Average SAT Score

Average SAT Test Scores and Scoring Results Explained

average-sat-scoreWhat is an Average SAT Score And How Do SAT Scoring Percentiles Work?

After taking the SAT, you might think about how you fare against the average SAT test taker. Interestingly there are several different ways to calculate and categorize average SAT test scores. They include national averages, averages by ethnicity, gender, family income, and high school type.

Still, you need to understand the SAT test scoring, the types of SAT averages, and which are the most important scoring percentiles for your future college and career goals.

In this article, we will delve into the different SAT score averages by looking at the Math score, Evidence-Base Reading and Writing (ERW) score, and the total or composite score. These scores will be on your SAT score report measuring how you performed on the overall test as well as the Math and ERW sections.

Let’s jump in!


What is the Average SAT Score?

According to 2020 College Board Annual Report, the average SAT score is 1051 with scoring of 528 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and 523 on the Math section.

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score: 528
  • Math score: 523
  • Total score: 1051

What is National Average SAT Score?

According to the College Board, the national average SAT score for 2020 are ERW 528, Math 523, and Total 1051. Therefore, if you score more than 1060, then you will have scored above the national average score.

This means you will have scored more than most test-takers. On the other hand, a score of below 1050 means your score is below the national averages and lower than most test-takers.

Here is a chart that shows the national average SAT test scores for each section.

SAT Test SectionsNational Average SAT Test Scores
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing528
Math523
Total Score1051

Average SAT Scores by State

Every state performs differently on the SAT test primarily because they prioritize it differently. Some states requires all high school students to take the test resulting in a much higher participation rate but typically a lower overall average.

The states that encourage their students to take the test but don’t require it typically have higher averages because less students are being tested.

Here is the chart of average SAT scores by state in the US as reported by the College Board.

StateSAT Test Participation RateEvidence-Based Reading and Writing SAT ScoresMath SAT ScoresTotal Average SAT Scores
Alabama0.075765511127
Alaska0.375555431098
Arizona0.295715681139
Arkansas0.045905671157
California0.675275221049
Colorado15115011012
Connecticut15275121039
Delaware1497481978
District of Columbia1498482979
Florida1512479992
Georgia0.685375161053
Hawaii0.515495461095
Idaho1500484984
Illinois0.985045031007
Indiana0.645405341074
Iowa0.036116091220
Kansas0.046176201237
Kentucky0.046095981207
Louisiana0.055975731170
Maine0.98504491995
Maryland0.885225071029
Massachusetts0.85605591119
Michigan1503495998
Minnesota0.046246331257
Mississippi0.036105931203
Missouri0.046106031212
Montana0.15985871185
Nebraska0.036156141229
Nevada0.175795711150
New Hampshire0.935315241055
New Jersey0.825415401081
New Mexico0.195335221055
New York0.795285301058
North Carolina0.485535441096
North Dakota0.026156171231
Ohio0.215365341070
Oklahoma0.2490481971
Oregon0.515575471104
Pennsylvania0.675435341078
Puerto RicoN/A511481993
Rhode Island1501489990
South Carolina0.685245031026
South Dakota0.036096101218
Tennessee0.076015851186
Texas0.735105001010
Utah0.036016031204
Vermont0.635595451103
Virgin IslandsN/A474437912
Virginia0.655675491116
Washington0.695395341073
West Virginia0.98480456936
Wisconsin0.036156281243
Wyoming0.026146061220

Which State has the highest average SAT Score?

Like we said in the previous section, the states will lower participation rates tend to have the highest averages. Minnesota is no exception. With a participation rate of 4%, Minnesota has the highest average SAT score out of any state with a score of 1257. This is a staggering 206 points above the national average score.

Wisconsin and Kansas come in a close second and third with average test scores of 1243 and 1237, respectively.

Which States have the Highest SAT Participation Rates?

Although higher participation rates tend to correlate with lower overall averages, higher participations rates are a good thing. It shows that the states are committed to education and want to see how every student learns, instead of only testing the most educated or motivated.

That being said, there are eight states that require the SAT test for every students. Here are the states with SAT participation rates of 100%:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Michigan

Which State has the Lowest Average SAT Score?

West Virginia has the lowest average SAT score out of any state with a score of 936. This is somewhat understandable since West Virginia’s participation rate is 98%.

The second lowest scoring state does not follow this same statistical pattern. Oklahoma students only scored 971 even though the participation rate was only 20%. This shows that average scores and participation rates are correlated, but there are outliers.


Average SAT Test Score by College, University, & School

Most colleges in the US use SAT scores as a tool to measure of students’ knowledge and education for admission. Universities typically set a minimum test score that new students and applicants must obtain in order to be admitted into the college.

These minimum test score requirements different drastically between colleges and states, but it is interesting to look at the average SAT test scores for different schools.

Top 25  Ranked Colleges with the Highest Average SAT Scores

Here is a chart of the  Top 25 colleges and universities in the US with the highest average SAT scores.

RankingCollege / University25th Percentile SAT Test Score75th Percentile SAT Test ScoreTotal Average SAT Score
1Princeton146015701510
2Harvard146015701510
3Columbia145015701510
4MIT151015701540
5Yale146015701515
6Stanford144015701500
7University of Chicago150015701530
8Penn State145015601500
9Caltech153015601540
10Johns Hopkins147015701520
11Northwestern144015501490
12Duke148015701520
13Dartmouth144015601500
14Brown144015701500
15Vanderbilt146015601510
16Rice147015701520
17WUSTL148015601520
18Cornell140015601480
19Notre Dame140015501470
20UCLA128015301400
21Emory136015301440
22UC Berkeley131015301420
23Georgetown138015501460
24University of Michigan134015301430
25USC136015301440

75 Most Popular Universities’ SAT Average Scores

Here is a chart of 75 of the most popular and well respected colleges, schools, and universities in the US along with their average SAT test scores.

College / University25th Percentile SAT Score75th Percentile SAT ScoreTotal Average SAT Score
American University122013801300
Amherst College142015301480
Baylor University121013701293
Binghamton University (SUNY Binghamton)131014401375
Boston College137014901420
Boston University134015001420
Bowdoin College130015101405
Brigham Young University (BYU)122014101315
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)124014301335
Carnegie Mellon146015601510
Chapman University119013701280
Claremont McKenna College142015601490
College of William and Mary123015101415
Drexel University120013801290
George Washington University (GWU)128014601370
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)139015401465
Harvey Mudd College149015601530
Indiana University Bloomington128014601370
Lehigh University130014301365
Loyola Marymount University121013901296
Miami University121013901310
Michigan State University (MSU)112013101210
Middlebury College136015301445
New York University (NYU)137015101440
Northeastern University139015401465
Ohio State University (OSU)130014201355
Pace University106012201140
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)116013701265
Pepperdine University122014201320
Pitzer College134014901410
Pomona College141015301465
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)133015001409
Rutgers University119014101300
Scripps College130014801390
Stony Brook University—SUNY125014201335
Syracuse University118013701275
Temple University114013101238
Texas A&M University118013901275
Texas Christian University (TCU)115013401250
Trinity College130014601380
Tufts University139015401465
Tulane University135014901420
UC Davis115014101280
UC Irvine118014401310
UC Riverside113013301225
UC San Diego (UCSD)125014701360
UC Santa Barbara (UCSB)123014801355
UC Santa Cruz117014001285
United States Military Academy (West Point)118514001300
United States Naval Academy125014501410
University of Alabama106012801184
University of Arizona112013501235
University of Cincinnati116013701265
University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder)116013501253
University of Connecticut (UConn)121014201315
University of Florida128014401360
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)134015001420
University of Iowa114013301235
University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass)121013701290
University of Miami128014201355
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities127014401351
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)130014701395
University of Pittsburgh126014401350
University of Rochester134015001420
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)124014701355
University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas)125014501350
University of Vermont120013601270
University of Virginia (UVA)134015001430
University of Washington122014601340
University of Wisconsin—Madison130014801390
Vassar College137015101440
Villanova University133014601395
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)118013901285
Wake Forest University131014701390
Wellesley College136015301437
Williams College141015501479

What College or University has the highest average SAT test score?

Many schools maintain incredibly high SAT scores, but the two colleges tied with the highest total SAT score of 1540 are MIT and Caltech.

Although not as high as these two colleges, there are many different private and public schools that achieve high scores as well. For example, the average SAT score for Harvard is 1510. Likewise, the average SAT score for UCLA and Stanford are 1400 and 1500, respectively.


SAT Average Score by Gender

Also, the College Board has calculated the average score by gender, and averages are based on the 2019 SAT class. The Math and ERW sections are scored out of 800, and the total score will be 1600.

GenderMath SAT ScoreEvidence-Based Reading and Writing SAT ScoreTotal Average SAT Scores
Male5235311055
Female5325161048
No Response499468967

From the averages, it is evident that males outperform females by 15 points on Math, but the females outperform males by 9 points in ERW.


Average SAT Test Score by Ethnicity and Race

The College Board offers the alternative of specifying ethnicity, and most test takers do provide their ethnicity. The SAT average scores by ethnicity are as shown:

Ethnicity / RaceEvidence-Based Reading and Writing SAT ScoresMath SAT ScoresTotal Average SAT Scores
White 5575471104
Asian5856321217
American Indian / Alaska Native 456447902
Black / African American473454927
Hispanic / Latino491478969
Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander478470948
Two or more races 5525391091

Average SAT Test Score by Waiver

The SAT has been having issues with test-takers from low-income households as they tend to score lower than the average for students from a high-income family.

Despite the College Board not including data on family income, they provide information in scores for students who have used or not used a fee waiver.

SAT Fee WaiverEvidence-Based Reading and Writing SAT ScoresMath SAT ScoresTotal Average SAT Scores
Used503491966
Not Used5334301063

How is the SAT Test Scored?

The SAT exam is scored out of 1600, and for the two sections Math and ERW, you get a scaled score of 200-800. You determine the scaled score by converting the raw score, representing points for each question you score correctly.

Interestingly, there is no penalty for skipped questions or those that you get wrong. The raw scores are scaled through equating, which is a process that ensures test forms or a student’s ability level with who whom they are tested do not affect the score. Equating makes it easier to compare students that take different test editions across various administrations.

You can use cross-sectional scores and subscores to evaluate your performance. The total score will be the sum of the section scores, so the maximum SAT score is 1600, and the average score is around 1000.

Section scores are the scores for the two SAT sections scored out of 800 each, which will be combined to give the total score. SAT subscores will show how you performed various skills to provide a picture of your weaknesses and strengths.


Is the SAT Test Graded on a Curve?

According to the College Board, they do not grade the SAT exam on a curve. This implies test-takers will not be evaluated according to how well they performed relative to other test takers that took the exam the same day. Usually, students will take different editions of the SAT, making performance comparison difficult.

Usually, when grading is done on a curve, the score will go up or down depending on the group’s performance. Grading by curves is disadvantageous to students because it limits how many students will get a top score.

The Board uses equating to grade the test because some tests could be easier than others. Equating will mean that scores will be comparable, and a 600 score in Math on a particular test date will be the same as a 600 on another test date.


Why are SAT Score Average Percentiles Important?

Besides, the composite score SAT also ranks the performance in percentile ranks from 1-99. You will receive a percentile rank for the overall composite score and the section scores for ERW and Math. The percentile will tell the student how they performed relative to other test-takers.

For instance, a 78 composite percentile means that your score is higher than 78% of the test takers. If you fall in the 45 percentile in ERW, it means that you performed better than 45% of ERW test takers.

Percentiles are vital in comparing student scores for college admission, and most institutions have their score ranges, but they don’t change that much yearly. SAT percentiles are crucial when deciding whether you will retake the test, as they help put your score in context.

For instance, a 700 in Maths and 600 in ERW might seem not to be huge, but the Math score might be on the 94th percentile and the ERW in the 75th percentile. This will help you know that you should concentrate more on ERW when your retake because a 100 points increase in the ERW score could boost your percentile up to the 92nd percentile.

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