What’s a good SAT Score? Are your SAT scores good enough to get into a tier 1 college? How does your state compare?
Taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test, also known as the SAT, is one of the most important—and anxiety-provoking—experiences for the college-bound student. Universities use these scores to make better decisions in the admission process since grades are not the only factor in predicting long-term success after high school. Students understand that high SAT scores equal more opportunities in the college selection process; higher scores are more likely to get them accepted into the colleges or universities of their choice.
The good news is that the graduating class of 2009 is considered to be the most diverse group in history to take the SAT: 1,530,128 college-bound seniors took the SAT that year. Females comprised 53.5 percent of the test-taking group. Males made up 46.5 percent. 40.0% of all test takers were minorities, with a total of 612,666 minority students taking the test. 25.2% of all minorities reported that English is not their first language, up from 18.3 percent in 1999.
In the same sample group, 36.1% reported that their parents had a high school education or less. These findings are optimistic and indicate that more students are seeking higher education after high school than previous generations.
The purpose of the SAT is to measure how test takers analyze and solve problems and consists of the three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 2005, a writing section was added, which increased the total possible score from 1600 in previous years to 2400.
The SAT takes three hours and 45 minutes to complete and consists of these sections:
Math: 70 minutes. Multiple choice. Emphasis on math skills up through Algebra II. Score: 200-800. Over a 10-year span, math scores were four points higher in the 2009 group, with an average overall score of 515.
Critical Reading: 70 minutes. Multiple choice. Score: 200-800. The average overall score in critical reading averaged 501, one point lower than the average score in 2008.
Writing: Multiple choice and student writing sample. 60 minutes. Score: 200-800. The writing scores were also down one percent from 2008, with an average score of 494.
Of all the students who took the test, those in Iowa had the highest test average at 1215. Minnesota followed second with 1205. Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota took third, fourth, and fifth places with only a 7 point difference between all scores: 1198, 1198, and 1191, respectively.
District of Columbia scored the lowest at 925, followed by Maine (935), Hawaii (983), Georgia (984), and South Carolina (985).
These findings also indicate that students who took advanced placement and honors courses scored an average of 60 points higher on the SAT in 2009. Because the SAT measures skills—as well as how well students can apply these skills—college-bound, high school students should include demanding honors and advanced placement courses in their high school curriculum’s.