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What's a Good SAT Score for an Honors Student?

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Posted by Vero Lecocq | Jan 16, 2016 5:00:00 PM

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It can be hard to tell the difference between a good SAT score and a bad one, especially for high-achieving students. To help you see how you stack up against your peers, we've done a thorough statistical analysis to determine what counts as a good SAT score for an honors student. In this guide, I'll give you a sense of what a high score looks like for a top student and help you understand what that means for you.

But before we get into the data, let's define our terms.


What Is an Honors Student?

Honors students are high achievers. Whether we think of them as student enrolled in honors classes, students on the honor roll, or students earning a certain class rank, the basic premise remains the same: they strive towards loftier academic standards than most of their colleagues do.

Since this is certainly true when it comes to grades in school, it ought, by rights, to extend to standardized testing. What qualifies, then, as a "good" SAT score for any given student is determined largely by the performance of that student's scholastic peers.


What Is a Good SAT Score?

When you think about it, there's really no universal cut-off between a "great" score and a "not-so-great" score—not one that every single student will agree on. What truly makes a score a good one is its ability to get you where you want to go--that is, its ability to make you attractive to the schools you'd like to attend.

Honors students are generally gearing towards more competitive schools. Thus, they're going to need more exceptional scores to earn their way in!


body_statistics-2.jpgI'm not sure what the statistics in this picture mean, but they sure do look official!


Good SAT Scores for Honors Students

We at PrepScholar ran some statistical analyses to answer the delicate question of what a good score really looks like for an honors student. We used what's called a Monte-Carlo method, which is a lot more accurate than just lining up percentiles and comparing those. 

You see, just because you're in the top tenth of students at your school, that doesn't necessarily put you in the top tenth of standardized test takers. Why not, you may ask? Well, high schools select honors students based on different criteria than the SAT.  

Based on our analysis, we've compiled high, average, and low scores for both honors and high honors students.


Honors Students

We're defining these as the top third of high school students. It's possible that some of these students are not recognized as honors students at their schools, and it's possible that some students recognized as honors students at their schools are not among this third.

Let's look at the range of scores for this group:

  • A low score (25th percentile) is 1117
  • An average score (median) is 1207
  • high score (75th percentile) is 1285 


body_highhonors.jpgNow, statistically, for the best of the best...


High Honors Students

We're defining these as the top tenth of high school students. These students are the ones most likely to be in high honors programs, though the same disclaimer applies here as it did before.

Let's look at the range of scores for this group:

  • A low score (25th percentile) is 1885 (or 1257 on the New SAT)
  • An average score (median) is 2000 (or 1333 on the New SAT)
  • high score (75th percentile) is 2102 (or 1401 on the New SAT)



Sadly, there's truly no rest for the weary. The competition is a lot stiffer among more elite groups of students. It takes a much higher SAT score to stand out among high honors students than it does to stand out from among the common crowd.

Having a good class rank combined with a stellar SAT score, though, is totally worth the effort.


What's Next?

Put in the work preparing for the test. Let us clue you in as to why it's so crucial.

Aiming high along the way? A perfect score is tough to get, but it's possible.

Are you still unclear on what a good SAT score is—or do you want a more general picture? We've got you covered.


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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Vero Lecocq
About the Author

Vero is a firsthand expert at standardized testing and the college application process. Though neither parent had graduated high school, and test prep was out of the question, she scored in the 99th percentile on both the SAT and ACT, taking each test only once. She attended Dartmouth, graduating as salutatorian of 2013. She later worked as a professional tutor. She has a great passion for the arts, especially theater.

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