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Have you recently taken an SAT recently and require guidance on whether or not to take the test again? Perhaps you’ve not been able to take the SAT yet, but would like to create a goal score.

One of the most effective methods to comprehend the significance of your SAT score is to comprehend the SAT scores in percentiles. Learn to optimize your study time to find the most significant scores and make your dream school stand out by knowing percentile scores.
Check out this article for a step-by-step guide to maximize your SAT score and college chances by making use of SAT scores and percentiles.

Bonus: Do you want to achieve an unbeatable SAT score?

 Get our renowned guide on how to get an amazing 1500 in the SAT. Learn the best strategies from the nation’s top expert in the field of SAT, Allen Cheng, who is a Harvard graduate and a perfect scorer. Whatever your skill level you’ll find helpful advice in this guide to strategy.

What Are SAT Score Percentiles?

Alongside the composite score you receive from the SAT (i.e., scores that range between 400 to 1600) In addition, you’ll receive an overall percentile score, which ranges between 1 and 99. The SAT provides an overall percentile score for your total score, and also for every one of two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math.

Your percentile will tell you how well you performed on the SAT in comparison to other students taking the exam. For instance, if you scored a composite percentage of 76, it means that you scored better than the 76% mark of test takers taking the entire test. If you scored a percentile of 47 in the Math section, you scored much better than just 47% taking SAT Math.

The percentile score isn’t as a percentage of 100. If, for instance, you score a percentile of 90, that does not mean you have answered 90 percent of the questions right. It’s just a sign that when you compare to the other students taking the SAT and scored higher than 90 percent of the questions. (For more information about ways you can score the SAT can be scored check out the score guidelines.)

Why do percentiles have significance? Colleges use percentiles in order to compare you to other students. If you have, for example an SAT score of the 90th percentile, this will be competitive for a lot of colleges since you scored higher than the majority of students in the country.

Be aware of your percentile score along with your composite score can provide you with the most accurate picture of your performance. It can also aid you in making informed decisions on which colleges you should apply to.

What Are the Percentile Ranges for the SAT?

Okay, you know the idea that percentile ranking is important. If you haven’t yet taken the SAT in the past or already took it but plan to take it, which composite SAT number should you aim for to achieve the best percentile score?

Fortunately there is a solution. College Board releases data about composite scores and percentile rankings that can help you determine this. The data can vary every year, however, we do can provide the most up-to-date information in 2023.

We’ve compiled the SAT percentiles in a chart of percentiles. Simply find your score to determine your percentile.

SAT Composite Score RangePercentile Score
1530-160099 to 99+
1500-153098 to 99
1450-150096 to 98
1400-145093 to 96
1350-140090 to 93
1300-136086 to 90
1250-130081 to 86
1200-125075 to 81
1150-120068 to 75
1100-115061 to 68
1040-110051 to 61
990-104043 to 51
940-99035 to 43
890-94027 to 35
830-89019 to 27
790-83013 to 19
740-7907 to 13
690-7403 to 7
620-7001 to 3
600-6601- to 1

One thing to take note of with the percentile ranks is that they fluctuate more quickly when you get middle scores. For instance, the difference between 1450 and 1600, the most high score possible is only 4 percentiles, or between 96 and 99.

But, the exact difference in points between 1100-1250 has huge percentage differences, ranging from 61 to 81.

SAT Percentile Charts by Section

We also have information on percentile rankings of score variations in ERW in addition to Math. Take a look at the graph below to find out the scores you’re putting up against.

Section Score RangeSAT ERW PercentilesSAT Math Percentiles
780-80099+98 to 99+
760-78099 to 99+96 to 98
740-76097 to 9994 to 96
720-74095 to 9793 to 94
700-72093 to 9591 to 93
680-70090 to 9389 to 91
660-68087 to 9086 to 89
640-66083 to 8783 to 86
620-64078 to 8380 to 83
600-62073 to 7876 to 80
580-60068 to 7371 to 76
560-58062 to 6866 to 71
540-56056 to 6260 to 66
520-54050 to 5653 to 60
500-52043 to 5046 to 53
480-50037 to 4341 to 46
460-48030 to 3735 to 41
440-46024 to 3030 to 35
420-44018 to 2424 to 30
400-42013 to 1819 to 24
380-4008 to 1313 to 19
360-3805 to 88 to 13
340-3602 to 54 to 8
320-3401 to 22 to 4
300-32011 to 2
280-3001- to 11
260-2801-1- to 1

Source: SAT Understanding Scores 2023

It is important to note that percentile ranks vary dramatically as you get closer to the middle scores. 500 points in ERW is just 43%, while 600 is 73 percent. That’s right an improvement of 100 points–which is easily achievable with clever study–can make your score go from being poor to excellent.

Take note it is that it is important to note that the Math curve has more competition at the top as the ERW curve. A 760 score is at the 96th percentile for Math, but is in the 99th percentile for ERW. A 700 is within the 91st percentile of Math, yet at the 93rd percentile for the ERW. That means that if you were trying to achieve the same percentile in both sections, you’d need to score higher on Math as opposed to ERW.

For more details about SAT results and ranking, read our guide on typical SAT scores and rankings. We also analyze score breakdowns according to gender and ethnicity.

How Can Knowing Your SAT Percentile Help You?

We are aware that percentiles are crucial and that in some situations, even a tiny percentile increase can have a significant impact on your percentile rank.

But, the total score for the schools you’d like to attend is the most crucial. Although percentiles aid admissions officers at colleges evaluate your scores, colleges are also able to set their own scores ranges, which typically don’t alter much from year each.

To determine a college’s SAT score ranges, you can search “[School Name] SAT scores PrepScholar” on Google to locate our Admission Requirements page that includes scores for SAT/ACT and details about GPA ranges as well as overall competitiveness. For more information regarding how to utilize this method (and to find a table you could fill out for the specific college you are interested in) check out our guide to what a great SAT result is.

Also, SAT percentile rankings can be a valuable instrument for your. Particularly if you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to retake the SAT and percentiles can help to put your SAT scores into context. For instance, the difference between your ERW 700 or 600 on Math may not seem like a lot However, the score in ERW is within the 93rd percentile. However, the Math score is at 76th percentile. A huge difference!

This means that you will gain more value for your dollar if you concentrate in the Math section when you retake your test. By increasing you Math scores by a hundred points will increase your percentile from between 76 and 91. But, increasing the ERW scores from 700-800 while impressive, it will only increase your percentile rank by five percent.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to not take advantage of ERW. In fact, an increase of 50 points could place you at that 99th percentage! Recognizing that you have the chance to gain more by using Math can help you organize your time more efficiently.

What’s Next?

Now that you know the ins and outs of national SAT percentiles, check out what the average SAT scores are, and take a look at the average SAT scores in your state.

Are you trying to determine your SAT goal score? Maybe you’ve taken the SAT but you’re not sure if the score you received is a competitive one.