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What's the Highest Possible SAT Score?

Posted by Halle Edwards | Mar 4, 2017 11:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

 

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Curious about what perfection looks like on the SAT, or about how many people get perfect scores every year? In this post, we will show you what the highest possible score on the SAT is and how many raw points you need to rack up in each section to earn that score.

We will also include tips and links to other more detailed articles for those aiming for that rare – but not impossible! – maximum SAT score.

 

What Is a Perfect SAT Score?

The highest possible score you can earn on the redesigned SAT is 1600 points. (This is different than the old SAT, which was scored out of 2400 points. Take note!)

To get this score, you have to get a perfect 800 on each of the SAT’s two sections, Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math, which will then be totaled to a composite score of 1600. (Note that the SAT essay is now optional, so even if you take it, your essay score is not factored into your final composite score. So you could technically get a very low essay score but still net a perfect 1600!)

A perfect score is incredibly rare. Out of 1.7 million college-bound test-takers in 2015, just 504 earned the top score. That is less than 0.03% of SAT scores! (This data is taken from the old SAT. We won’t have data on perfect scores on the redesigned SAT for a few months after the test is first administered.)

If you want to beat the incredible odds and go for a 1600, read on for the raw scores you will need for each section on the SAT, and tips for how to get those scores.

For help translating raw scores (the total number of questions correct on a section) to scaled scores (the final score between 200 and 800), here are two score charts with raw score to scaled score conversions. They come from two of the new SAT practice exams that College Board has made available for free

Raw Score (Number of Questions Correct) Math Section Scaled Score Reading Test Score Writing and Language Score
0 200 10 10
1 200 10 10
2 210 10 10
3 230 11 10
4 240 12 11
5 260 13 12
6 280 14 13
7 290 15 14
8 310 15 15
9 320 16 15
10 330 17 16
11 340 17 17
12 360 18 17
13 370 19 18
14 380 19 19
15 390 20 19
16 410 20 20
17 420 21 21
18 430 21 21
19 440 22 22
20 450 22 23
21 460 23 23
22 470 23 24
23 480 24 25
24 480 24 25
25 490 25 26
26 500 25 26
27 510 26 27
28 520 26 28
29 520 27 28
30 530 28 29
31 540 28 30
32 550 29 30
33 560 29 31
34 560 30 32
35 570 30 32
36 580 31 33
37 590 31 34
38 600 32 34
39 600 32 35
40 610 33 36
41 620 33 37
42 630 34 38
43 640 35 39
44 650 35 40
45 660 36  
46 670 37  
47 670 37  
48 680 38  
49 690 38  
50 700 39  
51 710 40  
52 730 40  
53 740    
54 750    
55 760    
56 780    
57 790    
58 800    

 Via Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #1.

 

Raw Score (Number of Questions Correct) Math Section Scaled Score Reading Test Score Writing and Language Score
0 200 10 10
1 200 10 10
2 210 10 10
3 230 11 10
4 250 12 11
5 270 13 12
6 280 14 13
7 300 15 14
8 320 16 15
9 340 16 16
10 350 17 16
11 360 18 17
12 370 18 18
13 390 19 19
14 410 20 19
15 420 20 20
16 430 21 21
17 450 21 22
18 460 22 23
19 470 22 23
20 480 23 24
21 490 23 24
22 500 23 25
23 510 24 26
24 520 24 26
25 530 25 27
26 540 25 27
27 550 26 28
28 560 26 28
29 570 27 29
30 580 27 30
31 590 28 31
32 600 28 31
33 600 28 32
34 610 29 32
35 620 29 33
36 630 30 33
37 640 30 34
38 650 31 35
39 660 31 36
40 670 32 37
41 680 32 37
42 690 33 38
43 700 33 39
44 710 34 40
45 710 35  
46 720 35  
47 730 36  
48 730 37  
49 740 38  
50 750 39  
51 750 39  
52 760 40  
53 770    
54 780    
55 790    
56 790    
57 800    
58 800    

 Via Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #4.

 

As you examine the charts, you’ll probably notice that there are slight differences in how raw scores translate to scaled scores. For example, a Math raw score of 57 would get you a 790 on the first exam but a perfect 800 on the second exam.

The reason for this is that each SAT exam is equated so that, even with slight differences in exam difficulty, SAT scores are reliable across different exam dates. For example, a 1400 on a March SAT represents the same skill level as a 1400 on a May SAT, even if the May SAT was more difficult. Read our SAT scoring article for a full explanation of equating.

College Board releases a chart with raw score to scaled score ranges each year. However, we don’t have one yet for the Redesigned SAT since it hasn’t been administered for long enough yet for the data to be available. As soon as we do, we’ll update the post! So until we have the raw score to scaled score ranges chart, we will use these individual exam charts released by College Board. We’ll take into account the differences in raw score to scaled score translations as we find the raw scores you need for a perfect score!

 

Maximum SAT Score on Math

According to the charts above, to get an 800 on the Math section of the SAT, you have to get all 58 questions right for a perfect raw score of 800. Occasionally, a 57 might cut it, but this won’t be the same for all tests, so assume you need a perfect 58.

This means when you study, you are aiming for perfection. Figure out which types of questions you tend to miss. Maybe you struggle with a certain math topic, like slope or probability. Or perhaps you tend to struggle on the grid-in questions where you have to provide the answer.

In any case, find out what your mistakes are, and practice relentlessly. For more on preparing for a perfect SAT Math score, check out our post on getting an 800 by our resident perfect scorer.


 

Perfect Score on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

To get an 800 on EBRW, you can miss at most one of the Reading questions, but you need to get all 44 writing questions correct.

Keep in mind that the scoring process on EBRW is a bit more complicated than math. Reading is half of your score, and writing is half of your score. Each score is scaled to a score of between 10 and 40. You need to get a perfect 40 on each section for a combined total of 80, which translates to a final composite of 800.

We recommend aiming for a perfect raw score of 52 on reading and 44 on writing to get that perfect 800. Why? Depending on which date you take the SAT, raw scores can be adjusted to scaled scores differently, due to equating. (Again, for more in-depth information on this process, check out our SAT scoring article.) This means a 51 on Reading on one version of the SAT could net you an 800, but on another test, it won’t cut it.

This means, just like for the Math section, go for perfection in your practice. For the Reading section, which has you tackle long passages, develop a strategy for how you will approach the passages. This could be skimming the passage first and then answering the questions, or it could be looking at the questions first and then finding the answers in the passage. (Read more here on preparing for the SAT Reading section.) Once you've decided on the strategy that works best for you, practice until you can work quickly, efficiently, and without making careless mistakes.

For the Writing section, which also contains long passages but moves especially quickly (you get just 47 seconds per question), you also need to experiment with different strategies. Some students might do better by reading the entire passage first and then tackling the questions, which have you correct grammar and usage errors. But other students might do better answering the questions as they get to them. Try both strategies and see what works for you.

If you struggle with grammar, make sure to read up on the grammar rules tested on the SAT. You’ll need to have a solid understanding of those rules to tackle the Writing questions quickly and accurately!



The Bottom Line

Although the perfect 1600 is incredibly rare, with studying that is driven by your personal strengths and weaknesses, it is not impossible. Be sure to check out some of our other posts for more in-depth tips and strategies for studying for a perfect SAT score.

 

What's Next?

Want to score a perfect score yourself? Read our in-depth guide on what it takes to get a perfect SAT score, written by a SAT perfect scorer.

So you know that the Redesigned SAT has 1600 possible points, instead of 2400, but what else is different about the test? Read a complete guide to the New SAT.

How long should you study for the SAT? Find out here.
 

You don't need a 1600 to be competitive for the top schools, but you do need a very high score. 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.

Check out our 5-day free trial today:

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Halle Edwards
About the Author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.



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