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 Reading and Writing. These scores are then totaled to give you a composite score of 1600.

A perfect SAT score is incredibly rare. According to the College Board's most recent total group report, just over 1.9 million students in the class of 2023 took the SAT. Of these, just 7% (127,589 students) scored between 1400 and 1600. Clearly, very few people scored above 1400 alone, let alone a perfect 1600!

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 1550-1600. Since 1% is equal to about 19,000 students, we can say that fewer than 19,000 students scored 1550-1600 on the SAT in 2023.

If you want to beat the odds and go for a 1600, read on for our top tips on how to get those scores.

## How Are SAT Scores Calculated?

For past versions of the SAT we could look at scoring charts and determine roughly how many questions you needed to get right in order to reach a specific score. However, the digital test is adaptive, which means that we can't predict how scoring will work with any degree of accuracy.

The digital SAT starts starts with Reading and Writing Module 1, followed by Reading and Writing Module 2, Math Module 1, and Math Module 2. (There’s a break between the Reading and Writing section and the Math section.) Every student will take the exam in this order.

Reading and Writing Module 1 contains easy, medium, and hard prompts. At the end of the first module, the test will use your performance to determine whether you’ll continue to an easier or more challenging version of Reading and Writing Module 2. The same concept applies to the Math section: Math Module 1 contains three levels of difficulty, and the exam will choose either an easier or harder version of Math Module 2 based on how well you did on the first Math stage.

Although we can't say with any certainty how many questions you'll need to get right (or how the variable difficulty affects your score) to reach the maximum SAT score, data from previous versions of the exam suggest you can afford to miss at most one question per section.

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

## Maximum SAT Score on Math

According to our estimates, to get an 800 on the Math section of the SAT, you have to get all 44 questions right.

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 SAT Reading and Writing

To get an 800 on Reading and Writing, you can miss at most one questionAgain, though, there's no way to predict exactly how the scoring will work, so we recommend aiming for a perfect raw score of 54 on Reading and Writing to get that perfect 800.

Just like for the Math section, shoot for perfection in your practice. Develop a strategy for how you'll approach the questions. This could be skimming the text first and then reading the question, or looking at the question and answers first and then narrowing them down. Once you've decided on a strategy, practice it (ideally, with SAT Reading and Writing tests) until you can work quickly, efficiently, and without making careless mistakes.

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 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?

Ready for the new, digital SAT? Get to know the new digital SAT format so you can maximize your scores.

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.

Need more help with SAT Prep? Send your parent or guardian our guide to the SAT to get them thinking about the test prep process.

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
About the Author
Halle Edwards

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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