# SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

You're probably curious about how you stack up against average SAT scores. But what is an average SAT score? There are lots of different ways to look at average SAT scores. How many types of averages are there, and which averages are important for you?

We'll discuss official results for all these questions—and more—and tell you which SAT average scores actually matters for your future.

So what is the average SAT score? That really depends on which group of people you're looking at. We'll look at national averages, averages by gender, by ethnicity, by family income, by high school type, and by state.

## National SAT Average Score

For the new 2016 SAT, the College Board calculated SAT score percentiles for two groups: all 11th and 12th grade students (Nationally Representative Sample Percentiles) and college-bound students who typically take the SAT for the last time as 11th- or 12th-graders (SAT User Percentiles).

For the Nationally Representative Sample, the national average SAT score was:

• Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 510
• Math: 510
• Total: 1020

For college-bound SAT users, the SAT national average score was:

• Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 543
• Math: 541
• Total: 1083

Therefore, if you score above a 1020 on the new SAT, you’re above the national average score on the SAT for all seniors. If you score above a 1080, you’re above the national average for college-bound seniors. Keep in mind that when applying to college, you'll be compared to other students who are also applying, meaning that second average (1083) is the more relevant one.

## Average SAT Scores by Gender

Interestingly, the College Board also calculated the average SAT score by gender. These averages are based on college-bound members of the Class of 2016 who took the old SAT, which had three sections and was scored out of 2400:

 Gender Reading Math Writing Total Male 495 524 475 1502 Female 493 494 487 1479

As you can see, males outperform females on math by 30 points, while females exceed males on Writing by 12 points.

According to a statistical significance test (t-test), the difference in math scores is considered extremely significant (in technical terms, the P value is less than 0.0001, meaning roughly that it is very unlikely this difference is due to chance).

The difference between genders in math test scores has been explored by academic researchers and has been a controversial topic. It should be a goal of the educational system to close this achievement gap between genders.

For reference purposes, I’ve also converted these averages (rounded to the nearest actual score option—so 493 would be rounded to 490) to new SAT scores (out of 1600) using official score conversion charts.

 Gender New Math Evidence-Based R+W New Total Male 550 540 1090 Female 520 550 1070

## Average SAT Scores by Ethnicity

When registering for the SAT, the College Board allows students the option to specify their ethnicity. Most students do share their ethnicity, and the College Board has reported the average SAT scores across ethnicity. Again, these are scores on the old version of the test:

 Ethnicity Number Taking Reading Math Writing Total American Indian or Alaska Native 7,778 468 471 447 1386 Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander 196,735 529 602 534 1665 Black or African American 199,306 430 425 415 1270 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 2,371 432 438 423 1293 Hispanic, Latino, or Latin American 355,829 448 453 436 1337 White 742,436 528 533 511 1572 Two or More Races, non-Hispanic 28,460 511 505 488 1504 Other 20,604 496 518 491 1505 No Response 84,070 451 501 452 1404 Total 1,637,589 494 508 482 1484

The implications of these results have been discussed extensively. The black-white test score gap has been researched extensively to try to find root causes. In the other direction, Asians show the highest SAT score averages, which has led some to question whether colleges discriminate against Asians.

As with gender, reducing achievement gaps between ethnicities is a critical priority for educators.

I’ve again converted these averages into new 2016 SAT scores for your reference:

 Ethnicity New Math Evidence-Based R+W New Total American Indian or Alaska Native 510 510 1020 Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander 620 590 1210 Black or African American 470 480 950 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 480 480 960 Hispanic, Latino, or Latin American 490 490 980 White 560 580 1140 Two or More Races, non-Hispanic 530 560 1090 Other 550 550 1100 No Response 530 500 1030 Total 540 550 1090

## Average SAT Score by Family Income

The College Board also allows students to report their family income. Most don’t, but there’s a definite trend among those who do. These averages are also based on old scores (out of 2400).

 Family Income Number Taking Reading Math Writing Total Less than \$20,000 124,290 435 453 426 1314 \$20,001-\$40,000 158,909 465 477 452 1394 \$40,001-\$60,000 132,182 488 495 471 1454 \$60,001-\$80,000 115,998 503 509 485 1497 \$80,001-\$100,000 119,593 517 527 501 1545 \$100,001-\$140,000 146,434 530 539 513 1582 \$140,001-\$200,000 98,275 542 553 528 1623 More than \$200,000 87,482 569 586 562 1717 No Response 659,426 482 501 473 1456

As you can see, there’s a strong trend with a higher average score on the SAT being associated with higher family income. This is a trend that’s been observed for some time. There are many reasons why those from higher-income families tend to score higher on the SAT—they are likely to attend better schools and have more resources to devote to preparation, to name a couple. This is another key equity issue facing educators. One of the stated reasons for the SAT redesign was to try to make test results less closely correlated with income, but it remains to be seen if the the College Board has been successful.

Here are the average scores by income converted to the new SAT score scale for your reference:

 Family Income Math (New) Evidence-Based R+W New Total Less than \$20,000 490 480 970 \$20,001-\$40,000 510 510 1020 \$40,001-\$60,000 530 540 1070 \$60,001-\$80,000 540 550 1090 \$80,001-\$100,000 560 570 1130 \$100,001-\$140,000 570 580 1150 \$140,001-\$200,000 570 590 1160 More than \$200,000 610 620 1230 No Response 530 560 1090

## Average SAT Score by School Type

Average SAT scores also differ by school type. These averages come from the old 2400-point SAT.

 School Type Reading Math Writing Total Public 487 494 472 1453 Religiously Affiliated 532 537 525 1594 Other Private 530 579 536 1645 Unknown 491 580 498 1569

As you can see, students at non-religious private schools have the highest averages, then religious private schools, and then public schools. This is unsurprising because private school attendance is typically expensive—certainly more expensive than public school! So this is correlated with income, which we already saw made a big difference in average SAT scores.

Educational achievement is an incredibly complex issue, with environmental, social, and economic factors all at play. Reducing achievement gaps by gender, ethnicity, and income is a priority for educators.

See below for the converted average scores for your reference:

 School Type Math (New) Evidence-Based R+W New Total Public 520 540 1060 Religiously Affiliated 560 590 1150 Other Private 560 590 1150 Unknown 520 550 1070

## Average SAT Score by State

Below, I’ve given the average SAT scores by state. These scores are for the old test, but I also provided a converted total score for the new SAT out of 1600 in the rightmost column.

 State Total Number of Test-Takers Reading Math Writing Total New 2016 SAT Converted Total Alabama 2,354 557 551 543 1651 1190 Alaska 4,161 485 479 460 1424 1040 Arizona 18,621 528 532 505 1565 1140 Arkansas 1,075 570 569 553 1692 1215 California 241,589 491 500 485 1476 1080 Colorado 5,545 587 589 571 1747 1250 Connecticut 35,902 500 500 497 1497 1095 Delaware 9,772 458 453 440 1351 995 District of Columbia 4,790 433 433 419 1285 955 Florida 122,294 481 475 462 1418 1040 Georgia 65,473 493 490 476 1459 1070 Hawaii 7,553 491 511 476 1478 1080 Idaho 17,950 465 453 446 1364 1010 Illinois 4,819 605 622 592 1819 1300 Indiana 44,333 496 499 477 1472 1075 Iowa 878 602 611 572 1785 1280 Kansas 1,272 592 604 571 1767 1265 Kentucky 1,528 604 599 586 1789 1280 Louisiana 1,632 584 577 571 1732 1240 Maine 11,833 486 485 472 1443 1065 Maryland 47,449 490 490 476 1456 1070 Massachusetts 60,300 517 530 506 1553 1125 Michigan 3,565 594 608 581 1783 1270 Minnesota 2,207 607 620 588 1815 1300 Mississippi 707 595 584 585 1764 1260 Missouri 2,024 605 608 589 1802 1285 Montana 1,141 565 557 539 1661 1195 Nebraska 604 590 595 573 1758 1260 Nevada 7,646 511 509 488 1508 1100 New Hampshire 10,416 527 531 510 1568 1140 New Jersey 84,954 495 514 492 1501 1095 New Mexico 1,842 553 545 525 1623 1170 New York 148,727 489 501 477 1467 1075 North Carolina 54,663 502 508 475 1485 1090 North Dakota 123 585 594 560 1739 1245 Ohio 14,829 556 563 534 1653 1190 Oklahoma 1,503 582 573 553 1708 1230 Oregon 16,703 525 520 500 1545 1125 Pennsylvania 92,569 500 506 481 1487 1090 Rhode Island 7,908 490 491 480 1461 1070 South Carolina 22,324 494 493 471 1458 1070 South Dakota 194 586 581 558 1725 1240 Tennessee 3,841 586 582 571 1739 1245 Texas 196,028 466 478 449 1393 1020 Utah 1,292 579 579 558 1716 1235 Vermont 4,374 520 520 501 1541 1120 Virginia 57,861 520 517 498 1535 1120 Virgin islands 643 428 400 415 1243 920 Washington 43,783 501 506 481 1488 1090 West Virginia 2,077 525 511 502 1538 1120 Wisconsin 1,634 605 618 588 1811 1290 Wyoming 131 603 600 587 1790 1280

There’s lots of variation in average SAT scores by state. This is due to a lot of factors, but one big one is whether or not the state requires all public school students to take the SAT. In those cases, the scores tend to be lower because even students who might not typically take the SAT (or prepare for it) have to take it in school. By contrast, in states where the SAT is not required, students who take the SAT will be taking it specifically to prepare college applications. So the subsample of students who take the SAT will be, in general, more prepared and get higher scores.

For more info on this topic, check out our complete guide to average SAT scores by state.

## What Average SAT Scores Really Matter for You?

While we've gone through a lot of interesting SAT data, most of it actually won’t be particularly relevant to your own interests and goals.

The truth is, what SAT score you need depends entirely on the schools that you're applying to. The averages that matter for you are the average SAT scores for colleges that you’re interested in. Let us help you figure out what makes a good SAT score for the schools you want to apply to!

## What's Next?

Not sure if you need to take the SAT? Here are 10 reasons to consider taking the test.

Want to know the average SAT scores from past years? Or maybe you want help predicting your own SAT score? Or perhaps you're wondering if there's a minimum SAT score for college.

If you need help preparing for the SAT, check out our total guide to studying for the test. We also have a one-month cramming plan. And check out some tips for balancing test prep with school!

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We have the industry's leading SAT prep program. Built by Harvard grads and SAT full scorers, the program learns your strengths and weaknesses through advanced statistics, then customizes your prep program to you so you get the most effective prep possible.

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Allen Cheng

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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