You take the test. You get your score. But how do you know if it’s a good score?

What makes a “good score” changes slightly year to year because the score averages and percentiles are based on recent test takers. A “good” test score also depends on where you are planning to apply to college.

How is the SATⓇ test scored?

To know if your score is good, you first need to understand how the SATⓇ test is scored.

The SATⓇ test is graded in two sections: the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW or Reading/Writing) section and the Math section.

Each section is given a score from 200 to 800 points according to the scale for that specific test and the number of questions you got right.

Your total score is just the EBRW and Math scores added together.

SATⓇ Test Score Averages

There were 2,136,539 testers last year!

The average SATⓇ test score for the United States for 2018 was 1068.

This was 8 points higher on average than the score in 2017, and the average score for 2019 is likely to be even a tiny bit higher.

The 2018 score averages are as follows:

  • Total – 1068
  • Reading/Writing – 536
  • Math – 531

Think about it in terms of percentile. People who scored a 1068 made around the 50th percentile (meaning that about half of test takers did better and about half did worse).

The College Board provides a report that gives you score percentile estimates.

Total Score Percentiles

  • 1510-1600 — 99+%
  • 1340-1509 — 90-98%
  • 1240-1339 — 80-89%
  • 1170-1239 — 70-79%
  • 1110-1169 — 60-69%
  • 1060-1109 — 50-59%
  • 1000-1059 — 40-49%
  • 940-999 — 30-39%
  • 880-939 — 20-29%
  • 800-879 — 10-19%
  • 400-799 — 1-9%

Don’t think that 80% means a B. If you score in the 80th percentile, you got a better score than 80% of the year’s other test takers.

Section Score Percentiles

Reading/Writing

  • 750-800 — 99+%
  • 670-749 — 90-98%
  • 630-669 — 80-89%
  • 600-629 — 70-79%
  • 560-599 — 60-69%
  • 530-559 — 50-59%
  • 510-529 — 40-49%
  • 480-509 — 30-39%
  • 440-479 — 20-29%
  • 390-339 — 10-19%
  • 200-389 — 1-10%

Math

  • 790-800 — 99+%
  • 690-789 — 90-98%
  • 630-689 — 80-89%
  • 590-629 — 70-79%
  • 550-589 — 60-69%
  • 530-559 — 50-59%
  • 500-529 — 40-49%
  • 470-499 — 30-39%
  • 430-469 — 20-29%
  • 400-429 — 10-19%
  • 200-399 — 1-10%

All in all, the SATⓇ test is a competition.

You’re competing to do better than everyone else so that your score will fall in the top percentages.

At the end of the day, it’s a “good” score if it matches what colleges are looking for.

SATⓇ Target Scores for Selective Colleges

So, what SATⓇ test scores do selective colleges look for?

That depends on the college. Below you’ll find an overview for SATⓇ test score averages for Ivy League schools, Texas public universities, and Texas private universities.

Please note: The score averages were obtained from various resources and rounded so you could get a general idea of score targets.

To find out the most specific and up-to-date score averages, please visit the college’s website.

Ivy League Colleges – SATⓇ Test Score Averages

  • Brown University — 1440-1580
  • Columbia University — 1450-1580
  • Cornell University — 1390-1540
  • Dartmouth College — 1420-1560
  • Harvard University — 1470-1570
  • Princeton University — 1430-1560
  • University of Pennsylvania — 1450-1550
  • Yale University — 1420-1590

If you’re thinking those are pretty high, they are. Ivy League colleges are the most sought after colleges in the nation, so it makes sense that their scores are much higher than most schools.

These scores show the 50th percentile of the schools’ current freshmen, so you should aim for these estimates or above if you are planning to apply to an Ivy League college.

Texas Public Universities – SATⓇ Test Score Averages

  • Angelo State University — 870-1070
  • Lamar University — 1080
  • Midwestern State University — 1070-1180
  • Prairie View A&M University — 830-1020
  • Sam Houston State University — 870-1070
  • Stephen F. Austin State University — 990-1170
  • Tarleton State University — 970-1150
  • Texas A&M – College Station — 1190-1370
  • Texas State University — 1000-1330
  • Texas Tech — 1020-1200
  • Texas Woman’s University — 1080
  • University of Houston — 1080-1170
  • University of North Texas — 1060-1260
  • University of Texas – Arlington – 1100
  • University of Texas – Austin — 1170-1400
  • University of Texas – Dallas — 1220-1430
  • University of Texas – San Antonio – 1030-1210

Texas Private Universities – SATⓇ Test Score Averages

  • Abilene Christian University — 1130
  • Austin College — 1140-1330
  • Baylor University — 1200-1350
  • Dallas Baptist University — 1090-1250
  • Hardin-Simmons University — 1000-1170
  • Houston Baptist University — 1030-1200
  • Howard Payne University — 1030
  • LeTourneau University — 1030-1280
  • Lubbock Christian University — 955-1210
  • McMurry University — 830-1030
  • Our Lady of the Lake University — 880
  • Rice University — 1460-1550
  • Schreiner University — 1100
  • St. Edward’s University — 1050-1210
  • Southern Methodist University — 1270-1440
  • Southwestern Adventist University — 940-1260
  • Southwestern University — 1120-1300
  • St. Mary’s University of San Antonio — 1040-1230
  • Texas Christian University — 1160-1360
  • Texas Lutheran University — 990-1160
  • Texas Wesleyan University — 1000
  • Trinity University – Texas — 1300-1440
  • University of Dallas — 1260
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor — 1020-1200
  • Wayland Baptist University — 890-1100

How Important Is My SATⓇ Test Score?

Pretty important. Your SATⓇ and ACTⓇ test scores can be a key factor in whether or not a college will accept you or look at more subjective parts of your application. Most colleges require test scores as part of your application.

If you’re trying to decide whether you’re likely to get into a college based on your SATⓇ score, find out what its 75th percentile score for acceptance is and aim higher.

If you’ve already received your score and want to know which universities might be a good fit for you, search for universities for which your score is higher than average. These schools will make great likely colleges when you put together your college list.

Remember, your SATⓇ test score is just one piece of your college application. Colleges look beyond test scores, so don’t base your chances on your test scores alone.

Need help raising your SATⓇ test score?

KD College Prep offers a variety of test prep programs that can help improve your test scores. Contact us to schedule a tour and consultation at a campus near you.