a score of 527 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW).

set personal goals

A good SAT score is subjective and depends on your aspirations, target colleges, and the strength of your overall application. Ideal SAT scores vary from applicant to applicant, as it largely depends on your college preferences and academic background.

It is critical to research the test score averages of the universities on your list, as this will allow you to set realistic goals and make an informed decision. You can find this data on individual college admission websites or using resources such asCollege Navigation.

Remember that while your SAT score is an important part of your application, colleges also consider factors such as your GPA, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. Strive to come up with a holistic and comprehensive application to increase your chances of success.

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Improve your SAT score

The key to knowing what makes a good SAT score is knowing how to improve your score. In this section, we explore some strategies for improving your SAT score.

Exam preparation strategies

Effective preparation is critical to getting better SAT scores. Here are some proven strategies:

  • Practice sample tests and questions regularly to gain confidence and improve your testing skills.
  • View basic concepts and topic-specific content. This ensures that you have a solid foundation in the material covered by the test.
  • Learn time management skills to efficiently solve each section of the SAT within the given time limit.
  • Take advantage of high-quality SAT preparation resources such asKhan AcademyIndividualized study plans and practice tests are available.


If you are not satisfied with your initial SAT score, retaking the test may be a viable option. Consider the following steps to get the most out of your second attempt:

  1. Analyze your previous test results and identify areas for improvement. Focus on these topics as you prepare to retake the exam.
  2. Give yourself enough time to prepare for the retake, usually at least a few months, to ensure you have enough time to master the necessary topics.
  3. Use your previous testing experience to your advantage by applying lessons to testing strategies and mindset.

Improving your SAT score can greatly improve your chances of getting into college. By using effective test preparation strategies and considering retaking the exam when necessary, you can work towards a score that reflects your full potential.

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What is considered a good SAT score in 2023? ›

Scores in the 50th percentile (1050 and above) are generally average, while scores in the 75th (1200 and above) and 90th percentiles (1350 and above) are good and excellent.

Do SAT scores matter for class of 2023? ›

SAT and ACT scores are important in the 2022-2023 college admissions cycle when applying to test-required schools. As a matter of fact, especially if they're high, standardized test scores can be beneficial when applying to test-optional institutions. They don't count only when applying to test-blind colleges.

What will the SAT look like in 2023? ›

The SAT is set to switch from a paper and pencil format to a digital format in 2023 and 2024. But when exactly is this change happening? For international students, it's already happened! International students who register for an SAT exam date anytime in 2023 are taking the digital SAT.

Will 2023 SAT be easier? ›

The Digital SAT 2023 will be easier to take, easier to administer and more relevant, according to the College Board. It is expected that more students will take the SAT next year after the Board ran a pilot in November 2021 which showed that it is less stressful for 80% of students.

Do colleges look at SAT 2023? ›

The short answer is that the vast majority of schools are NOT requiring SAT test scores for the class of 2023 but that can absolutely change for those students entering fall 2024 and later.

Is 1450 a good SAT score 2023? ›

Is a Score of 1450 (96th Percentile) Good? Earning a score of 1450 on the SAT indicates an exceptional performance on the exam and places you in the upper 95th percentile of all students nationwide.

Do Ivy Leagues require SAT 2023? ›

All eight Ivy League schools will continue to have test-optional policies for the 2022-23 application cycle. While high SAT scores are an asset, they're just one metric that colleges consider. Students should aim to score in the 75th percentile among admitted students.

Does Harvard require SAT for class of 2023? ›

Is Harvard test optional for 2023? Harvard University has recently announced that it will be test-optional for the 2023 admission cycle. This means that students applying to Harvard for the 2023 academic year will have the option to submit SAT or ACT scores, but they are not required to do so.

Does Harvard require SAT scores 2023? ›

Is SAT required for Harvard? Ans. Harvard University follows a test optional admission process. The university is looking forward to allowing students to apply for 2023 admission without SAT or ACT scores.

What Math is on SAT 2023? ›

It is based on topics like geometry, trigonometry, radian measure, and complex numbers. Types of Questions in Additional Topics in Math include: Use volume formulas to solve problems. Solve applied problems involving right triangles by using trigonometric ratios and pythagorean theorem.

What kind of Math is on the SAT 2023? ›

The Math sections require a deep understanding of algebra, but the test provides basic geometry formulas. Calculators are only allowed on the second math section, and not all questions are multiple-choice. With two math sections, math consists of 50% of the overall SAT score.

Are they getting rid of SAT in 2024? ›

College Board has stated that digital testing will replace the paper materials and pencils currently required. A paper PSAT test will not be available starting in the fall of 2023, and a paper SAT test will not be available starting in the spring of 2024.

Will it be harder or easier to get into college in 2023? ›

Admission rates for 2022-2023 have not been announced but are expected to remain just as low. Given this competitive environment, admission experts say students shouldn't assume they'll be a 'shoe-in' at any school.

Which SAT time is easiest? ›

According to our research and a meta-study of analyses: there's no such thing as an 'easy' test date for the SAT or ACT. Though it sounds simplistic, the easiest time to take the SAT test is when you feel most prepared.

Is SAT easier now than 30 years ago? ›

In many ways, the new SAT is much easier than the older version. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't study and be prepared! While the format may be better for some students, the questions are still designed to test your ability and skills in each particular subject.

What subjects are on SAT 2023? ›

There are a total of 3 sections in the SAT exam syllabus, as mentioned earlier: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

Which colleges require SAT essay 2023? ›

Which Colleges Require SAT Essay Section For Admission Consideration? What You Need To Know
  • Benedictine University.
  • City University London.
  • Delaware State University.
  • DeSales University.
  • Dominican University of California.
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
  • Howard University.
  • John Wesley University.
Sep 28, 2022

Does Yale require SAT 2023? ›

Yale will extend its test-optional admissions policy to the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. All applicants for undergraduate admission for fall 2024 enrollment may apply with or without ACT or SAT scores. The admissions office plans to announce a long-term policy on standardized testing in winter 2024.

Can I get into MIT with a 1450? ›

MIT SAT Requirements

You must at least have an SAT score of 1500 to have a chance of being considered for admission to MIT.

Can I get into Harvard with a 1450? ›

For example, if students aim to get into Ivy League Schools, they must have SAT scores around 1470 to 1490. In addition, the average SAT of MIT is nearly 1500. Similarly, Harvard University accepts students with an SAT score of above 1500.

Is SAT waived for 2023? ›

As the college application process picks up steam for the upcoming academic year, a new survey shows that more than 80% of U.S. bachelor-degree granting institutions will not require students seeking fall 2023 admission to submit either ACT or SAT standardized exam scores.

What SAT score do I need for MIT? ›

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1500, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1570. In other words, a 1500 places you below average, while a 1570 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at MIT, but they really want to see at least a 1500 to have a chance at being considered.

Will Princeton require SAT for 2023? ›

We will not require the submission of standardized test scores for falls 2023, 2024, and 2025 application cycles; this includes transfer applicants.

What is a good SAT score for UCLA? ›

GPA and test scores of middle 25%-75% students
High School GPA4.18 - 4.32
SAT Evidence Based Reading & Writing670 - 760
SAT Mathematics690 - 790
SAT Essay16 - 19
2 more rows

What is the lowest SAT score Harvard accepted? ›

There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered. Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your SAT score by 160 points? Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score.

What is the minimum SAT score for Stanford? ›

What SAT is needed for Stanford? ›

Stanford University is extremely selective with an acceptance rate of 4%. Students that get into Stanford University have an SAT score between 1500–1570 or an ACT score of 33–35. Regular applications are due January 5.

Can I get into Harvard with 1300 SAT? ›

Harvard applicants with a combined SAT score of 1300-1400 and an average GPA of 3.5-4.0 have a better chance of being accepted to Harvard University.

Is SAT optional for 2023 2024? ›

Some colleges and universities require applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores. On the other hand, there are also those that leave it up to the students to decide whether or not to include their standardized test scores.

What are the hardest math topics on the SAT? ›

Linear equations and inequalities and their graphs and systems. Problem Solving and Data Analysis: 29% of test, 17 questions. Ratios, proportions, percentages, and units; analyzing graphical data, probabilities, and statistics. Passport to Advanced Math: 28% of test, 16 questions.

What is the hardest question in math? ›

Today's mathematicians would probably agree that the Riemann Hypothesis is the most significant open problem in all of math. It's one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems, with $1 million reward for its solution.

What math is most common on the SAT? ›

While 90% of your questions will fall into the Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, or Problem Solving and Data Analysis categories, the remaining 10% will simply be classified as Additional Topics. These topics include geometry, trigonometry, and problems with complex numbers.

Is SAT changing in 2023? ›

The SAT exams are changing. In January 2022, College Board announced its decision to conduct the SAT exams digitally. This new mode of assessment is expected to roll out internationally in 2023. In the US, however, this change will be implemented in the spring of 2024.

Why are colleges removing SAT? ›

“In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.”

Is the SAT on paper or computer 2023? ›

Starting in March 2023, all students taking the SAT at international test centers will take the digital test. Starting in fall 2023, all students taking the PSAT-related assessments will take the digital tests. SAT School Day and SAT weekend administrations in the U.S. will still be paper and pencil.

Which year is the hardest for college students? ›

Although junior year often holds the most challenging classes, it is not always the most difficult. Students are able to take what they have learned from their previous two years of schooling to better prepare themselves for the more strenuous classes.

What is the hardest college to get into in 2023? ›

Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.

What is the hardest year of college academically? ›

Everyone's college experience is different. Many people including myself have found the third year to be the most difficult. This is the year in which you will start to take classes that are specifically for your major. The classes for your major tend to be more challenging than core classes.

What month is the best SAT curve? ›

Most high school student are advised to take the SAT in spring of their junior year and the March SAT test date is a big favorite of many college counselors.

How many hours of studying is enough for SAT? ›

As a rule of thumb, here is the amount of time students need to improve their SAT scores: 10+ hours of studying to maintain their score. 20+ hours of studying for a score improvement of 10-100 points. 40+ hours of studying for a score improvement of 100-150 points.

What part of SAT is easiest to improve? ›

If you're trying to boost your SAT Reading/Writing and Language score, the Writing and Language section is the easiest to tackle. With a few SAT Writing and Language strategies, you'll be on your way to a much higher score.

Can you get a 1600 on the SAT without getting everything right? ›

As you can see with the above SAT scoring chart, it's possible to get some questions wrong and still earn the max SAT score. Generally speaking, you can miss 1-2 questions on each section and still get a perfect 1600.

Does it look bad to take the SAT more than 3 times? ›

It does not hurt to take the SAT multiple times. Colleges cannot see how many times you have taken the SAT. However, writing the SAT is a stressful and time-consuming endeavor, so it's important to know how many times are right for you.

How many times can you take the SAT before it looks bad? ›

Here's the thing: students can take the SAT as many times as they want. Unlike the ACT, College Board places no restrictions on how often students can take the SAT. Only the most recent 6 scores will stay on file at a time, but if you want to take it 38 times, College Board is happy to let you do so.

Is 1300 a good SAT score 2023? ›

Is a 1300 Sat Score (87th Percentile) Good? Yes. A 1300 on the SAT indicates good performance in all sections of the exam and places you around the 87th percentile of all test takers, meaning you scored higher than 87% of all test takers.

Is 1350 a good SAT score 2023? ›

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 1060 a good SAT score 2023? ›

With this definition, in very basic terms, a good SAT score for 2023 could be anything above 1060. This was the average national composite SAT score for the graduating class of 2021.

Is 1250 a good SAT score 2023? ›

A 1250 SAT score is generally considered a good score — it makes you an eligible and competitive candidate at a majority of schools.

Can I get into Harvard with a 1300 SAT? ›

Harvard applicants with a combined SAT score of 1300-1400 and an average GPA of 3.5-4.0 have a better chance of being accepted to Harvard University.

Can I get into MIT with a 1300 SAT? ›

MIT SAT Requirements

The lowest SAT ERW score in the 600–640 range was obtained by 1% of the accepted students. This indicates that admission to MIT is attainable if your aggregate SAT score is between 1300 and 1380. However, the majority of pupils fall between 1510 and 1580.

Can I get into an Ivy League with a 1300 SAT? ›

It depends. For the Ivy League, competitive scores range between 1500-1550. For other highly competitive schools, it's above 1400. 1300 and above will make you a competitive applicant for most other public universities and private universities.

Can I get into MIT with a 1350 SAT score? ›

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1500, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1570. In other words, a 1500 places you below average, while a 1570 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at MIT, but they really want to see at least a 1500 to have a chance at being considered.

Can I get into an Ivy League with a 1400 SAT? ›

One of the only reasons to consider retaking the SAT would be if you're interested in attending institutions that are very selective or in the Ivy League. While a 1400 makes you eligible to apply to places such as Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, it won't make you a competitive candidate.

Is Harvard accepting SAT scores 2023? ›

Yes. Applicants may provide self-reported SAT and ACT test scores (including Subject Tests, Advanced Placement, IB, etc.). Admitted students who decide to enroll at Harvard College will be required to submit official test scores.

Is 1150 a good SAT score? ›

The average national SAT score is between 1050 and 1100 every year (on purpose), putting an 1150 at an above-average 67th percentile — that's a score to be proud of! It means that you scored higher than 67% of all other test takers.

Can I get into NYU with a 1250 SAT? ›

Students that get into New York University have an SAT score between 1470–1560 or an ACT score of 33–35.

Can I get into Duke with a 1400 SAT? ›

Students that get into Duke University have an SAT score between 1510–1560 or an ACT score of 34–35.

Can you get into Georgetown with a 1250 SAT? ›

There's no absolute SAT requirement at Georgetown, but they really want to see at least a 1370 to have a chance at being considered.


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