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Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jan 21, 2017 2:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

 

feature_usaOver a million students across the country take the SAT every year. Are you curious what the SAT scores by state look like? How do you stack up against your state? How about interesting state facts, like which state has the highest SAT score? Lowest SAT score? Highest participation? 

It's the battle of the states, SAT edition. Find out your state's average SAT scores and other fun facts in this post!

Note: Even though the SAT is changed in March 2016 to the 1600 scale, we're still going to be using the Old SAT's 2400 scale and participation data from 2015 for this article. Because the redesigned SAT is so new, we don't yet have statistics available for each state yet, but we expect the overall trends to stay the same.

For comparison, here's the national average SAT score: 494 Reading / 508 Math / 482 Writing = 1484 Total.

Let's first point out some interesting trends and notable top spots held by different states.

 

State SAT Awards

Highest Score: Illinois (SAT Score: 1819)

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Illinois takes the cake for highest average SAT score with 1819. This is 335 points above the national average!

But wait - Illinois also has lower test participation than 80% of the US at 4%. Only 5,728 seniors take the test every year!

Because Illinois requires all high school students to take the ACT, what this likely means is that only the most prepared, ambitious high schoolers take the SAT. They also tend to score higher.

So let's look instead at states with a significant participation rate, which we take to mean over 20% of students take the SAT. The winner is:

 

Highest Score With Over 20% Participation: New Hampshire (SAT Score: 1568, with 70% Participation)

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Great achievement here! With this high of a participation rate, New Hampshire's students are truly outperforming the national average.

 

Team Players (100% Participation): Shared by District of Columbia, Delaware, and Idaho

In all 3 of these states, every student took the SAT. This usually means that the states require all high school students to take the test as part of normal high school testing. 

The highest participation for non-mandatory testing goes to Maine, at 96%.

 

Lowest Score: District of Columbia (SAT Score: 1285)

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Unfortunately DC underperforms the national average by nearly 200 points. Also ranking at the bottom are its Team Players co-awardees, Delaware and Idaho. This implies that state-wide testing causes lower scores because it includes all seniors, not just those planning to apply to college.

The lowest non-mandatory score goes to Texas at 1393. While Texas has is only in the top 1/3 of the country as far as participation goes (64% participation rate), it's important to point out that this is still a huge number of students, because the population of Texas is so large. 193,768 students took the SAT in Texas, vs. many fewer in states with comparable participation rates like North Carolina (63% participation rate, 58,022 students) and South Carolina (65% participation rate, 26,336 students). So even though only 64% of students took the SAT, there's still plenty of room for variation within those nearly 200K students' scores.

 

Most Variation between Sections: North Carolina (502 Reading, 508 Math, 475 Writing)

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With a participation rate of 63%, North Carolina has the highest standard deviation across section scores, of all states with greater than 20% participation. North Carolinian students show a Writing score that's 30 points lower than the other sections!

 

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List of All State SAT Scores

Here are average SAT scores by state, for all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. Find your state below and see how you compare!

(We've also estimated the score on the New SAT's 1600 scale).

State Participation Reading Math Writing Total New SAT
Alabama 6% 557 551 543 1651 1190
Alaska 52% 485 479 460 1424 1040
Arizona 34% 528 532 505 1565 1140
Arkansas 4% 570 569 553 1692 1210
California 60% 491 500 485 1476 1080
Colorado 12% 587 589 571 1747 1250
Connecticut 89% 500 500 497 1497 1090
Delaware 100% 458 453 440 1351 1000
District of Columbia 100% 433 433 419 1285 950
Florida 74% 481 475 462 1418 1040
Georgia 77% 493 490 476 1459 1070
Hawaii 61% 491 511 476 1478 1080
Idaho 100% 465 453 446 1364 1000
Illinois 4% 605 622 592 1819 1300
Indiana 71% 496 499 477 1472 1070
Iowa 3% 602 611 572 1785 1280
Kansas 5% 594 604 571 1769 1270
Kentucky 4% 604 599 586 1789 1280
Louisiana 5% 584 577 571 1732 1240
Maine 96% 486 485 472 1443 1050
Maryland 79% 490 490 476 1456 1070
Massachusetts 86% 517 530 506 1553 1120
Michigan 4% 594 608 581 1783 1270
Minnesota 5% 607 620 588 1815 1300
Mississippi 3% 595 584 585 1764 1260
Missouri 4% 605 608 589 1802 1290
Montana 15% 565 557 539 1661 1200
Nebraska 4% 590 595 573 1758 1260
Nevada 50% 511 509 488 1508 1100
New Hampshire 70% 527 531 510 1568 1140
New Jersey 81% 495 514 492 1501 1090
New Mexico 12% 553 545 525 1623 1170
New York 75% 489 501 477 1467 1070
North Carolina 63% 502 508 475 1485 1090
North Dakota 2% 585 594 560 1739 1250
Ohio 14% 556 563 534 1653 1190
Oklahoma 4% 582 573 553 1708 1230
Oregon 47% 525 520 500 1545 1120
Pennsylvania 71% 500 506 481 1487 1090
Rhode Island 73% 490 491 480 1461 1070
South Carolina 65% 494 493 471 1458 1060
South Dakota 3% 586 581 558 1725 1240
Tennessee 7% 586 582 571 1739 1250
Texas 64% 466 478 449 1393 1020
Utah 5% 579 579 558 1716 1230
Vermont 61% 520 520 501 1541 1120
Virginia 72% 520 517 498 1535 1120
Washington 66% 501 506 481 1488 1090
West Virginia 15% 525 511 502 1538 1120
Wisconsin 4% 605 618 588 1811 1290
Wyoming 3% 603 600 587 1790 1280

Source: College Board

If you're curious how we calculated the New SAT estimated state score, we used the total old SAT score out of 2400 the College Board's concordance tables to find the equivalent New SAT score. This is also how colleges equate New SAT scores and Old SAT scores from applicants, and we expect the released state scores for next year (when only New SAT score data will be released) to be close to our estimates.

 

What's Next?

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Wondering what it takes to get a perfect SAT score? I scored a Perfect SAT Score and wrote a detailed guide about what it takes here.

 

Disappointed with your scores? Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

 

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Allen Cheng
About the Author

As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT.



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