SAT Score

Is My SAT Score Bad, Average, Good or Great?


As you prepare for the SAT, you may wonder, “What does my score mean? Is it even a good score?” Most desirable universities, including UC, CSU, privates, and out-of-states, want students to earn at least a 1300 in order to be seriously considered as a qualified candidate. However, this figure varies greatly depending on major, competitiveness of the applicant pool that year, and other factors taken into account in the admissions process.

The answer to “What is a good score?” is “It depends.” For some students, their maximum scores may be 1300-1400, given time, upbringing and background, and other resource constraints and circumstances. Meanwhile, for others, they can achieve 1500-1600. Hence, a good score depends on the individual, their existing capabilities, their goals, and how much time they have to reach those goals.

While it is impossible to determine each student’s exact numerical potential, we encourage students to consider the following ways to determine “a good score”, or what we call a “target score.”

A student’s “target score” is a range that can be calculated in one of two ways. Try the following methods, using a calculator and writing utensil:

  • The first way is to use what we call a “baseline score”. A student’s baseline score is the result (out of 1600) from his or her first attempt at an SAT with little or no prior preparation. Taking this score, we add 100-200 points to find a student’s “target score”.
    • For example, if a student’s baseline score is 1200, we believe they should aim for 1300-1400.
  • The second way is to use a student’s overall unweighted GPA, as shown on his or her official, most recent, junior high or high school transcript. Taking this unweighted GPA, we simply:
    • Divide the GPA by the maximum GPA (usually 4.0)
    • Multiply this ratio by 1600 to find the proportional test score value (round to the nearest tens place).
    • Finally, add and subtract 50 points from that value to determine a student’s “target score”.
      • For example, if a student’s unweighted GPA is a 3.5:
        • 3.5/4.0 = 0.875
        • 0.875*1600 + 1400
        • Results: The student’s “target score” is between 1350-1450.

Implementing a score range allows us to account for variability in test difficulty and score curving by the College Board. It also allows a student to have a higher probability of success, as earning something between a 100 point range is more probable (and less stressful) than fixating on one singular score.

Want to take a FREE diagnostic SAT exam to see what your “baseline score” is? Contact hello@cake.education to schedule a day to come in!

Interested in finding out which schools you can apply to with your current SAT score, or determining if you should take the SAT once again? Contact hello@readyedgego.com for more information.

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