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Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

Posted by Allen Cheng | Sep 25, 2017 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 2017, the College Board reported the following average SAT scores:

  • Total: 1060
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): 533
  • Math: 527

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 2017 SAT state reports.

 

Highest Score: Minnesota (SAT Score: 1295)

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Minnesota takes the cake for highest average SAT score with 1295. This is 235 points higher than the national average!

But wait—Minnesota also has lower test participation than 90% of the US at 3%. In other words, just 2,061 seniors took the test in 2017.

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: 1116, with 30% Participation)

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Great achievement here! With more than 20,000 students in the class of 2017 taking the SAT here, Arizona is truly outperforming the national average.

 

Team Players (100% Participation): Shared by Connecticut, Delaware, and Michigan

In Connecticut, Delaware, 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, six other states—Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—as well as the District of Columbia offered the SAT statewide during the 2016-17 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 83%.

 

Lowest Score: District of Columbia (SAT Score: 950)

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Unfortunately, the District of Columbia underperforms the national average by more than 100 points. Also ranking at the bottom are other states with statewide SAT testing, Delaware and Michigan. This implies 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 1017 in Florida. While Florida is only in the top 20% of the country as far as participation goes (83% 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 2017, 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 Massachusetts (76% participation rate, 56,024 students) and Washington, DC (90% participation rate, 4,801 students).

So even though only 83% 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)

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With a participation rate of 83%, Florida also has the greatest difference between SAT section scores of all states with greater than 20% participation. On average, Florida students score 23 points higher on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) than they do on Math.

 

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List of All State SAT Scores

Here are the most recent average SAT scores for all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. Find your state below and see how your SAT score compares with your state's average!

 

State Participation Rate EBRW
Math Total
Alabama 5% 593 572 1165
Alaska 38% 547 533 1080
Arizona 30% 563 553 1116
Arkansas 3% 614 594 1208
California 53% 531 524 1055
Colorado 11% 606 595 1201
Connecticut 100% 530 512 1041
Delaware 100% 503 492 996
District of Columbia 100% 482 468 950
Florida 83% 520 497 1017
Georgia 61% 535 515 1050
Hawaii 55% 544 541 1085
Idaho 93% 513 493 1005
Illinois 9% 559 556 1115
Indiana 63% 542 532 1074
Iowa 2% 641 635 1275
Kansas 4% 632 628 1260
Kentucky 4% 631 616 1247
Louisiana 4% 611 586 1198
Maine 95% 513 499 1012
Maryland 69% 536 524 1060
Massachusetts 76% 555 551 1107
Michigan 100% 509 495 1005
Minnesota 3% 644 651 1295
Mississippi 2% 634 607 1242
Missouri 3% 640 631 1271
Montana 10% 605 591 1196
Nebraska 3% 629 625 1253
Nevada 26% 563 553 1116
New Hampshire 96% 532 520 1052
New Jersey 70% 530 526 1056
New Mexico 11% 577 561 1138
New York 67% 528 523 1052
North Carolina 49% 546 535 1081
North Dakota 2% 635 621 1256
Ohio 12% 578 570 1149
Oklahoma 7% 530 517 1047
Oregon 43% 560 548 1108
Pennsylvania 65% 540 531 1071
Rhode Island 71% 539 524 1062
South Carolina 50% 543 521 1064
South Dakota 3% 612 603 1216
Tennessee 5% 623 604 1228
Texas 62% 513 507 1020
Utah 3% 624 614 1238
Vermont 60% 562 551 1114
Virginia 65% 561 541 1102
Washington 64% 541 534 1075
West Virginia 14% 558 528 1086
Wisconsin 3% 642 649 1291
Wyoming 3% 626 604 1230

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:

Enroll 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.



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