College entrance exams such as the SAT represent a significant milestone in the college admission process. To make an informed postsecondary decision, students need to understand how they performed in comparison to their college or university's average admission scores.
Students typically research on their own what a good SAT score is, but language such as "25th percentile" and "75th percentile" can be confusing. Consider the following SAT score range when advising students to make sure students understand their scores. For example, a 25th percentile means 25% of students performed as well as or lower than the student.
As the graphic above depicts, a top SAT score puts students in the top 10% of all test takers with a combined score range of 1360-1600, consisting of a Math score of 690-800 and a Reading and Writing Score of 670-800. A competitive score of 1210-1340 puts students in the top 25% of all test takers, consisting of a Math score of 600-680 and a Reading and Writing score of 610-660. An above-average score of 1070-1190 puts students in the top half of test takers, but won’t be as advantageous when applying to highly competitive programs, with a Math score of 530-590 and a Reading and Writing score of 540-660. A below-average score of 400-1050, consisting of a Math Score of 200-520 and a Reading and Writing Score of 200-530, puts students below average compared to the testing population, but the combined score may be enough to get into a wide variety of college programs.
For more information on how testing factors into the college admissions process, check out our blog on Admissions Tests and Entrance Exams.