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Average SAT Score by State
If you’ve taken the SAT, you may be wondering how your performance stacks up against other test-takers. The national average SAT score is 1051, while average scores for each state vary. In this guide, we’ll take a look at SAT score averages by state as well as test section. Keep reading to find out how your score compares to other test-takers in your state.
See also: What is a High SAT Score?
What is the national average SAT score?
When discussing average SAT scores, there are three areas to be considered. There’s the average total score, as well as average scores for individual sections of the test. These include the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) section and the Math section. Here’s a breakdown of average scores for each section, according to the College Board.
|SAT Test Sections||National Average Scores in 2020|
|Evidence-Based Reading and Writing||528|
Average SAT scores by state
Average SAT scores vary from state to state. A key factor to keep in mind is participation rate, which is the percentage of students in the state that take the SAT. States with higher participation rates typically have lower scores because the pool of test-takers is larger.
Meanwhile, states with lower participation rates generally have higher scores. Because of this, scores between states can only be accurately compared when the participation rates are similar.
Here are the average SAT scores by state in 2020, according to the College Board.
|State||SAT Participation Rate||Total Scores||Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Scores||Math Scores|
|District of Columbia||100%||979||498||482|
How important is the average SAT score?
It’s easy to get caught up in comparison, but remember that you are your own biggest competition. State and national average SAT scores can be good benchmarks, but they shouldn’t be your only gauge of success. In reality, your priority should be to meet or exceed the average SAT scores at your target schools. To get an idea of what you should aim for, check the average scores of the colleges you’re applying to. The more selective the school, the higher the average score will be.
In the end, you should set a goal that’s both realistic and ambitious. For some students, scoring higher than the state or national average may be good enough to get into their dream school. For others, it may not be good enough. It all depends on your individual goals. And regardless of the type of score you’re aiming for, the key to success is preparation. That means studying hard, taking practice tests, and taking the SAT multiple times if needed. If you do all that, you’ll be well on your way to earning a high score and gaining admission to the college of your dreams.
Also see: 2021-2022 SAT test dates
A note on the SAT and ACT
As you prepare to take the SAT, you should be sure to note that some colleges weigh the ACT more heavily than the SAT. This is especially common at institutions in the Midwest. Make sure to check whether the institutions you’re interested in have a preference for either test. This could affect your decision of which to prioritize.
Related: Average ACT scores by state
Additional resources for students preparing for the SAT
If you’re getting ready for the SAT, you’re probably getting ready to enter the busiest part of the admissions process. The process can be overwhelming, but luckily, we’ve got resources at your disposal. We can help get you through the test taking process with a guide to when to take the SAT or ACT, and a guide to the differences between the two tests. You can also look at our guide to find the right test prep tutor. And if you don’t get the results you want, don’t fret. There are great college options for low test takers.
Once you’ve got your tests out of the way, you’ll be getting into your college application process. We’ve got answers on whether you should apply early action or early decision. We can also help you find financial safety schools, pick a college, and interpret your financial aid award letter. Good luck with the process, and don’t forget to check back if you have any questions!