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Understanding SAT SCORES and SAT percentile for UG admissions

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Understanding SAT SCORES and SAT percentile for UG admissions

All of the SAT coaching and SAT preparation is geared towards getting the best score you can have and getting admission to the dream school. This is quite an important test that gets to decide your future path. There are many questions which a student may have regarding the SATs. Questions about scores, percentiles, and retaking of tests are always valid and should be answered by reliable sources. One of the best ways to ace your performance is to grasp the concept of SAT score percentiles. Doing so will make your SAT preparation easier and your chances higher for a great college. Refer to this article of EduQuest to get the complete detail about the scoring1600 in SAT.

Understanding SAT score percentiles

The total SAT score that a student gets will range from 400 to the perfect score of 1600. On top of that, the student will receive a percentile score from 1st to the 99th percentile. This score is not the absolute value but it tells you what your performance is compared to the other test-takers. To get a better understanding, consider this-

If a student has a percentile of 67 that means that student has scored higher than 67% of the students that have taken the test. These scores are used by colleges to rank you concerning the other students. If you have a 90 percentile score, which translates that you have performed better than 90% of the students, that will be an immense advantage for you when applying to colleges.



How to compare absolute scores with SAT score percentile?

So what SAT score means that you will have a high percentile? Students who have never taken the SAT exam before or who plan to retake it should consider this question carefully. This is not a difficult problem to solve because the College Board will release data that will help you calculate your needed SAT score. Below, there is a chart to guide you.

Total SAT score Percentile that you will receive
1550-1600 Above 99th percentile
1500-1550 98th to 99th percentile
1450-1500 96th to 98th percentile
1400-1450 94th to 96th percentile
1350-1400 90th to 94th percentile
1300-1350 86th to 90th percentile
1250-1300 81st to 86th percentile
1200-1250 74th to 81st percentile
1150-1200 67th to 74th percentile
1100-1150 59th to 67th percentile
1050-1100 50th to 59th percentile
1000-1050 41st to 50th percentile
950-1000 33rd to41st percentile
900-950 25th to 33rd percentile
850-900 18th to 25th percentile
800-850 11th to 18th percentile
750-800 6th to 11th percentile

If you look at these numbers carefully, you will get to know that the percentiles for the SAT scores changes quickly for the middle numbers. If a student increases his or her SAT scores from 1450 to 1600 he or she will get an increase in a percentile of about 4 points. But if the increase in SAT scores happens between 1100 and 1250, then the students get an increase of more than 20 percentile points (59 to 81 percentile score).

What more is there to know about SAT scores?

Almost every institution will consider the total percentile scores but if your area of interest is geared more toward the math abilities r toward verbal abilities, section-wise percentile scores will also be important. For additional information about these scores, refer to the chart below.

Section Score Range EBRW Percentile Math Percentile
780-800 99+ 98 to 99+
760-780 99 to 99+ 97 to 98
740-760 98 to 99 96 to 97
720-740 97 to 98 94 to 96
700-720 94 to 97 92 to 94
680-700 92 to 94 89 to 92
660-680 88 to 92 86 to 89
640-660 84 to 88 83 to 86
620-640 78 to 84 79 to 83
600-620 72 to 78 75 to 79
580-600 66 to 72 69 to 75
560-580 59 to 66 64 to 69
540-560 52 to 59 57 to 64
520-540 45 to 52 49 to 57
500-520 38 to 45 40 to 49
SAT Maths and English

If you pay attention then you will notice that the trend is the same as for the composite percentiles. Increasing your score in the middle will get you more points. If you keep this in mind when you are in SAT coaching and doing your SAT preparation, it will be smart studying as you can get the best percentile you can achieve by knowing these trends. The Math section of the SAT exam is more of a challenge towards the top when you compare it with the EBRW section. If a student wants to get the same percentile score in both sections then the student will have to get a higher score on the Math section.

What is the point of knowing all this?

Sat scores and the resulting SAT percentiles will affect your college admissions. Your dream college will have an expectation for you to get a certain percentile score and calculating the relevant composite score will help you prepare.

Colleges have their score ranges and these ranges do not change much from one year to the next. It is advisable for the student to check out these ranges. There are loads of information on these ranges on the internet websites.

Even if you are considering retaking the SAT exams, knowing your SAT score and the percentile score associated with it can help you plan ahead.

What are the scores that usually students get on average?

Well, every student has SAT coaching and SAT preparation on their mind. But the average scores tell a lot about the difficulty levels of an exam. As per the reports of 2019, we have computed the average scores on the SAT exam for your help.

For the Math section, students usually score around 528.

As for Evidence-based reading and writing, the SAT score of students is around 531.

So, in total the average scores are around 1059. This tells you a lot about what SAT scores you will need to get a better than average performances in your tests. Having this information is an advantage for your SAT preparation.

How much does it all matter?

It is true that a great percentile score will be advantageous for your college admissions. But do not forget that SAT scores are not all there is for college admissions. Ultimately, colleges will also look at your extracurricular activities and your recommendation letters. SAT scores are definitely not more important than your grades, so do not focus on SAT coaching only. Your needed SAT scores will depend on your choice of college. There are a lot of colleges and SAT scores will vary as well as their acceptance rates.

What is the information on colleges and SAT percentiles?

There are a few schools that students usually target when trying to get a college admission. We have compiled a list with the 25th and the 75th percentiles for the relevant schools as well as their acceptance rate. This chart will help you further in deciding your targets.

Name of the University 25th percentile 75th percentile Rate of acceptance
Stanford University 1380 1580 5%
Harvard University 1430 1600 5%
University of Pennsylvania 1380 1570 9%
Rice University 1410 1570 15%
MIT 1460 1590 8%
Columbia University 1410 1590 7%
Duke University 1380 1570 11%
for college admissions

Check it again?

Many students want to get their SAT scores checked again. The College Board follows a great process to ensure that the scores are correct, but if you are not convinced and you want to double-check, there is a way. You will have to access the score verification service, that will make you fill out an SAT score verification form. There is also a fee related with this service. As per recent updates, the fee is $55.

Still not satisfied?

If you believe that these SAT scores do not reflect what you could have done, then the best option is to retake the test again. Even if your first attempt results in a low SAT score, that does not mean that you will never get into a good college. Make sure to take the SAT coaching seriously and apply again for a better future.

Some colleges only look at the highest score that a student has got from the SAT. So, if a student retakes the test and scores higher at that time, the college will only consider that greater score and not the previous one.

Retaking the test is not the only option. Some colleges have a policy where students can choose which scores to report on the application. Even if you did not do well, you can always choose not to report that specific score to increase your chances. But all schools do not have this rule. So be sure to check the college regulations.

Final comments

As mentioned before, your SAT scores and percentiles are not the only determinants of getting into an excellent school. So, do not neglect your grades because of your SAT preparation. Research shows that students with respectable grades and great SAT scores have a bright future in academics.

These percentile figures are there to help you plan better in SAT coaching but do not focus on these numbers too much. At the end of the day, the higher you can score the better for you. So, concentrate on your SAT preparation and strategies. If you can manage to do that, you can also surpass these averages and easily get into the college of your choice. Percentile scores are there to keep a track of your performance, so do not let these numbers overwhelm you. You should develop a target SAT scorekeeping your dream college in mind and study accordingly.


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