University students - what is a good SAT score?
What makes a good SAT score? The answer isn't necessarily straightforward. Source: Shutterstock

How prepared are you to go to college – academically?

In the US, colleges and universities determine this via SAT, or the Scholastic Assessment Test, a standardised test used for college admissions in undergraduate schools.

The test evaluates your written, verbal and mathematical skills, and is conducted by The College Board.

SAT can be a major source of stress for many students vying to get top marks, hoping it will help them secure a spot at the university they wish to attend. But while SAT scores play a role in college admissions, the extent of its importance also depends on the institution for which you’re applying.

Apart from a candidate’s academic competitiveness, some universities may also look into letters of recommendation from the school as well as extracurricular activities, which means SAT scores aren’t always the primary focus for some college admissions.

Despite this, students should still aim for the highest score possible when sitting the SAT.

American comedian Hasan Minhaj hilariously re-took the SAT at the age of 33 and scored 1,030-280 points lower than when he first took the exam some 16 years ago.

According to The College Board, the average SAT score in 2018 was 1,068. A perfect SAT score is 1,600, while the minimum is 400. The average score for math is 531, while the average score for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) is 536.

Based on these numbers, if a candidate were to get a score of 1,100 or above, this would already put them in the above-average score bracket.

However, The Princeton Review Editor-in-Chief Robert Franek notes that to be eligible for merit-based financial aid or to get into a top 30 school, students will typically need to earn a score in the 1400s and 1500s.

For example, students will need to earn a competitive score of 1,390-1,540 to get into Stanford University, while a score of 820-1,030 might be good enough to help you earn a spot at Purdue University-Northwest.

So, what makes a good SAT score? The answer largely depends on the institution you’re interested in.

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