If you’re looking at colleges, you’re probably wondering how to get a high SAT score. Achieving your perfect SAT score takes time and dedication, but there are a variety of materials and testing strategies available to help you on your journey.
There are many ways to boost your SAT score, from practicing on your own to taking an in-person or online SAT prep course. The most important thing to keep in mind is taking your time with prep and not waiting until the last minute.
The sooner you prepare for your SATs, the better the odds are that you’ll be able to achieve your perfect SAT score that will help you get into the college of your choice.
What Is a Perfect SAT Score?
The highest SAT score possible is 1600, and the minimum score is 400. Your total score is determined by combining your evidence-based reading and writing section and mathematics section scores. Both sections are scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points.
When taking the SAT, you’ll get a certain number of questions correct, and this total makes up your raw score on the reading, writing, and math sections. Your raw scores from each section are then converted into the SAT scaled score, which ranges from 200 to 800 points.
You’ll find each section on your SAT is scaled in 10-point increments. This approach means it’s possible to get a 200, a 210, a 220, and all of the way up to 800, ten points at a time. Here are the key takeaways about achieving the SAT max score:
- The new perfect SAT score is 1600
- SATs are scored on a scale of 10-point increments
- There is no way to score a 0 on the SAT
- SAT scores range from 400 to 1600 points
- There are only two SAT sections (Reading/Writing and Mathematics)
Getting the highest SAT score possible takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and not many people each year achieve this distinguished honor. However, you can optimize your SAT testing skills to get the top SAT score possible with the right preparation.
How Many People Get a Perfect SAT Score?
Earning a perfect SAT score of 1600 isn’t easy, even if you take SAT lessons. In 2022, the average SAT score was 1051. This number comprises nearly 2.2 million test-takers in the United States who earned an average reading score of 528 and an average math score of 523.
The answer varies from year to year when it comes to how many people get a perfect SAT score. Basically, you’re looking at the top 1% of test-takers. Those individuals score between 1550 and 1600 on the SAT scoring scale.
In 2020, the top 1% of test-takers included approximately 22,000 people. So at most, several thousand people each year achieve an SAT max score of 1600.
Even if you achieve your perfect SAT score, it is not the only determining factor in getting into the college of your choice. Instead, admissions boards will look at several things to get a full picture and decide whether you’re right for their school.
Some things that will determine your college acceptance outside of your SAT score include:
- Your grades in college prep (AP) classes
- All admissions test scores
- The difficulty of your curriculum
- Your overall GPA
- Extracurricular activities and interests
- Your interest in the university
- Your college essay or writing sample
- Quality letters of recommendation
- Your ACT score
- Your class rank
As you can see, while getting your perfect SAT score is an important factor, there are many other things colleges look at when considering accepting you for their school. The best students are well-rounded, so being involved in sports, music, or other activities can make up for weaknesses in other areas of your application.
What Is The Best SAT Score?
When you’re asking this question, the cut-and-dry answer is a perfect 1600 SAT score. However, that’s not a realistic goal for most people. Instead, you can ask: What is a good SAT score?
While the answer here still varies from person to person, there are a few ways to look at it, but the bottom line is that a good SAT score is one that helps you get into the college of your choice.
You’re probably wondering how to get a perfect SAT score. While nothing can guarantee that, most schools aren’t looking for a perfect 1600 SAT score. Instead, you should have a specific score in mind you know will get you into your desired school.
There are also many ways you can prepare to take the SATs, so if you’re wondering how to get a high SAT score, this section is for you. Here are some tried-and-true ways to get your top SAT score:
Work on Building Your Vocabulary
This tactic is something you can do on your own every day. A robust vocabulary preps you for the SATs in a few ways, but vocabulary can be a challenge depending on your strengths and learning style. You’ll need to have a firm grasp of English from the essential reading section to writing your essay when you try for your perfect SAT score.
The best way to build up your vocabulary on your own is to read, read, read. Whenever you come across a word you don’t know, make sure to look it up and memorize the definition.
You can also look over practice exams to see which words they used in the past and make sure to memorize any definitions you don’t know. A great way to go about this is to create flashcards with the words’ definitions on the back and practice regularly. It can be easy to memorize a definition and then forget it later.
Read and Write as Much as Possible
Along the same lines, achieving your perfect SAT score depends on your ability to read and write well. Reading in preparation for your SAT helps you learn new vocabulary and boosts your analysis and comprehension skills, which the exam will test in the reading section.
To help yourself study, read a variety of different materials, including articles and short essays. Each time you finish, try to summarize the piece in your own words. This strategy will help bolster your writing skills and will get you thinking about what you just wrote.
Use Practice Tests and Study Materials
Part of getting your perfect SAT score is taking advantage of all of the available prep materials, including practice tests. They are particularly helpful if you take them under realistic conditions, including proper timing.
Remember, there are a lot of variables that could come up on test day — maybe someone forgets to turn their phone off, or you’re a little under the weather. Having first-hand practice of what it will be like is extremely valuable because you know what to expect and can better adjust to any disruptions on test day.
You can also find an abundance of study material online and in bookstores. Many companies specialize in SAT prep and offer comprehensive test-taking tips and practice questions. These materials may also come as part of an SAT prep course you take online or in-person.
Testing anxiety is an enemy of any test-taker, and the best way to decrease your stress is to avoid cramming at the last minute. Cramming the night before a test does little to boost your score. Instead, it will elevate your stress and make matters worse on test day.
To optimize your SAT score, start preparing months (if not more) in advance. This approach allows the material to sink in so you can absorb it and apply it on test day.
Always Show Your Work in the Math Section
Another way to get your perfect SAT score is to show your work in the math section. This explicit expression is particularly helpful when your mind is running in different directions, or you’re rushing. Slow down and take a breath while you write out your work.
Showing your work can give you time to remember necessary formulas or other details that will lead you to the correct answer. You’re also more likely to catch mistakes by writing things down, so even if you think a problem is simple, writing out your work is always helpful.
Additionally, writing in the math section allows you to see aspects or patterns you may not have noticed at first.
Underlining parts of the diagram, labeling where you need to, and drawing clarifying images can help make things simpler and clearer so you can come up with the correct answer. It also keeps your brain working and helps you keep your stress low on test day.
Always Consider the Counter Argument in Your Writing Section
It may sound counter-intuitive to introduce an opposing viewpoint into your SAT essay, but actually, it shows you’re a critical thinker. You don’t need to harp on the opposing view in your essay, but you should acknowledge it and give it some merit before driving home your perspective.
This approach will help you get the highest SAT score possible when combined with your math and reading sections.