SAT Score Range

Understand the SAT Score Range

SAT is a globally recognized examination at the university entrance level. Most of the colleges in US base their admissions on the basis of your SAT score range. A good score range could make all the difference to your admission. There is a general perception that it is difficult to score well, however on the contrary it only tests you on your basics in math, verbal and writing abilities which are developed in high schools around the world.

Understand SAT

A very important thing that you should realize is that exam is taken by students from various academic backgrounds and interests, therefore it cannot be limited to a particular technical or arts domain. Due to this reason, the creators of test have got a general strategy to test students from all kinds of backgrounds. This format essentially consists of three sections-

  • Critical reading
  • Math
  • Writing

These are the subjects taught in high school to all the students, therefore it is considered to be the best format to equalize the differences. There is however one problem, “How to allocate the students according to their interests?” To answer this College Board (the organization that conducts SAT) has come up with the idea of subject tests.

SAT Subject Tests

These are knowledge specific tests administered in the areas of history, math, literature, language and science. You are free to choose the subject of your interest and submit these scores along with the main examination scores.

Most colleges specifically mention which subject test scores you need to submit to get a particular major. Some colleges, however, don’t mention this explicitly. You can be sure, however, that while considering your application they will look into your subject test scores and allocate branches accordingly.

How is SAT Scored?

Score range varies from 600-2400, with 600 being the minimum that you can score. This score is divided into the three sections mentioned above. Each section score ranges from 200-800. Note that when you actually take the test your scores are not marked directly, only a raw score is calculated and then it is scaled over 600-2400. This procedure is explained briefly here-

  • The raw score for each section are calculated on a scale of 20-80 where you get a +1 for each correct answer and -1/4 for each wrong answer (in the subject test it is -1/4 for each 5-choice question, -1/3 for each 4-choice question and -1/2 for each 3-choice question).
  • The essay is marked on a scale of 1-6 each independently by two examiners and then added to get a total score on a range 2-12.
  • To make sure there are no differences due to venues or question levels, these scores are statistically scaled to a range of 200-800.

Apart from these scores, you should also know about the percentiles. It is a parameter that tells you about your relative performance compared to all other test takers. For example, if you have a 100 percentile (which doesn’t happen), it means you have scored more than anyone else.

What is a Good Score?

Very few people manage to get a perfect score of 2400, even those who get admissions in the top universities. The average score is generally 500 in each section, which makes a total average score of about 1500. In 2011 the mean scoreshave been 514 in math, 489 in writing and 497 in critical reading, also note that 25% of people who got admissions scored below the average range.

An important point here is that the critical reading and math sections are considered to be very important by most colleges. The writing section isn’t given much importance because it is relatively new and the admission council isn’t quite sure how it relates to the student’s abilities. Here are some numbers that will give you an idea what some of the top universities consider as a good score range-


Critical reading



















It is evident from these figures that there is huge variation in terms of the scores of students who get admitted to these universities. This is due to the fact that there are several other parameters that are considered during the admission process. These include sports, extra-curricular activities, academic record, performance in the interview etc., and when all these are considered, the large variations in score results.

When it comes to the subject tests, there is no specified range but you have to score as high as possible to stand a good chance. For more details you can look up the websites of universities or visit the official website, the link to which is as follows: