Have you recently taken the SAT or are planning to take it soon? If so, you're probably wondering, "What's a good SAT score for 2022?" This guide breaks down three different ways you can define good SAT scores for 2022 and explains why it's so important for you to set a goal score. We also go over SAT averages and percentiles and explain how you can use that data to define what a good SAT score is.
What Is a Good SAT Score for 2022 Overall?
A good SAT score for you will always be a score that is high enough to get you into the colleges you're applying to. However, you can also define a good SAT score overall as one that is considered high compared to other test takers' scores. We'll look at averages and percentiles to determine what a good 2022 SAT score is.
In general, any SAT score that places you in the top half of test takers is considered "good." The higher above average your score is, the better. At the same time, SAT scores that place you in the bottom half of test takers are considered not so good. The further below average you are, the less impressive your performance is.
According to recent College Board data, the current average SAT score for 2021 is 1060 (out of 1600). The average score for the Math section is 528, while the average score for the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section is 533. What this means is that a good SAT score is any score above 1060.
The chart below gives more detail on what specific SAT scores can be considered poor, good, and great. We used 2021 percentile data from the College Board to make this chart based on students who graduated in 2021.
Remember that a percentile tells you what percentage of other test takers you scored the same as or better than on the SAT. For example, a 79th percentile score means you scored the same as or better than 79% of test takers.
|99th (Best)||760 and above||800||1520 and above|
|1st (Poorest)||330 and below||310 and below||670 and below|
Source: SAT Understanding Scores 2021
Be aware that the Math and EBRW scores at a particular percentile might not add up exactly to the total score at the same percentile. This is a result of rounding.
You might have noticed that you only need to score 1350 to break into the top 10% of test takers. So, no, a perfect 1600 isn't required to get an excellent score! You don't even need to break 1400.
By contrast, a score of 780 or below puts you in the bottom 10% of test takers and doesn't look very impressive on college applications. Even if you managed to raise your score from 780 to 900, you'd still be in the bottom 25%, meaning that the vast majority of students did better than you on the SAT. As a result, we can say that any score at or below the 25th percentile is poor.
However, percentiles aren't all there is to consider when it comes to deciding what is a good SAT score. You'll need to also pay attention to how good your scores are for the specific colleges you're applying to, which is what we discuss next.
What Is a Good 2022 SAT Score for You?
Ultimately, it's not your SAT percentile that's most important when it comes to deciding good SAT scores. It's if your score is high enough to get you into your dream college. At PrepScholar, we call this your SAT goal score. It's the score that's most likely to get you admitted to the schools you're applying to. Hit your goal score, and you're putting yourself in a great spot to get acceptance letters into your top colleges!
How high your own goal score is will depend on the schools you're applying to. For example, if you're applying to extremely competitive Ivy League-level schools, such as Stanford and MIT, your goal score would be really high—right around a perfect 1600. But if you were looking at less competitive schools like the University of Iowa, then you'd aim for something closer to around 1330.
To figure out your own SAT goal score for 2022, you'll need to know what SAT scores admitted students typically get at all the colleges you're applying to. Keep reading for our step-by-step guide so you can find your target score today!
How to Set an SAT Goal Score for 2022: 3-Step Guide
To find your SAT goal score for 2022, follow these three simple steps.
Step 1: Make a Chart
The first step is to make a chart like the one below and to list all the schools you're applying to in this chart (you may exclude any safety schools). You can make a chart yourself or download ours by clicking the thumbnail:
Here's a sample chart with a handful of schools filled in already:
|School Name||25th Percentile SAT Score||75th Percentile SAT Score|
|University of Iowa|
|Iowa State University|
Step 2: Find SAT Score Information for Your Schools
The next step is to do some research online to find the SAT score information you'll need for each school in order to fill in the rest of your chart. Specifically, you'll want to look for the middle 50%, or average, range of SAT scores—i.e., the 25th and 75th percentile scores—for each school.
The easiest way to do this is to use our PrepScholar college database. Simply search for "[School Name] PrepScholar" or "[School Name] PrepScholar SAT" and then click the link to the school's page in either our SAT/GPA or admissions databases:
Once you've clicked the link to that school's page in one of our databases, scroll down to find the SAT score information for that school. You'll need the 25th and 75th percentile scores.
Here's an example of what this page looks like for the University of Iowa:
Record the 25th and 75th percentile composite SAT scores in your chart. Repeat this process for every school you're applying to.
If you can't find your school in our PrepScholar database, go to your school's official website and look for any information it has on student facts and figures, admissions data, etc. You might also try searching for "[School Name] average SAT scores" or "[School Name] SAT scores" and looking for links to your school's official website.
By the end, your chart should look something like this:
|School Name||25th Percentile SAT Score||75th Percentile SAT Score|
|University of Iowa||1140||1330|
|Iowa State University||1100||1340|
Step 3: Determine Your SAT Goal Score
Now, it's time to figure out your SAT target score. Find the highest 75th percentile score in your chart—this will be your goal score, as it's the one most likely to get you accepted to all the schools you're applying to.
In our sample chart, the highest 75th percentile SAT score is 1390 for Clarke University. This means that your goal score would be 1390, an incredibly high score in the top 7% of all test takers!
If your goal score feels like way too much of a reach for you, then you can lower yours slightly to a score in-between the highest and second-highest 75th percentile scores in your chart, or to simply your second-highest 75th percentile score (in this case, that would be 1360, in the 91st percentile).
Once you've got your composite target score, you can divide this score in half to get your rough scores to aim for on the Math and EBRW sections. In our example, this would be 1390 ÷ 2 = 695, which would round to about 700 per section.
Good SAT Scores in 2022 vs Good SAT Scores From Past Years
So far we've gone over a few ways you can define good SAT scores. But are these good SAT scores different from what were considered good scores in previous testing years?
The short answer is no, not really. While percentiles and averages can shift a bit each year, they rarely change dramatically. In general, what's considered a good SAT score (based on averages or percentiles) is going to stay fairly consistent from year to year.
The current format of the SAT came out in 2016, so we only have a few years of data we can use to determine how good SAT scores might have changed since then (the SAT prior to 2016 was scored very differently than it is today).
The following chart shows past and present SAT averages from 2017 through 2020:
|Year||Avg EBRW||Avg Math||AVG TOTAL|
As you can see, average SAT scores have changed minimally over the past three years. Last year witnessed a somewhat sharp drop in averages for all three score types, likely due to general stresses and difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic. However, in 2021, the average total score rose to 1060, putting it right in line with past years.
But what about percentiles? Remember that percentiles tell you what percentage of test takers you scored the same as or higher than on the SAT.
This chart shows past and present SAT score percentiles from 2017 through 2020:
|Year||90th %ile||75th %ile||50th %ile||25th %ile||10th %ile|
Here, we can see that, like the average scores above, SAT percentiles really haven't budged that much. In fact, the 50th percentile stayed exactly the same at 1050-1060, while all other major percentile marks shifted up or down by at most 10 points.
With such little change between each year, it's hard to say whether there will be any big changes in percentiles and averages in future testing years. For now, we can confidently say the definition of a good SAT score hasn't changed really since 2017—and likely won't for a while.
Conclusion: So What's a Good SAT Score for 2022?
There are three main ways you can define good SAT scores for 2022.
One way is to look at the national average, which is 1060. Any score above this threshold can be considered a good score, as it means you've done better than the majority of test takers.
Another way of defining good SAT scores is to look at SAT score percentiles, which compare your performance with those of other test takers. The higher your percentile, the better you did relative to other students. In general, scores in the 50th percentile (1040-1050) are average, while scores in the 75th percentile (1200-1210) and 90th percentile (1350) are good and excellent, respectively.
The last (and by far most important!) way you can define good SAT scores for 2022 is to figure out what scores are good for you based on the schools you're applying to. Look for SAT score data for each of your schools; the highest 75th percentile score will be your target score—that is, what's considered a good score for you and you alone.
Once you know what score to aim for on the SAT, you can get started on coming up with your very own SAT study plan!
You know what a good SAT score is—but what about a bad SAT score? Learn about what kinds of scores are considered bad by national standards here.
Need help getting a super-high SAT score? Then check out our expert guides on how to get that elusive 1600 (written by a real full scorer!) and the best SAT prep books. We also have an ultimate SAT prep guide filled with tons of links to our most helpful SAT articles!
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:
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.