SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

What's the Highest Possible SAT Score?

Posted by Halle Edwards | Jan 17, 2018 11:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

 

main_perfect.jpg

Curious about what perfection looks like on the SAT, or about how many people get perfect scores every year? In this post, we'll show you what the highest possible score on the SAT is and how many raw points you need to rack up in each section to earn that score.

We'll also include tips and links to other more detailed articles for those aiming for that rare—but not impossible!—maximum SAT score.

 

What Is a Perfect SAT Score?

The highest possible score you can earn on the SAT is 1600 points. To get this score, you have to get a perfect 800 on each of the two sections: Math, and Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW).

These scores are then totaled to give you a composite score of 1600. (Note that the SAT Essay is optional, so even if you take it, this score will not be factored into your final composite score. You could, therefore, technically get a very low essay score but still net a perfect 1600!)

A perfect SAT score is incredibly rare. According to the College Board's most recent total group report, approximately 1.7 million students took the SAT in 2017. Of these, just 5% (about 84,806 students) scored between 1400 and 1600. Clearly, very few people scored above 1400 alone!

Unfortunately, the College Board does not tell us directly how many test takers got a perfect score; however, we can use percentiles to estimate how many might've gotten a 1600. According to the most recent SAT percentiles, less than 1% of test takers scored in the range of 1530-1600. Since 1% is equal to about 17,000 students, we can say that fewer than 17,000 students scored 1530-1600 on the SAT in 2017.

If you want to beat the odds and go for a 1600, read on for the raw scores you will need for each section on the SAT, and tips for how to get those scores.

For help translating your raw score (the total number of questions you got correct) in each section to a scaled score (your final section score between 200 and 800), here are two score charts with raw score to scaled score conversions. Both charts come from official SAT practice tests.

Note that since your Reading and Writing scores are combined for a single EBRW score out of 800, each raw score first translates into a test score (out of 40) and then later to a combined score out of 800. For more info on how to calculate your SAT scores, check out our in-depth guide.

 

Raw Score Math Scaled Score Reading Test Score Writing Test Score
0 200 10 10
1 200 10 10
2 210 10 10
3 230 11 10
4 240 12 11
5 260 13 12
6 280 14 13
7 290 15 14
8 310 15 15
9 320 16 15
10 330 17 16
11 340 17 17
12 360 18 17
13 370 19 18
14 380 19 19
15 390 20 19
16 410 20 20
17 420 21 21
18 430 21 21
19 440 22 22
20 450 22 23
21 460 23 23
22 470 23 24
23 480 24 25
24 480 24 25
25 490 25 26
26 500 25 26
27 510 26 27
28 520 26 28
29 520 27 28
30 530 28 29
31 540 28 30
32 550 29 30
33 560 29 31
34 560 30 32
35 570 30 32
36 580 31 33
37 590 31 34
38 600 32 34
39 600 32 35
40 610 33 36
41 620 33 37
42 630 34 38
43 640 35 39
44 650 35 40
45 660 36  
46 670 37  
47 670 37  
48 680 38  
49 690 38  
50 700 39  
51 710 40  
52 730 40  
53 740    
54 750    
55 760    
56 780    
57 790    
58 800    

Source: Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #1

 

Raw Score Math Scaled Score Reading Test Score Writing Test Score
0 200 10 10
1 200 10 10
2 210 10 10
3 230 11 10
4 250 12 11
5 270 13 12
6 280 14 13
7 300 15 14
8 320 16 15
9 340 16 16
10 350 17 16
11 360 18 17
12 370 18 18
13 390 19 19
14 410 20 19
15 420 20 20
16 430 21 21
17 450 21 22
18 460 22 23
19 470 22 23
20 480 23 24
21 490 23 24
22 500 23 25
23 510 24 26
24 520 24 26
25 530 25 27
26 540 25 27
27 550 26 28
28 560 26 28
29 570 27 29
30 580 27 30
31 590 28 31
32 600 28 31
33 600 28 32
34 610 29 32
35 620 29 33
36 630 30 33
37 640 30 34
38 650 31 35
39 660 31 36
40 670 32 37
41 680 32 37
42 690 33 38
43 700 33 39
44 710 34 40
45 710 35  
46 720 35  
47 730 36  
48 730 37  
49 740 38  
50 750 39  
51 750 39  
52 760 40  
53 770    
54 780    
55 790    
56 790    
57 800    
58 800    

Source: Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #4

 

You probably noticed that there are slight differences in how raw scores translate to scaled scores. For example, a Math raw score of 57 would get you a 790 on the first exam but a perfect 800 on the second exam.

The reason for this is that each SAT exam is equated so that, even with slight differences in exam difficulty, SAT scores are reliable across different test dates. For example, a 1400 on a March SAT will represent the same skill level as a 1400 on a May SAT, even if the May SAT was more difficult. Read our SAT scoring article for a more detailed explanation of the equating process.

 

body_mount_everest.jpg

Aim high on the SAT—but, uh, maybe not as high as Mt. Everest.

 

Maximum SAT Score on Math

According to the charts above, to get an 800 on the Math section of the SAT, you have to get all 58 questions right for a perfect raw score of 800. Occasionally, a 57 might cut it, but this won’t be the same for all tests, so assume you need a perfect 58.

This means that when you study, you're aiming for perfection. Figure out which types of questions you tend to miss. Maybe you struggle with a certain topic, such as slopes or fractions. Or perhaps you often get tripped up on grid-in questions (the ones where you have to provide an answer).

In any case, find out what your mistakes are, and practice relentlessly. For more tips, check out our guide to getting a perfect SAT Math score, written by our resident perfect scorer.


 

Perfect Score on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

To get an 800 on EBRW, you can miss at most one Reading question, but you need to get all 44 Writing questions correct.

Keep in mind that the scoring process for EBRW is a bit more complicated than it is for Math. As a reminder, Reading is half your EBRW score, and Writing is the other half. Each section score is first converted to a test score on a scale of 10-40. You'll need to get a perfect 40 on each section for a combined total of 80, which translates to a final scaled EBRW score of 800.

We recommend aiming for a perfect raw score of 52 on Reading and a full raw score of 44 on Writing to get that perfect 800. Why? Depending on which date you take the SAT, raw scores can be adjusted to scaled scores differently, due to equating. (Again, for more in-depth information on this process, check out our SAT scoring article.) This means that a 51 on Reading on one version of the SAT could net you an 800—but fail to cut it on another version.

Just like for the Math section, shoot for perfection in your practice. For Reading, which has you tackle long passages, develop a strategy for how you'll approach passages. This could be skimming the passage first and then answering the questions later, or looking at the questions first and then finding the answers in the passage. Once you've decided on a strategy, practice it (ideally, with SAT Reading tests) until you can work quickly, efficiently, and without making careless mistakes.

The Writing section, too, contains long passages but moves especially fast (you only get about 47 seconds per question!), so it's important to experiment with a variety of passage-reading strategies to see which one works best for you. Some students might prefer to read the entire passage first and then tackle the questions after, while others might choose to read the passage in paragraphs and do the questions as they come up.

If you struggle with grammar, make sure to read up on the major grammar rules tested on the SAT. You’ll need to have a solid understanding of these rules to tackle the Writing questions quickly and accurately!

 

The Bottom Line: Getting a Perfect SAT Score

Although a perfect 1600 SAT score is incredibly rare, with consistent studying, a solid array of SAT resources, and a keen understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, it is not impossible to get this admirable score. Study hard, and continue to reflect on where you can improve. Finally, be sure to check out our other articles for more in-depth tips and strategies for your SAT prep!

 

What's Next?

Want to get a perfect SAT score? Read our step-by-step guide on what it takes to get a perfect SAT score, written by a full 1600 scorer.

How long should you study for the SAT? Get tips with our easy six-step guide.

Looking for strategies you can use to raise your SAT score on a retake? Then check out our 15 tried and true tips. You'll not only get specific strategies for each section of the SAT but also learn how to approach the test as a whole.
 

You don't need a 1600 to be competitive for the top schools, but you do need a very high score. Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We have the industry's leading SAT prep program. Built by Harvard grads and SAT full scorers, the program learns your strengths and weaknesses through advanced statistics, then customizes your prep program to you so you get the most effective prep possible.

Check out our 5-day free trial today:

Improve Your SAT Score by 160+ Points, Guaranteed

 

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Halle Edwards
About the Author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.



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