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What is a Good Score on the SAT?

January 22, 2016

What is a Good Score on the SAT?

good score on the SAT

What is a Good Score on the SAT?

What is a good score on the SAT? Everybody asks me that!

There is no formula or calculation for what makes a good score.  A good SAT score is the best score that YOUR child can earn. But to guesstimate how your child is doing, I can suggest a scale based on the general population of the US. It doesn’t fit every family, and it may not fit your child, but it can help you begin to think about test scores and what they might mean.

General Population SAT Scale

Colleges have different policies on how they award scholarships. A perfect score may earn a full ride at one college, and not earn any scholarships at another college. But in general, as test scores go up, so does your chance of a scholarship award. Think of it this way, your child’s chances of earning scholarships go up as their scores go up.

Scholarship Chances for SAT Score

500 on each section has a chance of earning average scholarships
600 has a good chance of good scholarships
700 has a great chance of good scholarships
800 has an excellent chance of great scholarships

For example, in general an SAT score in the 700s (or ACT above 30), has a great chance of earning good scholarships, full tuition, or full ride scholarship opportunities. Carefully shop for colleges and watch their scholarship policies. The more you need scholarships, the more carefully you need to search.  

There is no nation-wide chart that compares test scores directly to college scholarships. There are charts that compare SAT test scores to ACT test scores, and charts that compare test scores to national percentile rankings. But it makes sense that higher test scores can lead to more scholarships at certain colleges.


Please note: This post was originally published in December, 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


  1. Jerie says:

    Please clarify something for me. I always thought the top SAT score was 2400 which would make an 800 pretty low, in comparison. Lately I have seen top scores of 1600 floating around the internet. Please tell me what the top score is. My child took the SAT with writing and received a 1260. What are our scholarship options? I am VERY new to all of this.

    December 6th, 2012 at 8:11 am

  2. Lee says:

    Each section has 800 possible points. The SAT used to have two sections, so years ago 1600 was the best possible score. Now the SAT has 3 sections, so 2400 is the best possible score. Just to muddy the water more, some colleges only use two of the three possible sections, so they may still use the 1600 as their best possible score. Yup, it’s confusing! On this chart, think of each individual score – for you about 630 per section. For more info, you can see this article:

    December 6th, 2012 at 8:24 am

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