What is the Average SAT Score?
People usually speak about average SAT scores they’re thinking about the total combination score for three test categories, or the individual test score for each component: the Reading Test, the Writing and Language Test (which combine into one score labeled as ERW) and Math.
You’ll see other scores (subscores and cross-test scores) on your SAT score report that break down how well you performed in specific areas as well.
To learn more about all the SAT scores, visit our Score Structure page.
SAT Section Scores and Total Scores
The two required sections, ERW (which is two tests) and Math (one test) are scored on a scale of 200–800. When you receive your score, you’ll first see your total score, which ranges from 400-1600, and then your two section scores. Learn more about how section scores are calculated.
Calculating the SAT Average
We calculate the national average, or mean, SAT scores for a graduating class by adding up the scores of every student in that class who took the SAT and dividing by the number of test takers.
SAT Score National Averages for the Class of 2021
- ERW: 541
- Math: 538
- Total SAT score: 1088
We also calculate average SAT scores by state, gender, race/ethnicity, and other demographics. You can find a complete report of SAT results for the class of 2021 in our SAT Suite of Assessments Annual Report.
SAT Averages vs. SAT Percentiles
The national average SAT scores show you whether scores are trending up or down compared to previous years. But they don’t tell you much about your own scores.
National percentiles, on the other hand, show you where you stand in relation to other students. They range from 1 to 99 and indicate the percentage of students who scored the same as or lower than you. So the higher your percentile, the better you did.
You’ll see two types of percentiles on your score report: the nationally representative sample percentile and the SAT user percentile.
- The sample percentile compares your score to the predicted scores if all students were to take the SAT. Because some students, like those not planning on going to college, may not take the SAT, we conduct research studies to estimate what their scores would be.
- The user percentile compares your score to the actual scores of recent high school graduates who took the SAT during high school. If your percentile is 75, that means your score is as high or higher than the scores of 75% of students who took the SAT.
Because your user percentile shows how you performed compared to other students who may be applying to the same colleges you are, it can help you decide whether to try to improve your score by taking the test again.
How to Improve Your SAT Score
If you’re not happy with your SAT results, try using the free Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy® personalized study tool before retaking the test. Research shows that just 6 or more hours using Official SAT Practice could help your total score increase. Some students report seeing score increases that range from 90-200 points (but individual results do vary).
Remember: SAT scores are just one thing colleges look at when deciding who to admit. Your grades, after-school activities, letters of recommendation, etc., give colleges a more complete picture of who you are.