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Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

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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 at the national average SAT score. In 2023, the College Board reported the following average SAT scores:

  • Total: 1028
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW): 520
  • Math: 508

As you can see, the average scores for ERW 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 2022 SAT state reports.

 

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North Dakota might be known for the badlands...but they have good SAT scores. 

 

Highest Score: North Dakota (SAT Score: 1287)

Wisconsin takes the cake for highest average SAT score with 1287. This is 259 points higher than the national average!

But wait—North Dakota also has lower test participation than most of the US at 1%. In other words, just 83 seniors who graduated in 2023 took the SAT. 

Because more students in North Dakota take the ACT than they do the SAT, North Dakota'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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North Carolina is known as the birthplace of aviation...and also high SAT scores.  

 

Highest Score With Over 20% Participation: North Carolina (SAT Score: 1127, with 24% Participation)

Great achievement here! With 27,803 students in the class of 2023 taking the SAT here, North Carolina is truly outperforming the national average. The state averaged an ERW score of 570 and a Math score of 557, with an average total score of 1127.

 

Team Players (Over 75% Participation): 13 States

There are 13 states where over 75% of seniors took the SAT in 2023. They are:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington D.C.
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

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, with the large number of colleges making standardized tests optional during the pandemic and beyond, it wasn't as high a priority for high schools to offer the SAT. As a result, only Washington D.C. and Indiana had 100% participation this year.

 

Lowest Score: New Mexico (SAT Score: 901)

Unfortunately, New Mexico underperforms the national average by more than 125 points. This is likely due to the high percentage of seniors who took the SAT in New Mexico (94%). In other states where less than 5% of seniors took the SAT, it's likely only the most prepared students took the SAT, thus bumping up the average. Other states with low average SAT scores were West Virginia, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, and Oklahoma  (<975 composite score). The U.S. Virgin Islands, a U.S. territory, also have low SAT scores.

 

Most Variation Between Sections: West Virginia (551 EBRW, 503 Math) 

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West Virginia had an average Math score that was at least 33 points lower than their average Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) score.

There's also a discrepancy among students in the US Virgin Islands–students scored an average of 47 points higher on ERW than on Math. but since there were only 462 students in the class of 2023 who took the SAT there, such variance is less surprising than in West Virginia, where far more students took the SAT.

 

 

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
% of students taking the SAT
# of Test Takers
ERW
Math
Total
Alabama
3%
1,512
592
570
1161
Alaska
30%
2,453
553
529
1082
Arizona
11%
8,689
596
587
1183
Arkansas
2%
683
610
582
1192
California
25%
122,914
546
536
1083
Colorado
90%
57,293
508
488
996
Connecticut
93%
40,405
512
495
1007
Delaware
95%
10,368
489
469
958
District of Columbia
100%
4,987
495
474
969
Florida
90%
205,159
503
463
966
Georgia
53%
64,316
539
515
1054
Hawaii
30%
4,546
565
549
1114
Idaho
95%
21,813
494
476
970
Illinois
96%
142,769
492
478
970
Indiana
100%
78,001
489
482
971
Iowa
2%
817
610
598
1208
Kansas
2%
683
626
619
1245
Kentucky
2%
962
616
592
1208
Louisiana
3%
1,278
611
583
1194
Maine
38%
5,649
551
529
1080
Maryland
71%
51,825
515
493
1008
Massachusetts
57%
44,441
560
551
1112
Michigan
97%
102,466
493
474
967
Minnesota
3%
2,159
601
599
1201
Mississippi
1%
398
601
583
1184
Missouri
3%
2,100
603
588
1191
Montana
5%
477
607
586
1193
Nebraska
1%
331
631
621
1252
Nevada
6%
2,047
591
576
1166
New Hampshire
82%
12,390
526
508
1035
New Jersey
64%
73,353
538
528
1066
New Mexico
94%
20,068
458
444
901
New York
62%
128,296
522
516
1039
North Carolina
24%
27,803
570
557
1127
North Dakota
1%
83
652
634
1287
Ohio
18%
23,823
525
519
1044
Oklahoma
18%
8,158
486
468
953
Oregon
24%
10,020
574
551
1125
Pennsylvania
48%
69,075
547
531
1078
Puerto Rico
not provided
3,232
510
465
974
Rhode Island
95%
10,745
489
468
958
South Carolina
50%
27,195
527
501
1028
South Dakota
1%
150
605
602
1208
Tennessee
4%
3,207
606
585
1191
Texas
71%
278,151
497
481
978
Utah
2%
828
621
618
1239
Vermont
45%
2,958
563
536
1099
Virginia
49%
47,211
569
544
1113
Virgin Islands, US
not provided
462
488
441
929
Washington
37%
28,078
549
532
1081
West Virginia
90%
16,154
478
445
923
Wisconsin
2%
1,340
615
621
1236
Wyoming
2%
85
604
596
1200

Source: The College Board

 

What's Next?

How will scores change on the Digital SAT? Our breakdown of the new digital SAT test format will teach you everything you need to know.

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!

 

 

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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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