More than a million students across the country take the SAT each year. So what do SAT scores by state look like? How do you stack up against other test takers in your state? Finally, what are some interesting state facts—for example, which state has the highest SAT score? The lowest SAT score? The highest rate of participation?
It's the battle of the states, SAT edition. Find out your state's average SAT scores and other fun facts in this article!
What Is the National Average SAT Score?
As you probably know, the SAT is made up of three sections: Reading, Writing and Language (also just called Writing), and Math. The Math section is scored on a scale of 200-800, while the Reading and Writing sections are combined to give you a final Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score on a scale of 200-800.
Now that we've got this down, let's take a look the national average SAT score. In 2018, the College Board reported the following average SAT scores:
- Total: 1068
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): 536
- Math: 531
As you can see, the average scores for EBRW and Math are quite close. These then add up to get a total SAT average score that's around the halfway point of the total score range (400-1600).
But what are the average SAT scores by state? Keep reading to learn some interesting trends and to see the notable top spots held by different states!
State SAT Awards
We'll start with the states that have won our "State SAT Awards." The categories for these are as follows:
- Highest SAT Score
- Highest SAT Score With Over 20% Participation
- Team Players (100% Participation)
- Lowest SAT Score
- Most Variation Between SAT Sections
All data below comes from the College Board's 2018 SAT state reports.
Highest Score: Minnesota (SAT Score: 1298)
Minnesota takes the cake for highest average SAT score with 1298. This is 230 points higher than the national average!
But wait—Minnesota also has lower test participation than 78% of the US at 4%. In other words, just 2,464 seniors took the test in 2018.
Because more students in Minnesota take the ACT than they do the SAT, Minnesota's high average SAT score likely means that only the most prepared, ambitious high schoolers take the SAT. These students tend to score higher, effectively raising the state's average.
But what if we look instead at states with a significant participation rate—that is, a state in which more than 20% of students take the SAT? The winner for that SAT award is ...
Highest Score With Over 20% Participation: Arizona (SAT Score: 1149, with 29% Participation)
Great achievement here! With more than 20,000 students in the class of 2018 taking the SAT here, Arizona is truly outperforming the national average.
Team Players (100% Participation): Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, and Michigan
In Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, and Michigan, every student took the SAT. This usually means that these states require all high school students to take the SAT as part of normal high school testing.
In addition, four other states—Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—as well as the District of Columbia offered the SAT statewide during the 2017-18 school year. But because the test wasn't mandatory for all students in these states for the entire school year, participation rates here are below 100%.
The highest participation rate for non-mandatory testing goes to Florida, at 97%.
Lowest Score: District of Columbia (SAT Score: 977)
Unfortunately, the District of Columbia underperforms the national average by more than 90 points. Also ranking at the bottom are other states with statewide SAT testing (Delaware and Idaho) as well as West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. From the data, it's reasonable to conclude that statewide testing causes lower scores because it includes all seniors and not just those planning to apply to college.
The lowest SAT score for a non-mandatory state is 1014 in Florida. While Florida is only in the top 18% of the country as far as participation goes (97% participation rate), it's important to point out that this is still a huge number of students, as the population of Florida is so large.
In 2018, 147,058 students took the SAT in Florida. This number is much higher than the number of test takers in other states with comparable SAT participation rates, such as Rhode Island (97% participation rate, 10,161 students) and New Hampshire (96% participation rate, 14,834 students).
So even though only 97% of students took the SAT in Florida, there's still plenty of room for variation within these nearly 150,000 students' scores.
Most Variation Between Sections: Florida (520 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, 497 Math)
With a participation rate of 97%, Florida also has the greatest difference between SAT section scores of all states. On average, Florida students score 29 points higher on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) than they do on Math.
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List of All Average State SAT Scores
Here are the most recent average SAT scores for all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Find your area below and see how your SAT score compares with your region's average!
|District of Columbia||92%||497||480||977|
Source: The College Board
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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. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform, or the Shortform blog.