If you've taken the SAT, you're probably curious about how your score stacks up against the average SAT scores. There are lots of different ways to look at averages on the SAT. What is the average SAT score overall? How many types of average SAT scores are there? And which SAT score averages are important for you?

We'll answer all of these questions and more to tell you which SAT average scores actually matter for your future. We'll review the most recent data available, from 2023.

Feature image source: mcmurryjulie/Pixabay

So what is an average SAT score? That really depends on which group of people you're looking at. Below, we look at national averages as well as averages by gender, ethnicity, family income, high school type, and state.

## National SAT Average Score

According to the College Board's 2023 total group report, the national SAT average scores (for all 2023 high school graduates) are as follows:

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

As you can see, if you score higher than 1028 on the SAT, you'll be above the national average and will have scored better than most test takers. If you score less than 1028, however, you'll be below the national average and will have scored lower than most test takers.

## The Average SAT Scores by Gender

The College Board has also calculated the average SAT scores by gender. These averages are based on members of the class of 2023 who took the SAT.

There are two sections on the SAT: Math and Reading and Writing. (Before the SAT went digital, the Reading and Writing section was called Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)). Each section is out of 800 points and then combined for a total score out of 1600.

 Gender EBRW Math Total Female 523 500 1023 Male 517 515 1032 No Response 552 506 1058

As you can see, males outperform females on Math by 15 points, while females exceed males on EBRW by 6 points.

According to a statistical significance test (t-test), the differences in EBRW and Math scores here are considered extremely significant (in technical terms, the P value is less than 0.0001, meaning roughly that it is very unlikely these differences are due to chance).

The difference in math* test scores across genders has been explored by academic researchers and is a controversial topic. It should be a goal of the educational system to close this achievement gap between genders, and it’s only one of several factors regarding equity that we have to consider when asking what an average SAT score is.

*I looked for research to back up the differences between EBRW scores for male and female students but was unable to find anything both relevant and peer-reviewed from the last 15 years. We'll update this article with more information as and when it comes out.

## The Average SAT Scores by Ethnicity

When registering for the SAT, the College Board gives you the option to specify your ethnicity, with most students opting to share it. Here are the average SAT scores by ethnicity:

 Ethnicity # of Test Takers EBRW Math Total American Indian/Alaska Native 15,384 458 443 901 Asian 194,108 593 626 1219 Black/African American 225,954 466 441 908 Hispanic/Latino 462,186 482 461 943 Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 3,791 473 452 925 White 752,632 550 532 1082 Two or More Races 69,410 556 535 1091 No Response 190,277 478 477 955 Total 1,913,742 520 508 1028

Source: Total Group Report 2023

The implications of these results are important to consider. The black-white test score gap, for example, has been researched extensively to try to find the root causes of it. In the other direction, Asians have the highest SAT score averages, which has led some to question whether colleges discriminate against Asians. (Of course, the disparity in sizes of the different groups taking the SAT and socioeconomic inequality also play a key role in creating these differences.)

As with gender, reducing achievement gaps between ethnicities is a critical priority for educators.

## The Average SAT Score by Income and Fee Waiver Use

Historically, the SAT has had problems with students from lower-income households scoring lower on average than students from higher-income households. Here are the average SAT scores by family income and students who have and have never used a fee waiver to take the SAT:

 Median Family Income Number of test-takers ERW Math Total Lowest Quintile (\$0-\$53,263) 203,941 456 434 891 2nd Lowest Quintile (\$53,264-\$69,092) 227,256 482 460 942 Middle Quintile (\$69,093-\$86,073) 256,127 503 481 984 2nd Highest Quintile (\$86,074-\$113,340) 337,245 529 510 1039 Highest Quintile (>\$113,341) 504,985 580 569 1148 Unknown 384,188 502 510 1012

Source: Total Group Report 2023

 SAT Fee Waiver Number of test-takers ERW Math Total Used at any point 145,000 515 493 1008 Did not use 751,842 587 588 1175

Source: Total Group Report 2023

As you can see, a higher average score on the SAT is typically associated with students whose family is in the highest income quintile and who never used a fee waiver, which in turn is associated with higher family income. This is a trend that's been observed for some time.

There are many reasons why those from higher-income families tend to score higher on the SAT—they are likely to attend better schools and have more resources to devote to preparation, to name a couple. This is another key equity issue facing educators, and another factor we have to consider when asked what an average SAT score is.

One of the stated reasons for the 2016 SAT redesign was to try to make test results less correlated with income, but so far, at least, it's unclear how successful the College Board has been.

## The Average SAT Score by School Location

Under the old, pre-2016 SAT, annual score reporting provided average score data based on the type of school students attended: public, religiously affiliated, independent, and other or unknown. However, when the College Board launched the 2016 SAT redesign, they stopped including average score data based on school type. And with the new Digital SAT, they now provide average score data based on school location instead of school type.

Here’s how average SAT scores differed based on school location in 2023:

 School Location Number of test-takers ERW Math Total City 554,482 504 487 991 Suburb 765,085 526 509 1035 Town/Rural 383,715 508 488 996 Other or Unknown 210,460 564 593 1157

As you can see, students who didn’t report their location type earned the highest average scores, followed by students who live in the suburbs, those who live in rural areas, and finally students who live in cities.

Students living in suburbs often report higher family income and have access to more stable educational environments and opportunities than those living in rural and urban areas. Many rural students do not have consistent Internet access, which is another factor contributing to the average score differences based on school location. The College Board is aware of these differences in educational and technological access and is working to bridge the gap today.

Educational achievement is an incredibly complex issue, with environmental, social, and economic factors all at play. Reducing achievement gaps by gender, ethnicity, income, and location is a big priority for educators.

## The Average SAT Score by State

Below, I've given the 2022-2023 average SAT scores for the class of 2023 by state (as well as for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC).

 State % of students taking the SAT # of Test Takers EBRW 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

There's a lot of variation in average SAT scores by state. This is due to a lot of factors, but one big one is whether or not the state requires all public school students to take the SAT. In these cases, scores tend to be lower because even students who might not typically take the SAT (or prepare for it) must take it in school.

By contrast, in states where the SAT is not required, students who take the SAT take it specifically to prepare their college applications. As a result, the subsample of students who take the SAT will, in general, be more prepared and get higher scores.

For more info on this topic, check out our complete guide to average SAT scores by state.

You're unique. That means an "average" score may or may not be enough for you to achieve your dreams...especially if your dream is to become a rocket scientist.

## What Average SAT Scores Really Matter for YOU?

While we've gone through a lot of interesting SAT data based on gender, ethnicity, family income, school type, and state, most of it won't be particularly relevant to your own interests and goals. It's helpful to know what an average SAT score is nationally and by state, but there's more you need to know in order to get into your top school.

The truth is, what SAT score you need depends entirely on the schools you're applying to. The average SAT scores that matter most for you are the averages for the colleges you're interested in. If you can score above a school's average SAT score, you'll have a far better chance of getting in.

But what score should you aim for specifically? The score you need to hit to give yourself your best chance of admission is your SAT goal score. We explain more about how to find this in our article on what makes a good SAT score.

Briefly, though, here's what you'll need to do: on a chart, record the 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores (i.e., the middle 50% or average range) for each of the schools you're applying to. Once you've filled everything out, look for the highest 75th percentile score to get your goal score.

Hit this score on test day, and you'll have a great shot at getting into your dream school!

## What's Next?

Are you ready for the new digital SAT? Don't miss our ultimate guide to the new Digital SAT format.

Not sure whether you should take the SAT? Here are 10 reasons to consider taking the test.

Want to know the average SAT scores from past years? Maybe you want help predicting your own SAT score, or are wondering whether there's a minimum SAT score requirement for college.

Need help preparing for the SAT? Then check out our total guide to studying for the test. We also have a one-month cramming plan and some tips for balancing your test prep with school!