SAT Score Guide

The SAT does not focus on raw scores—i.e. the number of questions each student got correct. Instead, the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600. The scaled scores allow for consideration of the difficulty of each test, as some tests might be harder than others. Hence, the raw scores are scaled to fit a normal distribution curve, and the scores of a student thus reflect on how he/she is compared with other students who have appeared for the test.

You’ll have one score for Math, on a 200-800 scale, and one score for Evidence Based Reading and Writing, also on a 200-800 scale. The essay will not be factored into your overall SAT score, and will be displayed separately on the report. The essay is scored by two readers on three measures: Reading, Analysis and Writing. Each reader gives the essay a score between 1 and 4, for each category and the grades are then summed. Hence, the highest grade you can receive is 8, 8, 8, while the lowest possible score is 2, 2, 2.

SAT Score Requirement

Standardized test scores are one of the first considerations college admissions committees have, meaning that your application to your dream school stands a far better chance if your scores are in the middle 50% (or higher) of that school’s admitted students’ scores. Thus, if you intend to apply to a college in the United States, having a good SAT score is crucial for a successful application.

Well, what’s a ‘good score’ then? It really depends on what your goals are. The average SAT score is currently 1059; but for top ivy league colleges the average is closer to 1540. At the very minimum, students should aim to score at or above 530 in Mathematics and 480 or higher in Evidence Based reading and writing. Try to aim for a balanced score, with a difference of no more than 50 points between the math and evidence based reading and writing sections.

SAT Scores at Top Colleges

Here are the average SAT scores attained by successful candidates of the top 30 universities/colleges in the United States.

UniversityAverage GPAAverage Total SAT ScoresAverage SAT Score for Reading & WritingAverage SAT Score for Math
Princeton University3.91520755765
Harvard College4.01520760760
Yale University3.91550775775
University of Chicago4.01540765775
Stanford University4.01520755765
Columbia University3.91520755765
Massachusetts Institute of Technology3.91520745775
University of Pennsylvania3.91510750760
Duke University3.81540760780
Johns Hopkins University3.91510750760
Dartmouth College3.81500750750
California Institute of Technology4.01560765795
Northwestern University3.91510750760
Brown University3.81510750760
Cornell University3.71480730730
Rice University3.81510760750
Vanderbilt University3.81530760770
University of Notre Dame3.81500740760
Washington University St. Louis3.91520750770
Emory University3.71440710730
Georgetown University3.81460730730
University of California, Berkeley3.91450710740
University of South California3.71450720730
Carnegie Mellon University3.81500740760
University of California, Los Angeles4.01400700700
University of Virginia4.01420710710
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor3.81450710740
Tufts University3.81490740750
Wake Forest University3.81410700710
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill4.01390690700