Are you a 10th grader considering taking the SAT or ACT? Then you probably want to know what a good SAT/ACT score is for sophomores. While you might think we can simply use raw test score data from 11th graders, this information isn't totally accurate for or relevant to sophomores. Here, I'll analyze two data sets to figure out what's considered a good SAT/ACT score for 10th graders.
Good SAT/ACT Scores for 10th Graders: Methodology
Everyone knows that students learn substantially between 10th and 11th grade, so it's no surprise when their ACT/SAT scores increase. But how many points can you expect to improve by from 10th to 11th grade on these two tests? The average is about 40 points per section on the SAT, and 2 points per section on the ACT—that's quite a lot!
This raises the question: is it wrong to use 11th grade percentile tables to determine whether you (a 10th grader) are doing well on the SAT or ACT? Absolutely! You should really be using a table designed specifically for 10th graders, such as the one we have below.
To learn more about our methodology behind these scores, read our article on good SAT/ACT scores for 7th graders. The same precautions about how the data was calculated, and why you shouldn't necessarily see a low score as a bad omen, apply to 10th graders as well.
10th Grade ACT/SAT Scores Distribution
The average standardized test score for a 10th grader is lower than it is for an 11th grader. In fact, scores on the SAT are a full 40 points lower for each section, while scores on the ACT are about 2 points lower.
This means that the SAT score for the average 10th grader is about 460 for each section, and the ACT score of the average 10th grader is about 18 per section. A standard deviation on the SAT is around 100 points per section and around 6 points on the ACT.
Therefore, the scores translate as follows:
|Percentile||ACT Composite Score||SAT Section Score*|
*We came up with these estimates based on data from the old version of the SAT, but they should still be fairly accurate for the current version of the test.
What's a Good SAT/ACT Score for a 10th Grader?
What this data shows us is that if you score about 18 on the ACT or 460 on each section of the SAT (or 920 with both sections combined), you're hitting about the average score for a 10th grader. If you score around 12 on the ACT or 360 for each SAT section, then about three-quarters of other 10th graders would have a higher score than you.
From the table above, we can conclude that a good 10th grade SAT/ACT score (i.e., one that beats 75% of other test takers' scores) is 24 on the ACT and 560 per SAT section (1120 for both).
In 10th grade, your SAT/ACT will pretty strongly predict your 11th grade score and what you'll be applying to colleges with. Improvement will likely be limited—unless you take special measures to prepare.
How Can 10th Graders Prepare for the SAT/ACT?
Now that you know what a good standardized test score for a 10th grader is, how can you keep improving your SAT/ACT score until it's where you want it to be?
We have lots of guides to help you out. First, you will want to decide whether you should start preparing for the SAT or ACT in 10th grade. If you do decide to start prepping in 10th grade, you can get started with our ultimate SAT/ACT study guides; each of these contains links to all of our best articles on the SAT/ACT, guiding you through the prep process one step at a time.
Use these resources and you'll be well on your way to getting a strong score the next time you take the SAT or ACT!
When should you start prepping for the SAT? Our expert guide gives you four key tips to help you figure out the best time to begin studying.
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Fred is co-founder of PrepScholar. He scored a perfect score on the SAT and is passionate about sharing information with aspiring students. Fred graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor's in Mathematics and a PhD in Economics.