# SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

If you took the new SAT in between 2016 and 2022, you might be wondering what percentile your score is in. Is a 700 on Math in 2016 the same as a 700 in Math in 2022? How much do percentile scores change from year to year?

In this article, I'll explain what new SAT percentile scores are and how they've changed over time. I'll also provide percentiles for SAT combined and section scores for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

## What Are SAT Percentile Scores?

Your SAT percentile score tells you how well you did compared to other students who took the SAT. If you scored in the 97th percentile, then you scored higher than 97% of the people who took the test. If you scored in the 50th percentile, you did better than 50% of the people who took the test.

Every year, the College Board determines that year's SAT percentile scores based on how college-bound high school seniors that year scored on the SAT. The higher the percentile your SAT score is in, the better you scored compared to other high school seniors.

### Special Note: Nationally Representative Sample Percentiles vs. SAT User Percentiles

On your score report, you'll see information about two different kinds of percentiles: Nationally Representative Sample Percentiles and SAT User Percentiles. For this article, when we talk about percentiles we'll be exclusively referring to SAT User Percentiles, which are based on only actual SAT scores of students in the classes of 2016-2022 who took the new SAT. Read this article to find out more about the differences between the two percentile types on your SAT score report.

## Do Percentile Scores Change?

In the past, SAT scores stayed pretty much at the same percentile, year over year. For instance, on the old SAT, a score of 1880 was in the 87th percentile for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

That SAT percentile scores haven't changed much over time is intentional—the whole idea behind the SAT scoring system is that colleges can know that a student who got a 1880 SAT score in 2010 performed about the same as a student who got a 1880 SAT score in 2006 or 2015. If an 1880 was in the 80th percentile in 2010 and the 95th percentile in 2015, the scores would be meaningless for comparison purposes on their own.

Because the SAT in its current format has only been administered for a few years, however, new SAT scores aren't quite as tied to specific percentiles. As an example, a 1230 new SAT score was in the 77th percentile in 2016, 80th percentile in 2017, 79th percentile in 2018, and 78th percentile in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

The biggest changes in percentiles on the new SAT happened for students who scored between 860 and 1200, with the same score differing by as many as 10 percentile points between 2016 and 2023 (for instance, a 950 was in the 35th percentile in 2016 and 34th percentile in 2022).

As the new SAT is administered to more students over more years, these differences will no doubt shrink, making it easier to compare the same scores. For now, though, if you're scoring in the 860-1200 range, you can expect the percentile of your score to shift by up to 10 percentile points compared to past years.

## How Should You Use This Info and Why Does It Matter?

Because the same SAT scores have had such varying percentiles in the last couple of years, your percentile score is the easiest way to figure out how well you did on the SAT. If you scored higher than 50 percent of test-takers, then you're above average; if you scored higher than 75 percent of test-takers, then you did very well indeed.

When you apply to college, however, you're not being compared to all students who took the SAT, but to all students who took the SAT and are applying to that school. To help students figure out how they stack up against past successful applicants, colleges usually publicly post 25th and 75th percentile scores of admitted students. If you want to be a competitive candidate for a school, your target SAT score should be around or above a school's 75th percentile score.

On a section level, percentiles can help you put your scores in context. It might seem like you're doing about equally well on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math if you get a 690 on ERW and a 640 on Math. However, a 690 ERW score is in the 92nd percentile, while a 640 Math score is in the 83rd percentile. Raising each section score by 100 points would raise your Math percentile ranking by 11 points and your ERW percentile ranking by only seven points. If you're thinking about retaking the SAT and trying to figure out where you should focus your studying efforts, your percentile scores can help identify how you can improve the most.

Finally, percentile scores also tell us that a small increase in your composite score can have a large impact on your percentile score, particularly if you're scoring around or even a little below the middle of the pack. For instance, in 2022 an SAT score of 1050 was at the 51st percentile, but a score of 1210 was at the 76th. Increasing your score by just 160 points can take your score from average to the top quarter of all SAT scores.

## Composite Score Percentiles, 2016-2022

 SAT Composite Score 2022 Percentile 2021 Percentile 2020 Percentile 2019 Percentile 2018 Percentile 2017 Percentile 2016 Percentile 1600 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 1590 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 1580 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 1570 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 1560 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 1550 99 99 99 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 1540 99 99 99 99 99 99+ 99 1530 99 99 99 99 99 99+ 99 1520 98 99 99 99 99 99 99 1510 98 98 98 99 99 99 99 1500 98 98 98 98 99 99 98 1490 97 98 98 98 98 99 98 1480 97 97 97 98 98 99 98 1470 97 97 97 97 98 98 98 1460 96 96 97 97 97 98 97 1450 96 96 96 96 97 98 97 1440 95 95 96 96 96 97 96 1430 95 95 95 96 96 97 96 1420 94 94 95 95 95 96 95 1410 94 94 94 95 95 96 95 1400 93 93 94 94 94 95 94 1390 92 93 93 93 94 95 94 1380 92 92 92 93 93 94 93 1370 91 91 92 92 92 94 92 1360 90 91 91 91 92 93 91 1350 90 90 90 91 91 92 91 1340 89 89 89 90 90 91 90 1330 89 88 89 89 89 90 89 1320 87 87 88 88 88 90 88 1310 87 87 87 87 88 89 87 1300 86 86 86 86 87 88 86 1290 85 85 85 85 86 87 85 1280 84 84 84 84 84 86 83 1270 83 83 83 83 83 85 82 1260 82 82 82 82 82 83 81 1250 81 81 81 81 81 82 80 1240 80 79 80 80 80 81 78 1230 78 78 78 78 79 80 77 1220 77 77 77 77 77 78 76 1210 76 76 76 76 76 77 74 1200 75 74 74 74 74 76 72 1190 73 73 73 73 73 74 71 1180 72 72 72 72 72 73 69 1170 71 70 70 70 70 71 67 1160 69 69 69 68 68 69 65 1150 68 67 67 67 67 68 64 1140 66 66 66 65 65 66 62 1130 65 64 64 64 63 64 60 1120 63 63 62 62 62 63 58 1110 61 61 61 60 60 61 57 1100 60 59 59 58 58 59 55 1090 58 58 57 57 56 57 52 1080 57 56 55 55 54 55 50 1070 55 54 54 53 52 53 48 1060 53 52 52 51 51 51 46 1050 51 51 50 49 49 49 44 1040 50 49 48 47 47 47 42 1030 48 47 46 46 45 45 40 1020 46 45 45 44 43 43 38 1010 45 44 43 42 41 41 36 1000 43 42 41 40 39 40 34 990 41 40 39 38 37 38 32 980 40 39 38 36 36 36 30 970 38 37 36 35 34 34 29 960 36 35 34 33 32 32 27 950 35 34 33 31 31 31 25 940 33 32 31 30 29 29 24 930 32 30 29 28 27 27 22 920 30 29 28 27 26 26 20 910 28 27 26 25 24 24 19 900 27 26 25 23 23 22 18 890 25 24 23 22 21 21 16 880 24 23 22 20 20 19 15 870 22 21 20 19 18 18 14 860 21 20 19 18 17 17 13 850 19 19 18 16 15 15 12 840 18 17 16 15 14 14 11 830 17 16 15 14 13 13 10 820 15 15 14 13 12 12 9 810 14 13 12 11 11 11 8 800 13 12 11 10 10 9 7 790 11 11 10 9 9 8 7 780 10 10 9 8 8 8 6 770 9 9 8 7 7 7 5 760 8 8 7 6 6 6 4 750 7 7 6 5 5 5 4 740 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 730 5 5 5 4 4 4 3 720 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 710 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 700 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 690 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 680 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 670 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 660 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 650 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 640 1 1 1 1 1 1 1- 630 1 1 1 1- 1- 1- 1- 620 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 610 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 600 and below 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1-

Sources: SAT Understanding Scores 2016, SAT Understanding Scores 2017, SAT Understanding Scores 2018, SAT Understanding Scores 2019, SAT Understanding Scores 2020. SAT Understanding Scores 2021, SAT Understanding Scores 2022

## Section Score Percentiles

 Score 2022 Percentile 2021 Percentile 2020 Percentile 2019 Percentile 2018 Percentile 2017 Percentile 2016 Percentile 800 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 790 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 780 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 770 99 99 99 99 99+ 99+ 99 760 99 99 99 99 99 99 99 750 98 98 98 99 99 99 99 740 97 98 98 98 98 98 98 730 97 97 97 97 97 98 97 720 96 96 96 96 97 97 96 710 95 95 95 95 96 96 95 700 93 94 94 94 94 95 94 690 92 92 93 93 93 94 92 680 91 91 91 91 92 92 91 670 89 89 90 90 90 91 89 660 87 87 88 88 88 89 86 650 85 85 86 86 86 87 84 640 83 83 83 83 84 85 81 630 81 81 81 81 81 82 78 620 78 78 78 78 78 79 75 610 76 76 76 75 75 77 72 600 73 73 73 73 72 73 69 590 70 70 70 69 69 70 66 580 67 67 67 66 66 67 63 570 64 64 64 63 63 64 60 560 61 61 60 60 59 60 56 550 58 58 57 56 56 57 52 540 55 54 54 53 52 53 49 530 52 51 50 50 49 49 45 520 49 48 47 46 45 46 42 510 45 45 44 43 42 42 38 500 42 41 40 39 38 39 35 490 39 38 37 36 35 35 31 480 35 35 34 32 31 32 28 470 32 31 30 29 28 28 25 460 29 28 27 26 25 25 22 450 26 25 24 23 22 22 20 440 23 22 21 20 19 19 17 430 20 19 18 17 16 16 15 420 17 16 15 14 14 14 13 410 14 14 13 12 11 12 11 400 12 11 11 10 9 10 9 390 9 9 9 8 8 8 7 380 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 370 6 5 5 5 4 5 5 360 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 350 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 340 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 330 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 320 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 310 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 300 1 1- 1- 1- 1- 1 1- 290 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 280 and below 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1-

Sources: SAT Understanding Scores 2016, SAT Understanding Scores 2017, SAT Understanding Scores 2018, SAT Understanding Scores 2019, SAT Understanding Scores 2020. SAT Underestanding Scores 2021, SAT Understanding Score 2022

### Math

 Score 2022 Percentile 2021 Percentile 2020 Percentile 2019 Percentile 2018 Percentile 2017 Percentile 2016 Percentile 800 99 99 99 99+ 99+ 99+ 99+ 790 99 98 99 99 99 99 99 780 98 98 98 98 98 99 98 770 97 97 97 97 98 99 98 760 96 96 96 97 97 98 98 750 95 95 96 95 96 97 97 740 94 95 95 95 96 97 96 730 94 94 94 94 95 96 95 720 93 93 93 94 94 95 95 710 92 92 92 93 93 94 94 700 91 91 91 92 92 94 92 690 90 90 90 91 91 92 91 680 89 88 89 89 89 91 89 670 87 87 87 87 88 89 88 660 86 85 86 86 86 88 87 650 84 84 84 84 85 86 86 640 83 82 82 83 83 84 83 630 81 81 81 81 81 82 81 620 79 79 79 79 79 81 79 610 77 77 77 77 77 78 76 600 75 75 75 75 75 76 73 590 72 72 72 72 72 73 70 580 70 69 69 69 69 70 67 570 67 66 66 66 66 67 64 560 64 64 64 64 64 65 60 550 62 61 61 61 61 61 57 540 58 58 58 57 57 58 53 530 55 54 54 53 53 54 49 520 51 50 50 49 49 49 45 510 47 46 46 45 44 45 40 500 44 43 42 41 40 40 34 490 41 40 39 38 37 37 30 480 38 37 36 35 34 34 27 470 35 34 33 32 31 32 24 460 32 31 30 29 28 29 21 450 30 28 27 26 25 25 18 440 27 25 24 23 22 22 16 430 24 23 22 20 20 20 14 420 22 20 19 18 17 17 12 410 19 18 17 15 15 14 10 400 16 16 15 13 13 12 8 390 14 13 12 11 11 10 7 380 12 11 10 9 9 8 5 370 9 9 8 7 7 7 4 360 7 7 7 6 6 5 3 350 6 5 5 4 4 4 3 340 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 330 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 320 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 310 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 300 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 290 1 1 1 1 1 1- 1- 280 1 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 270 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 260 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 250 and below 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1- 1-

Sources: SAT Understanding Scores 2016, SAT Understanding Scores 2017, SAT Understanding Scores 2018, SAT Understanding Scores 2019, SAT Understanding Scores 2020. SAT Understanding Scores 2021, SAT Understanding Scores 2022

## What's Next?

How do you compare to other students in your state? Find out with our regularly updated list of average SAT scores by state.

Where does your SAT essay score fit into all this? Learn more about SAT essay scoring and what the average SAT essay score is here.

Would you be able to score in a higher percentile on the ACT? We help you figure out if the ACT or SAT is a better test for you with this foolproof method.

Laura Staffaroni