If you have received your score report, you may be trying to figure out what SAT® percentiles are. This blog will explore SAT score percentiles, how they are calculated, and how they can help you in improving your score.
You must note that the score percentiles are part of the paper and pencil SAT only and will no longer be reported for the digital SAT test.
SAT Score Percentiles
The score percentile represents the percentage of students who did better or worse than you on the test. The SAT score percentile range is from 1 to 99 and are received for the total score as well as the section scores.
Percentile Range for Total Scores
The percentile range for total scores shows the percentage of people you outperformed in the test. For example, if your percentile for the total score is 86, it means that you scored better than 86% of the students who took the SAT. It does not mean that you scored exactly 86% on your test.
Percentile Range for Section Scores
The section score percentile shows how you performed in both the sections as compared to other students. For example, getting a percentile of 70 on your Math section means that you scored better than 70% of students in the Math section.
But before you dive deep into SAT percentiles, make sure to check out our SAT scoring guide to understand how SAT scores are calculated.
Types of SAT score percentiles
There are two types of SAT percentiles that are released by the College Board® for both total and section scores. This is done by comparing two different student populations. They are:
- Nationally Representative Sample Percentiles: These percentiles are calculated by conducting research among U.S. students in grades 11 and 12, regardless of whether they take the test.
- SAT User Percentiles: These percentiles are calculated by taking into account the actual score of students from the past three graduating classes who were a part of the current SAT test.
What are good SAT score percentiles?
A percentile of 75 is considered to be good for the SAT, which would mean getting a total score of 1200. For getting a percentile of 90 and above, you need to score at least 1350 on your SAT test.
How Do SAT Percentiles Get Calculated?
The College Board publishes SAT score percentiles every year for the total score as well as the section scores. This data is important to know how well you and others performed on the test. For your reference, the below tables show a list of the SAT score percentile charts released by the College Board in 2022:
Total score percentiles
The following table displays the total score ranges and their respective percentiles:
|Total Score Range||Percentile|
|1550 - 1600||99 to 99+|
|1500 - 1550||98 to 99|
|1450-1500||96 to 98|
|1400-1450||93 to 96|
|1350-1400||90 to 93|
|1300-1350||86 to 90|
|1250-1300||81 to 86|
|1200-1250||74 to 81|
|1150-1200||67 to 74|
|1100-1150||59 to 67|
|1050-1100||51 to 59|
|1000-1050||42 to 51|
|950-1000||34 to 42|
|900-950||26 to 34|
|850-900||19 to 26|
|800-850||12 to 19|
|750-800||7 to 12|
|700-750||3 to 7|
|650-700||1 to 3|
|600-650||1- to 1|
Section score percentiles
Below is the list showing section score ranges and their respective percentiles:
|Total Score (Range)||EBRW Percentile||Math Percentile|
|780-800||99+||98 to 99+|
|760-780||99 to 99+||96 to 98|
|740-760||98 to 99||95 to 96|
|720-740||96 to 98||93 to 95|
|700-720||94 to 96||91 to 93|
|680-700||91 to 94||88 to 91|
|660-680||87 to 91||85 to 88|
|640-660||83 to 87||82 to 85|
|620-640||78 to 83||79 to 82|
|600-620||73 to 78||75 to 79|
|580-600||67 to 73||69 to 75|
|560-580||61 to 67||64 to 69|
|540-560||54 to 61||58 to 64|
|520-540||48 to 54||50 to 58|
|500-520||41 to 48||43 to 50|
|480-500||35 to 41||37 to 43|
|460-480||28 to 35||31 to 37|
|440-460||22 to 28||25 to 31|
|420-440||16 to 22||20 to 25|
|400-420||11 to 16||16 to 20|
|380-400||7 to 11||11 to 16|
|360-380||4 to 7||7 to 11|
|340-360||2 to 4||4 to 7|
|320-340||1 to 2||2 to 4|
|300-320||1- to 1||1 to 2|
|280-300||1-||1- to 1|
SAT percentiles vs SAT averages
SAT percentiles help you analyze your performance as compared to other students and range from 1 to 99. On the other hand, SAT averages do not tell you much about your own performance. This is the mean or average of the SAT scores of a particular year. SAT averages are calculated by adding up the scores of every test taker and dividing the sum by the total number of students who took the test. SAT score averages are also calculated based on state, gender, ethnicity, race, and other demographics.
How to find the average SAT percentile scores for your college?
You can find the average percentile scores for your prospective colleges by checking out their respective admission policies.
How Can Knowing Your SAT Percentile Help You?
As you may already know, the most important thing for college admissions is your total SAT score. However, your percentile helps the admissions officers compare your scores with other students and analyze how you performed on the test.
Knowing your percentile can help you a lot, especially if you are confused about whether to take the SAT a second time or not. A small difference in your total score can have a significant impact on your SAT score percentile. For example, if you score a 750 on your EBRW section and a 650 on your Math section, it might not seem like an enormous difference. But if you check your percentile, you would have received 98 percentile points for EBRW and 83 percentile points for your Math section. That makes a huge difference! In this case, the percentile will help you understand how much you need to improve on both sections. While scoring 50 more points on the EBRW can give you a 99+ percentile score, scoring 100 more points on the Math section can get you more than 95th percentile.