What Is A Good And A Bad Digital SAT® Score?

High school student reading about what is a good and bad digital SAT score on laptop

To answer this question, let’s explore historical score percentiles recorded in the paper-SAT® below:

  •  A score of 1580 or higher is excellent, placing you in the top 99%
  • A good score is 1210 or higher, placing you in the top 25%
  • A score of 890 or lower places you in the bottom 25%

In 2024, the SAT fully transitioned to a digital format. While the criteria for a good score for this new format haven’t been officially established, you can get an idea of the score ranges that colleges considered favorable previously by looking at the historical scores from the traditional paper-based SAT. Any score above this range is usually considered satisfactory by many colleges.

Ultimately, what defines a good score depends on your goals, the colleges you’re applying to, and the majors or programs you’re considering. While some colleges require section scores in the 700-800 range, others have more manageable requirements.

Here is a list of 30 colleges that require above-average scores:

Name of College Score Range Name of College Score Range
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1520-1570 Boston University 1370-1480
Washington University in St. Louis 1500-1570 College of William and Mary 1380-1520
Duke University 1510-1560 Amherst College 1450-1550
Vanderbilt University 1480-1570 Georgia Institute of Technology 1370-1530
Johns Hopkins University 1490-1550 Trinity University 1310-1450
Princeton University 1470-1560 George Washington University 1320-1460
Yale University 1470-1560 Babson College 1370-1480
Columbia University 1500-1560 Rhode Island School of Design 1350-1490
University of Notre Dame 1410-1550 Florida State University 1220-1360
Northeastern University 1450-1535 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1350-1530
Georgetown University 1410-1540 The College of New Jersey 1160-1340
Hamilton College 1440-1520 Texas Christian University 1220-1370
Middlebury College 1420-1520 Southwestern University 1140-1320
Washington and Lee University 1410-1530 Howard University 1060-1270
University of Chicago 1510 – 1560 Spelman College 1100-1290
Source: College Board

Reading Your Score Report

It is essential to understand the different sections of the test and how scores are scaled to determine whether you’ve earned a competitive Digital SAT® score. Your total Digital SAT and section scores are the two most significant aspects that indicate whether your score is good enough to get you into your dream college.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider your percentile rankings, benchmark scores, and how your scores measure up to the averages of the colleges in which you’re interested. These factors play a big role in deciding if your Digital SAT score is competitive. Figuring out your Digital SAT score report might seem a bit overwhelming with all those numbers and graphs. But don’t stress—our blog on how to interpret the Digital SAT score report is here to guide you!

How to Set Your Digital SAT Target Score

To determine your target score, research various colleges that meet your criteria and check their Digital SAT score requirements. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. List down the colleges of your choice:
    Create a worksheet of your college preferences—location, cost, reputation, postsecondary courses, facilities, and other important factors. Here’s an example:
  2. List of Prospective Colleges
    College Name Typical Student
    SAT Score Ranges
    Admission Requirements
    Washington University in St. Louis 1490-1570
    • School Report
    • Counselor & teacher recommendations
    • Common or Coalition application essay
    Vanderbilt University 1480-1570
    • Common or Coalition application
    • High school transcript
    • Letter of recommendation by counselor & teachers.
    Johns Hopkins University 1460-1560
    • Transcripts
    • Activities list
    • Recommendations
    • Essays
    • Personal statement.
    My Target Score 1570

    Note: The above table is just an example worksheet and doesn’t display all the admission requirements of the colleges. Please visit the official websites of the colleges for complete information.

  3. Note admission requirements:
    Visit the official website of your prospective colleges, check for relevant information, and input it into your worksheet.
  4. Find your goal score:
    Once you complete the worksheet, it is time to set your goal score. Set a realistic target, considering the time you can devote to studying. Use the score ranges of your prospective colleges as a guide. For example, to get admission to Vanderbilt University, which has an acceptable score range of 1480-1570, your target should be to score 1570. Scoring anything below will count as a bad SAT score and decrease your chances of admission.

The next step is to create a study plan to achieve your goal score. Start preparing early, follow a timetable, and use quality resources to study for the test.

Tips To Improve SAT Score

KNOW THE FORMAT

Familiarize yourself with the test format, question types, important concepts, and scoring patterns.

MAKE A STUDY PLAN

Dedicate enough time to all subjects, topics, and concepts. Set realistic goals. Make study plans according to your capacity.

PRACTICE CONSISTENTLY

The more you practice, the more confident you will feel on test day. Take practice tests and identify areas where you need to improve.

MANAGE YOUR TIME

Make sure you don’t spend too much time on one question. Try to pace yourself to complete all sections of the test within the allotted time.

KNOW THE FORMAT

Familiarize yourself with the test format, question types, important concepts, and scoring patterns.

MAKE A STUDY PLAN

Dedicate enough time to all subjects, topics, and concepts. Set realistic goals. Make study plans according to your capacity.

PRACTICE CONSISTENTLY

The more you practice, the more confident you will feel on test day. Take practice tests and identify areas where you need to improve.

MANAGE YOUR TIME

Make sure you don’t spend too much time on one question. Try to pace yourself to complete all sections of the test within the allotted time.

Our Digital SAT study guide will help you make an effective study plan. Learn how to delegate your time efficiently.

What Is a Good Digital SAT Math Score?

Scoring 600 on the Digital SAT Math section puts you in the 75th percentile and can be considered “good”. Here’s a breakdown of historical paper-SAT Math scores from excellent to below average to give you an idea:

Percentile 99 75 50 25
SAT Math Score 800
(Excellent)
600
(Good)
520
(Average)
440
(<Average)

How to improve your Digital SAT Math score

Follow these steps to improve your Digital SAT Math score:

  1. Know how to apply the formulas:
    Memorizing formulas is the first half of the battle. Understanding the concept behind the formulas will help you work through problems more effectively.
  2. Use the calculator efficiently:
    Use a calculator that you’re familiar with to avoid getting stuck due to technical issues. Double-check before plugging in numbers and symbols, as even a slight error can produce incorrect results.
  3. Use answering techniques:
    If you don’t know how to solve a question, don’t skip it. Instead, try making an informed guess by eliminating the obviously wrong answers or doing backward calculations.
  4. Solve practice questions:
    Practicing questions regularly is like training your brain to handle them more easily. As you keep doing practice tests for Digital SAT Math, you’ll find yourself getting faster at answering questions. This boosts your confidence and improves how well you manage your time during the test.

For more tips on how to improve your score for the Digital SAT Math test, read our Digital SAT Math study guide.

What Is a Good Digital SAT Reading and Writing Score?

Scoring 610 on the Digital SAT Reading and Writing section can put you in the 75th percentile and is considered “good.” Here’s a composite breakdown of recent paper-SAT R&W scores from excellent to below average:

Percentile 99 75 50 25
SAT R&W Score 780-800
(Excellent)
610
(Good)
530
(Average)
450
(<Average)

How to improve your Digital SAT Reading and Writing score

Follow these steps to improve the Digital SAT Reading and Writing score:

  1. Read regularly:
    Reading on the edge of your competency from reputable sources that employ quality writers can enhance your vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. Always read with a dictionary. Read actively and pay attention to the sentence structure. Ask yourself, or even write down, questions as you read to help you understand how the content develops.
  2. Learn grammar and syntax rules:
    Study grammar rules like the correct usage of subject-verb agreement, tenses, parallelism, conditionals, modifiers, etc.
  3. Use strategies:
    Try underlining significant words, annotating, and summarizing the passage to approach the questions and prompts more efficiently.
  4. Give those practice questions a shot:
    The more Digital SAT Reading and Writing practice tests you do, the quicker you’ll become at answering questions. This not only makes you feel more confident but also helps you get better at managing your time during the real test.

For more tips on how to approach the passages, improve answering speed, and avoid earning a low SAT score, check out our guide on How To Get 800 On Digital SAT Reading And Writing.

Factors Affecting a Good Digital SAT Score

Some of the most important factors that can affect your Digital SAT score are:

  1. High School Curriculum:
    Your performance on the Digital SAT is closely aligned with your high school curriculum. Students who follow a rigorous high school curriculum are likely to be better prepared. However, it is possible to study for the Digital SAT on your own to bolster what you learn in school.
  2. Study Habits:
    Regular practice with small sets of information over time is proven to be the most effective way to achieve long-term learning. You will significantly improve your score by creating a study plan and sticking to it.
  3. Test-taking skills:
    Have a plan for test day. Sharpen your ability to answer Digital SAT questions under time constraints by practicing with exam-like questions. This will help you understand how much time to spend per question and how to approach certain question types.
  4. Inadequate preparation:
    Close gaps in your preparation by using high-quality test prep materials, including practice tests. Enhance your strengths and address your growth opportunities by diving into the answer explanations.

Interested in knowing about the importance of a good Digital SAT score for admissions? Read our blog on How Your Digital SAT Score Impacts Your College Admissions.

What Happens if You Get a Low/Bad Digital SAT Score?

We understand that sometimes things go differently than expected, and your desired test score might differ from what you got. But that’s not the end of the world! You can retake the Digital SAT to improve your scores. Plus, you have the option to cancel any Digital SAT scores you’re unhappy with, ensuring colleges won’t see them during the admissions process. There’s always a chance to try again and do better.

How Do You Know If Your Digital SAT Scores Need Improvement?

Here are some indicators that suggest your Digital SAT scores might benefit from improvement:

  • If your scores are below the average score ranges of previously admitted students for your chosen college(s), it’s a sign that you need to retake the test and improve your scores.
  • Assess your percentile rankings on the Digital SAT score report to gauge how your scores compare with those of other test-takers. If your Digital SAT score percentiles are lower than desired, there’s potential for improvement.
  • Check the score prerequisites of the scholarships you’re considering. Falling below their cut-off requirements is considered a low SAT score and indicates a need for score improvement.
  • Examine the benchmark scores outlined in the Digital SAT score report. If your scores dip below these benchmarks, then you might need a score boost.

How can you avoid getting a bad Digital SAT score?

Avoiding a low Digital SAT score involves effective preparation and strategic test-taking. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Start Your Prep Early:
    Begin your Digital SAT preparation well in advance to allow for consistent and thorough study.
  2. Understand the Format:
    Familiarize yourself with the digital format of the SAT, including navigation tools and question types.
  3. Take Regular Practice Tests:
    Regularly taking practice tests will help you become comfortable with the test format, and you’ll be able to identify areas that need improvement. Drilling with timed practice questions, like those UWorld offers, mimics the time constraints of the actual test environment to help you get better at the Digital SAT.
  4. Work on Weak Areas:
    Identify your weaknesses through practice tests and concentrate on improving those specific areas.
  5. Make Use of Official Study Materials:
    Utilize the official Digital SAT study materials provided by the College Board for an accurate representation of the test content.
  6. Work on Your Time Management Skills:
    Practice managing your time effectively during the test to ensure you can complete each section within the allotted time.
  7. Read the Prompts Carefully:
    Pay close attention to the wording of questions and answer choices. Misreading can lead to errors.
  8. Answer Every Question:
    There is no penalty for guessing on the Digital SAT, so make sure to answer every question. You might get points even if you’re unsure.
  9. Review Test-Taking Strategies:
    Familiarize yourself with effective test-taking strategies, such as eliminating obviously incorrect choices and managing your time wisely.

By following these tips and tailoring your study plan to your individual needs, you can avoid a low Digital SAT score.

Conclusion

Ultimately, any score that gets you into the college of your choice is a good Digital SAT score. It is important to stay motivated and committed to your goal and practice for the test regularly. Try UWorld’s Digital SAT practice questions today. Our thousands of exam-like questions and detailed explanations for every answer choice will help you get one step closer to your dream school.

Boost your Digital SAT score with UWorld.
Score 1500+ Easily.
Engage in realistic Digital SAT prep on any device.

References

  1. BigFuture. (n.d.). https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/colleges
  2. Quick Guide to Digital SAT Practice and Scores. (2023). satsuite.collegeboard.org. Retrieved June 2023, from https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/digital-sat-student-guide-practice-scores.pdf
  3. Your SAT Score Report Explained – SAT Suite | College Board. (n.d.). https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/understanding-scores/your-score-report-explained
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