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Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

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Posted by Allen Cheng | Oct 24, 2021 12:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

 

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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?

Before we get into the SAT averages by state, let's quickly go over the SAT scoring system as well as what the overall average SAT score in the US currently is.

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.

By combining these two sections, we get a total SAT score range of 400-1600, with 1600 being a perfect score.

Now that we've got this down, let's take a look the national average SAT score. In 2021, the College Board reported the following average SAT scores:

  • Total: 1060
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): 533
  • Math: 528

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 (Over 75% Participation)
  • Lowest SAT Score
  • Most Variation Between SAT Sections

All data below comes from the College Board's 2021 SAT state reports.

 

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Highest Score: Minnesota (SAT Score: 1263)

Minnesota takes the cake for highest average SAT score with 1263. This is 203 points higher than the national average!

But wait—Minnesota also has lower test participation than most of the US at 2%. In other words, just 1,709 seniors who graduated in 2021 took the SAT. (Note that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, far fewer students took the SAT in all states this year. Minnesota typically has about 4% of its students take the test, which is still much lower than average.)

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 ...

 

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Highest Score With Over 20% Participation: Massachusetts (SAT Score: 1184, with 34% Participation)

Great achievement here! With more than 27,000 students in the class of 2021 taking the SAT here, Massachusetts is truly outperforming the national average. The state averaged an EBRW score of 591 and a Math score of 593, with an average total score of 1184.

 

Team Players (Over 75% Participation): Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Illinois

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were multiple states each year that had 100% participation for the SAT. They were typically states that required all high school students to take the SAT as part of normal high school testing. However, the pandemic made it difficult or impossible for many high schools to offer in-school SAT testing, plus with the large number of colleges making standardized tests optional during the pandemic, it wasn't as high a priority for high schools to offer the SAT. As a result, no state had 100% participation this year, but several had over three-quarters of the class of 2021 take the SAT. They were Delaware (96%), Washington DC (90%), Florida (81%), Idaho (90%), and Illinois (80%).

 

Lowest Score: Delaware (SAT Score: 984)

Unfortunately, Delaware underperforms the national average by more than 75 points. This is likely due to the high percentage of seniors who took the SAT in Delaware (96%). In other states where less than 5% of seniors took the SAT, it's likely only the most prepared students taking the SAT, thus bumping up the average. Other states with low average SAT scores were Idaho, New Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands. 

 

Most Variation Between Sections: West Virginia (520 EBRW, 487 Math) and Florida (513 EBRW, 480 Math)

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Both Florida and West Virginia had an average Math score that was 33 points lower than their average Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score.

There's an even greater discrepancy among students in the US Virgin Islands—students scored an average of 49 points higher on EBRW than on Math—but since there were only 478 students in the class of 2021 who took the SAT there, such variance is less surprising than in Florida and West Virginia, where far more students took the SAT.

 

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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!

State Participation Rate EBRW
Math Total
Alabama (3%) 591 568 1159
Alaska (23%) 567 553 1119
Arizona (11%) 592 589 1181
Arkansas (2%) 610 584 1194
California (24%) 527 530 1057
Colorado (56%) 544 528 1072
Connecticut (69%) 545 527 1072
Delaware (96%) 499 485 984
District of Columbia (90%) 500 487 987
Florida (81%) 513 480 993
Georgia (41%) 551 534 1086
Hawaii (26%) 572 572 1144
Idaho (90)% 502 483 985
Illinois (80%) 508 498 1007
Indiana (43%) 551 544 1095
Iowa (2%) 623 620 1243
Kansas (2%) 616 623 1219
Kentucky (4%) 609 603 1207
Louisiana (3%) 605 583 1188
Maine (29%) 558 541 1099
Maryland (47%) 542 531 1073
Massachusetts (34%) 591 593 1184
Michigan (68%) 523 508 1031
Minnesota (2%) 626 636 1263
Mississippi (1%) 612 589 1202
Missouri (2%) 614 606 1219
Montana (5%) 618 607 1225
Nebraska (2%) 625 620 1246
Nevada (4%) 596 598 1195
New Hampshire (71%) 540 526 1065
New Jersey (48%) 562 563 1125
New Mexico (30%) 508 488 996
New York (55%) 526 531 1057
North Carolina (23%) 578 571 1150
North Dakota (1%) 631 628 1258
Ohio (15%) 525 523 1048
Oklahoma (6%) 535 507 1042
Oregon (17%) 565 554 1119
Pennsylvania (39%) 566 557 1123
Puerto Rico not provided 511 483 994
Rhode Island (68%) 514 497 1011
South Carolina (48%) 529 507 1036
South Dakota (1%) 605 610 1215
Tennessee (4%) 618 602 1220
Texas (59%) 505 498 1003
Utah (1%) 621 617 1238
Vermont (41%) 571 553 1124
Virginia (41%) 584 567 1151
Virgin Islands, US not provided 484 435 920
Washington (27%) 537 535 1072
West Virginia (45%) 520 487 1007
Wisconsin (1%) 604 611 1215
Wyoming (2%) 626 607 1233

Source: The College Board

 

What's Next?

Confused about SAT scoring? Learn more about how the SAT is scored, and get tips on how to figure out your SAT goal score based on the schools you're applying to.

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. Read this to learn all of my best strategies—and to get a 1600 on test day!

If you liked this post, make sure you scroll up and subscribe on the right hand side so you can stay up-to-date with our SAT/ACT articles!

 

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:

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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. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform, or the Shortform blog.



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