What is a Good SAT Score & How is it Calculated?

By Neha Kumari Updated On - Jun 21, 2021 01:17 PM

Planning to take admission in undergraduate courses in the US? Then find out what a good SAT score is and how it is calculated. Also, determine the minimum score needed to take admission in popular universities in the US. 

For many study abroad aspirants, especially those aspiring to study in the US, have heard of the SAT or the Scholastic Aptitude Test. This test is renowned worldwide and is also accepted by a few colleges outside of the US. However, for those planning to study in the US, attempting the SAT test can make their undergraduate admission a little simpler.

The College Board, the conducting body of the SAT, releases the SAT score within one or two weeks of conducting the SAT test, successfully on a defined SAT test date. Once the SAT test score is released, the next important step is to send the SAT score to the selected or desired college/university to study abroad. The score is either sent directly from the SAT test centre to the institutions selected at the time of SAT registration within 10 days of the release of the SAT result or students can choose to directly send the SAT score to desired colleges/ universities.

Sending the SAT scores to institutions is not a difficult process. Students taking the SAT test must focus more on scoring the maximum marks in SAT rather than stressing on how to send the SAT score to colleges after taking the test. A good SAT score is a gateway to admission to the top colleges in countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, etc.

Students taking the SATs can check how the SAT is scored and what is a good SAT score to get admission at a good college/university abroad. But before that, let us get to know what is the use of a SAT score and what exactly is the structure of the exam.

What is SAT?

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized international level entrance exam that is conducted by the College Board for admissions purposes at different colleges and universities in countries like the United States, Australia, UK, New Zealand etc. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers the SATs on behalf of the College Board. An SAT score is accepted by universities to understand the intellectual abilities of students and their readiness to enter a college after high school. Besides, SAT scores are also used to grant scholarships to students.

Find out more about the SAT Test Structure and how the SAT is scored for different sections.

Structure of SAT 2021

Check the exam pattern of SAT to have an idea of how each section is divided and how it is scored:

SAT Exam Duration

3 hours

Total Number of Sections

3 {Essay Scrapped}

Total Number of Questions


Mode of SAT Exam


Medium of Instruction


Negative Marking


Score Range


Also Read: List of Entrance Exams to Study Abroad: Dates, Apply Online Here

Understanding SAT Score

SAT is scored on a range of 400-1600. Further, the SAT Score is categorised into four different parts for a better evaluation of the student’s performance in the test. A SAT score Report is detailed and is released in the following format:

SAT Score

Score Range

Total Score (1)

400 - 1600

Section Scores (2)

200- 800

Test Scores (3)

10- 40

Cross-test Scores (2)

10- 40

Subscores (7)

1- 15



How is the SAT Score Calculated?

Figure out how a SAT Score is calculated and how the performance of the candidate in the test is evaluated:

Total Score (400-1600)

It is the total of marks obtained in the two sections of the SAT.

Section Scores (200-800)

It is the individual scores in each of the two sections of the SAT i.e  Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. For both sections, a separate score is defined in a score range of 200- 800.

Test Scores (10-40) 

It is useful for the participating organisation to analyse the level of understanding of the candidate in three areas i.e reading, writing and language and Maths. Three separate scores are defined under this category in a score range of 10-40.

Cross-test Scores (10-40) 

Two scores are defined in this part. One is based on Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science and the other is based on the selection of questions in Reading, Writing and Language and Maths.

Subscores (1–15)

A total of 7 scores are defined under subscores based on the following points:

  • Reading and Writing and Language: command of evidence and words in context

  • Writing and Language: expression of ideas and standard English conventions

  • Mathematics topics: the heart of algebra, problem-solving, data analysis and advanced Math. 

Note: The essay section was scored in a range of 2- 8. But, SAT essay (option) has been scrapped along with the subject test.

What is a Good SAT Score?

Different universities/colleges set their own SAT Score requirements for admissions in a specific area. While a good SAT score is needed to get admission at the desired college abroad, SAT score is not the only determining factor for admission. Various other factors like Academic background, Letter of Recommendation, extracurricular activities, motivation etc. are some of the other factors that are taken into consideration. However, a minimum 1200 composite score in SAT is considered a good score for undergraduate admissions in the leading universities worldwide.

Also, students who score well in SAT are eligible to receive scholarships. The scholarships are either funded by the government or by institutions to provide quality education to talented and motivated students.

In India, a student who scored more than 1350 on SAT will be considered for one of the SAT India Top Performers Scholarships.

A student must consider the following points when He/She refers to a good SAT Score:

  • Confirm the SAT Requirement of the Specific College: Before taking the SAT, candidates must check the minimum SAT score requirement at the desired college and try to score at least the minimum SAT score for admissions.

  • Understand the Need for a Good SAT Score: Good SAT score is not only needed for acceptance of admission in colleges but can also help a student get a scholarship and meet the financial requirements.

  • Score Maximum Marks in SAT: Instead of focusing on scoring minimum marks required for admissions at a particular college, candidates should try to score the maximum marks in SAT. It not only increases the chances of a candidate to get enrolled in a top college but also makes him/her eligible to apply for scholarships.

Also Read: Timeline for September 2021 Intake to Study in USA

Average SAT Score 

The average SAT score is defined based on the total group of people taking the test, gender, Ethnicity, Fee Waiver Use, School Type and States. 

The Average SAT Score as per the College Board's 2019 Report for the different categories are as follows:

Average Score Type 

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing



Total Group of People




Female Gender




Male Gender




Asian (out of 223,451 test-takers)




Fee Waiver Use (out of 376,468 test-takers)




Public Institutions








Average SAT Score for Top US Universities 

There are hundreds of universities/institutions/colleges worldwide accepting SAT scorecards for admission of students. The SAT requirement is mostly defined by a specific department of an institution in the eligibility criteria for admissions to a particular course.

In 2021, some universities in the United States decided to drop the SAT requirement for admission as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But most colleges abroad are accepting SAT scores as it is considered as an important test to determine the readiness of students to enter into a college and also to ensure an unbiased admission process.

Here is the list of colleges accepting SAT scorecards along with the SAT average score acceptable for undergraduate admission based on previous years’ data:

US Universities

Average SAT Score

American University


Baylor University


Miami University


University of Illinois, Chicago


Boston University


George Washington University (GWU)


UC Santa Cruz


University of Washington


University of Pittsburgh


Texas A&M University


New York University (NYU)


What is SAT Percentile Ranking?

To figure out what is a good SAT score, one must understand the various aspects of SAT test scoring. The total SAT score (1600) and section-wise SAT score (800) corresponds to an SAT percentile. Let us now understand what an SAT percentile is with the help of an example.

Suppose, the SAT percentile of a student is 80. It means that the student has a score better than 80% of the total SAT test-takers. Check the SAT score chart with the corresponding SAT percentile of 2019:

SAT Composite Score (Out of 1600)

Percentile (2019)









































Check out the SAT percentile corresponding to SAT Composite Score for the top US Colleges as per the data from 2020:

College Name

SAT 75th percentile Score













Johns Hopkins








Also Read: What is Grade Point Average (GPA) & How is it Calculated?

Colleges Accepting SAT Score

Here is the list of other colleges accepting SAT scores:



Liverpool John Moores University

McGill University

Newcastle University

University of Manitoba

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dalhousie University

Durham University

Capilano University

University of Salford

St.Thomas University




University of Sydney

Bard College Berlin

University of Queensland

Frankfurt School of Finance And Management GMBH

Deakin University

Lancaster University Leipzig

Queensland University of Technology

Jacobs University Bremen

Curtin University

Whu-Otto Beisheim School of Management


1. How is the SAT scored?

The SAT is scored out of 1600. There are two separate sections i.e. Reading & Writing and Mathematics and each section counts 800 marks.

2. What is the SAT Percentile?

SAT percentile is used as a comparison parameter to determine your performance among other SAT Test Takers. Suppose, your SAT percentile of a student is 90. It means that you have scored better than 90% of the total SAT test-takers. 

3. What is a section-wise SAT Score?

SAT is divided into 2 sections: Reading & Writing and Mathematics and each section is scored on a scale of 200- 800. It is the section-wise SAT Score.

4. What is the SAT composite score?

SAT composite score is nothing but the total SAT score of a candidate. It is the sum total of marks obtained in the Reading and Writing section and Mathematics section by the candidate.

5. What is the minimum SAT score needed to apply for admissions to top US universities?

To apply for admissions in top US universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Boston University you must have an SAT score above 1400. However, an SAT score above 1200 is good enough to apply to other popular US universities like Texas A&M University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Baylor University etc.

6. Which US Universities are not accepting SAT scores for 2021 Admissions?

George Washington University, Hofstra University, University of Chicago, Oregon State University, Alabama State University, Dartmouth College , Duke University, Northeastern University, Oakland University, Pennsylvania State University are some of the universities that not accepting SAT scores for 2021 Admissions

7. Do UK Universities accept SAT scores for undergraduate admissions?

International students need to submit SAT scores for admission in UK universities like Aston University, Bath Spa University, Durham University, Keele University, Lancaster University, Leeds Beckett University to name a few. 

8. My SAT score is 1310. What are some of the best US universities I can apply for undergraduate admission?

US Universities like George Washington University, University of Florida, University of Washington, Ohio State University, University of Florida, American University, University of Massachusetts Amherst are some of the US universities you can apply for admissions with an SAT score of 1310. 

9. What is an average SAT score?

The average SAT score is defined based on the total group of people taking the test and the score acceptable at universities for a specific academic term. Every year, the College Board releases the Average SAT Score Report for different categories as reference data. 

10. What is an SAT score report?

 SAT score report is the detailed SAT score of a test taker. It shows the Total Score, Section Scores, Cross-Test Scores and other details of the candidate like test date,  Registration Number, Test Center Number, CB Student ID, Date of Birth etc. 

In case you have further queries about study abroad entrance exams or admission process, write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com or call us at 785-9990-990.

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