Originally Posted: Feb 23, 2017
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2017
Test Prep Expert
Is there any way to tell if your SAT or ACT score is “good,” in a general sense? I’m happy to tell you there is. In fact, there are a few different ways to measure the goodness of your score. However, it's important to remember that "good" is ultimately a relative thing, and there's a little more to it...
One measure of a good SAT or ACT score is your exam percentile, which shows how well you did compared to other test takers. To see how percentiles work and to find your percentile, check out these charts for ACT percentiles or SAT percentiles (old and new). If your score places you in the 75th percentile or better, you’ve got a pretty good score by the standards of most colleges and universities. But it’s also important to compare your scores to the test score standards for the specific colleges and universities you’re looking at…
Individual school standards
SAT and ACT requirements at individual schools can vary a lot. You should look at the schools you’re considering applying to and see what the middle 25th–75th percentile is for the students they accept. This information is usually available on a given college’s website, though you can also ask your admission counselor if you have trouble finding it. There are also some tools to help you figure out what a good score is for your target schools. For example, the makers of the SAT have a college search tool that lets you look up universities by their SAT and ACT score requirements. (You may also want to check out these tables for the middle 50% score ranges on the SAT and the ACT at America’s top 100 universities.)
A word about superscores for both ACT and SAT
If you take the ACT or SAT more than once, some colleges and universities will calculate your best score based on your “superscore.” To make a long story short, your superscores are based on your best individual section scores between multiple score reports. (You'll find an in-depth explanation for ACT superscores here and a guide to SAT superscores here.) If your school accepts superscores, this may give you a shot at having a better score on when the admission team reviews your application.