TeenLife

    What is a Good SAT Score in 2022 and How to Get It

    Posted July 20, 2022, 1:00 pm by Suzanne Shaffer
    Two girls celebrating SAT results in school corridor

    This article on good SAT scores has been updated as part of of TeenLife's brand new 2022 Guide to College Admissions. Featuring more than a dozen articles from college pros and admissions experts, this new TeenLife guide is the perfect resource for tackling college admissions head on. Download it for free today

    What is A Good SAT Score in 2022?

    Standardized examinations like the SAT and ACT may be a bit less important than they once were, as many schools allowed for "test-optional" applications throughout the pandemic. However, many top U.S. colleges have indicated that their test-optional policies will not be permanent, and even their current procedures make it clear that while the absence of SAT test scores will not be punished, good SAT scores will still be considered.

    There's no doubt then: a good score on the SAT can still take a student far. But what even is a good SAT score in 2022? How do you even go about getting it? Every student dreams of the perfect SAT score of 1600, but not all can achieve perfection. Since most teens don’t fall into the perfect score category, what is a top SAT score, a good SAT score, an average SAT score and a bad SAT score?

    In this article, we'll answer that question and many more! 

    Pencil on blank SAT answer sheet.

    What is the SAT? 

    The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardized test taken by high school students who intend to go to college. It includes multiple choice questions and essay questions in two categories: mathematics and reading/writing. The test varies every year, so while a good score is dependent on your preparation and critical thinking skills, there is a small amount of luck involved as well.

    SAT Score Range

    The SAT score range is based on a scale of 400 to 1600. This is a new score range that was released in 2016 and signaled a deportee from the previous top score of 2400.

    Each section of the SAT is still worth 800 points, but since the reading and writing sections have been collapsed into one Evidence-Based Reading & Writing category, the SAT score range only goes up to 1600. 

    When Do SAT Scores Come Out? 

    According to the College Board, SAT scores should be available anytime between two and four weeks of taking the test. For students who take the SAT in the summer, this period could be a little bit longer.

    The College Board will have more information about the specific date and time at which your SAT scores will be released once you have competed the test.

    Average SAT Score

    The latest College Board data says that the average SAT score for graduating seniors was 1051 (the average Reading & Writing score was 528 and the average Mathematics score was 523). This slightly below both the 2018 and 2019 average SAT scores.

    However, just because your result is above the average SAT score does not necessarily mean it is a good SAT score.

    Good SAT scores can mean different things to different students, and there are a few more considerations when it comes to good SAT scores and bad SAT scores. Both the percentile score (how well a student performed on the SAT compared to everyone else who took it) and their target university's average SAT score should also be considered.

    Good SAT scores with a perfect score circled.

    Good SAT Scores in 2022

    A Perfect SAT Score

    If your student is dreaming of the Ivies or any other university with stringent application requirements and low acceptance rates, the best SAT score would be as close to 1600 as possible. At Stanford University, which has the nation’s lowest acceptance rate (5.7 percent), 25 percent of the students who are accepted have a 1590 or higher SAT score. The same holds true for Yale, which has a 6.1 percent acceptance rate and where 25 percent of the accepted students score a perfect score of 1600. This is indeed stiff competition, especially knowing that these students also have stellar GPAs and strong extracurriculars.

    Good SAT Scores

    A good SAT score will not only open doors to college acceptance, but also to merit aid at a vast majority of colleges and universities. A good score is in the range of 1300 to 1500 (Math: 650 to 750, Reading/Writing: 650 to 750). Colleges like Emory University with a 25.2 percent acceptance rate list accepted student SAT scores in the range of 1330 to 1520. A college with an acceptance rate in the 20 to 30 percent range is looking for good SAT scores from their applicants.

    Average SAT Scores

    An average score of approximately 1000 to 1300 (Math: 500 to 650, Reading/Writing 500 to 650) means your student can likely gain admission to one of the state public colleges or universities. This excludes California, of course, which has very competitive public university systems that require high SAT scores. Colleges like the University of Texas and the University of Florida accept 50 percent or more of students who apply. Students applying to one of these colleges who want financial aid should be at the top of the applicant pool with SAT scores of at least 1300.

    Bad SAT Scores

    Any score below 1000 can be considered poor. Some students simply don’t test well. One option might be to choose a test-optional college that doesn’t require SAT scores for admission. This would be especially true if your student has a strong GPA and good extracurriculars. In this instance, admission is based on the total application and not solely on the SAT score.

    What Can You Do To Get Good SAT Scores?

    The simple answer to goos SAT scores is to study. Begin by taking a timed, full-length practice test and figuring out the weak points. There is also free test prep from the College Board and Khan Academy, or you can contract with another test-prep company or hire a private test-prep tutor.

    Any amount of practice will help students improve their scores and learn techniques that can help them score higher.

    In the end, the best SAT score is the score your student needs to get into the colleges on their list. Research the scores of admitted applicants on a target school and shoot for the top score. Scores are posted on the college websites or at the College Board’s Big Future.

    As schools drop their test optional status, it will also be important to note the stress the college puts on good SAT scores. Some will list it as a “very important” part of the application and others will list it as “not very important.” All this information will help you decide how much time and effort your student needs to make in achieving a good test score.

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    Suzanne Shaffer

    Suzanne Shaffer

    Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parenting for College blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

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