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

By Cyril Zachariah Updated On - Jul 11, 2022 05:58 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 to popular universities in the US. 

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What is a Good SAT Score and How is it Calculated: For many international 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 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, successfully on a defined SAT date. Once the SAT 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 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 must focus more on scoring the maximum marks in SAT rather than stressing about 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 SAT exam can check how the SAT is scored and what is a good SAT score to get admission to a good college/university abroad. But before that, let us get to know what is the use of the SAT score and what exactly is the structure of the exam.

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 to the desired college abroad, SAT score is not the only determining factor for admission.

Various other factors like academic background, Letter of Recommendation, overall profile, extracurricular activities, goals and intent to study, motivation letter, etc. are some of the other factors that are taken into consideration. However, a minimum 1200 composite score on SAT is considered a good score for undergraduate admissions in the leading universities worldwide.

Also, students who score well on 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.

Aspirants must consider the following points when they refer 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 to 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 the minimum marks required for admissions at a particular college, candidates should try to score the maximum marks on SAT. It not only increases the chances of a candidate getting enrolled in a top college but also makes him/her eligible to apply for scholarships.

Learn How to Get a Perfect SAT Score!

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, the 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 2022

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

Particulars Details of SAT Exam

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


Understanding SAT Score

SAT is scored in a range of 400-1600. Further, the SAT Score is categorised into four different parts for a better evaluation of the student’s performance on the test. An 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



Learn about the SAT Score Calculator in detail, here.

How is the SAT Score Calculated?

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

Total SAT Score (400-1600)

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

Section SAT 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.

SAT 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.

SAT 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.

SAT 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.

Ace Your SAT Scores on First Attempt!

The average SAT score is defined based on the total group of people taking the test, gender, ethnicity, fee waiver used, university/institution type and state/city in which the university is located. The average SAT scores 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








What is SAT Percentile Ranking?

To figure out what is a good SAT score, one must understand the various aspects of SAT scoring. The total SAT score (1600) and section-wise SAT score (800) correspond 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 for 2019:

SAT Composite Score (Out of 1600)

Percentile (2019)









































Average SAT Score for Top US Universities 

There are hundreds of universities/institutions/colleges worldwide accepting SAT scorecards for the 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 an important test to determine the readiness of students to enter 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)


Colleges Accepting SAT Score

Here is the list of other colleges in some of the most popular study abroad destinations, that are accepting SAT scores:




Liverpool John Moores University

McGill University

University of Sydney

Newcastle University

University of Manitoba

University of Queensland

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dalhousie University

Deakin University

Durham University

Capilano University

Queensland University of Technology

University of Salford

St.Thomas University

Curtin University

You should be aware that a high SAT score does not guarantee admission to any of the best universities abroad because your admission is determined by factors other than grades and test results. However, excellent test scores might lead to merit scholarships at some colleges.

Some universities and colleges around the world give merit scholarships based on high school GPA and admission exam scores to attract only academically talented candidates. Please see this list for more details. Students who score 1350 or higher on the SAT India will be recognized as SAT India Top Performers.

In case you have further queries about study abroad entrance exams or the admission process, write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com and seek help from our expert study abroad counsellors! 

Know About International Universities Accepting SAT Scores!


What is a section-wise SAT Score?

Your section-wise SAT scores are the individual results for the SAT's two main sections: reading/writing and mathematics which are scored on a scale of 200-800. It is the section-wise SAT Score. The maximum SAT composite score is 800+800, or 1600. The overall average is 1000. Each of these sections is rated out of 800, and the total of these scores is your overall score.

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. 

What is the average SAT score?

The SAT is scored out of 1600 and the average SAT score is between 1010 and 1060. This is based on SAT score trend data, where the 50th percentile for the nationally representative sample was 1010, while the 50th percentile for SAT test-takers was between 1050 and 1060.

What’s the difference between SAT raw scores and SAT scale scores? How are they calculated?

The number of right answers you received in a section is equivalent to your raw SAT score. The SAT has no guessing penalty and is only concerned with the total number of correct answers. SAT scale scores are how your raw scores translate to section scores, which range from 200 to 800 for the two sections (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math), for a total SAT score ranging from 400 to 1600.

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. You are above average if your composite SAT score is 1083 or higher. The aggregate SAT test score for the 75th percentile is 1215, the 90th percentile is 1340, and the 95th percentile is 1410.

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

The minimum SAT score needed to apply for admissions to top US universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and Boston University 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.

Do UK Universities accept SAT scores for undergraduate admissions?

Yes, UK Universities do accept SAT scores for undergraduate admissions to their prestigious colleges. International students need to submit SAT scores for admission to UK universities like Aston University, Bath Spa University, Durham University, Keele University, Lancaster University, and Leeds Beckett University to name a few. 

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, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst are some of the best options among the US universities you can apply for admissions with an SAT score of 1310. 

How long do SAT scores stay valid?

Your SAT scores are technically valid forever. However, this does not imply that all universities from different parts of the world will accept SAT scores that are five years old or older. If a school accepts scores from any year, you can submit them regardless of their age.

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. 

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