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Smart Famous People and Their SAT Scores



If you're taking the SAT, you're definitely not alone! While colleges use SAT scores as an indicator of smarts and aptitude for college, smart people do not always perform well on the SAT test. In this article, I'll share the SAT scores of some reputedly smart people, former and current Presidents, CEOs, authors, etc. Hopefully, their scores will make you feel proud of your own!


SAT Scores of Smart People

At PrepScholar, we've gathered a complete list of smart people’s SAT scores. We found their scores in past interviews or through investigative research. You will see their scores are widespread:

Smart Person

Known For

SAT Score (out of 1600)

Alma Mater

Paul Allen

Co-founder of Microsoft


Washington State University

Bill Gates

Co-founder of Microsoft



Ben Bernanke

Economist / Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve



Bill O'Reilly

Political Commentator


Marist College

Rush Limbaugh

Political Commentator


Southeast Missouri State University

Scott McNealy

Businessman / Co-founder of Sun Microsystems



Al Gore

45th Vice President of the United States, under President Bill Clinton



Meredith Vieira

Television Host


Tufts University

Stephen King



University of Maine

George W. Bush

43rd President of the United States



John Kerry

Current Secretary of State



Amy Tan



Linfield College, San José State University

Bill Clinton

42nd President of the United States



Al Franken

US Senator / Former SNL Comedian



Howard Stern

Radio and TV Personality


Boston University


All of these people took the SAT, but others took the ACT, and we converted their ACT scores to the SAT scale:

Smart Person

Known For

ACT Score

SAT Conversion (out of 1600)

Alma Mater

Sonia Sotomayor

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court




Steve Jobs

Co-founder of Apple



Reed College

Barack Obama

44th and current President of the United States



Columbia University

Lyndon B. Johnson

36th President of the United States



Texas State University

William Faulkner




University of Mississippi


Obviously, you don't need to score well on the SAT to succeed in life or to be considered "smart." However, if you score well on the SAT, you'll have the opportunity to attend better colleges and will be afforded more post-collegiate job opportunities. Even though the SAT may not be an indicator of smarts or success, you should still try to get the highest score possible.



Be as cool as this guy! (and hopefully as rich)


How Can You Improve Your Own SAT Score?

Study the Test Format

Make sure you know the test format cold. Be aware that there are changes coming to the SAT, the new SAT will start in the spring of 2016. To learn the test, check out our other free resources: how long is the SAT, how is the SAT scored, and how to get a perfect SAT score from a full 2400 scorer.


Practice Practice Practice

You should be practicing timed SAT tests and reviewing all of the answers you got wrong. Check out all of the free SAT tests available in our other article.


Consider Using a Paid Resource to Help You Prep

If you enjoy our free articles, you would love our PrepScholar SAT prep program, and you can try it free for 5 days. We do the heavy lifting for you, by splitting up our prep material into specific skills. We'll detect your weaknesses automatically and give you focused lessons and quizzes to improve those skills. For more paid study resources, check out our recommended SAT prep books.


What’s Next?

Trying to raise your SAT score? Check out our ultimate study guide.

Not sure where you want to go to college? Check out our guide to finding your target school.

Thinking about getting a job while in high school? Check out our guide to the 8 best jobs for teens and learn how to find yours!

Trying to figure out what extracurricular you should do? Learn more about participating in Science Olympiad, starting a club, doing volunteer work, and joining Student Government.


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:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points


Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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