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A Simple (But Useful) 2021 SAT Score Guide: High, Low, & So-So Scores

Group of high school students discuss 2021 SAT scores.
Your child’s 2021 SAT scores have arrived! But, is their SAT score good enough for their dream college? To get a better sense of your child’s SAT score compared to the other 1.5 million students, we’ve combed through the 2021 test-taker data for you. Check out how your child’s 2021 SAT score stacks up.

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For high school juniors and seniors across the United States, the peak excitement of the 2021 SAT season has come and gone. Diligent students applying to the best colleges they can are now wondering: is my SAT score good or bad? And for those hoping to retake the exam in the spring for better marks: what’s a good 2021 SAT score? These questions are loaded, but wholly understandable. So, what does your score mean? 

First things first: A 2021 SAT Score Report    

In 2021, roughly 1.5 million high schoolers in America took the SAT exam. Out of all of those students, only 687,305 took the SAT Essay portion (approximately 46%.) So, give yourself a pat on the back if you took the SAT with the Essay-writing portion in 2021, you’re in the minority, leading the herd, and we’re proud of you!  

The mean score on all 2021 SAT exams was 1060, with a standard deviation of 217. SAT scores fit a nearly ideal bell-curve distribution, so more than two-thirds of test takers scored between 860-1280. But this score is actually the sum of two other scores: your evidence-based reading and writing score and math score. You should definitely check your SAT score report to see how many points you earned in each section. Knowing your score in each category not only paints you a clear picture of how well you performed, but these scores are your roadmap to studying and future test prep to get to the college of your dreams. 

2021 SAT Math Section

The average score on the 2021 SAT Math section was a 528. That means the average test-taker got about 26 out of 40 math questions correct.

If you know your math section score, you can divide it by 20 to obtain the number of questions you answered correctly. More importantly, this means that for every question you get right you get 20 points. You can improve your SAT score by 100 points by getting 5 more questions right on your retake. A 100 point improvement is very significant, and can mean all of the difference in college admissions and scholarship opportunities. The SAT tutors at Tip-Top Brain can get you the score boost you need for your dream college, click here to enroll in Tip-Top Brain’s private SAT tutoring (online or in-person).

Bonus: Click here for Tip-Top Brain’s tips for how to do better on math tests.

2021 SAT ERW Section

As for the 2021 ERW section, the average score was 533.

As for the 2021 ERW section, the average score was 533. The average number of reading questions students got correct was 26 out of 40, as for writing and language the average number of questions right was 27 out of 40. You can pretend each question is worth 10 points, so similar to in the math section of the exam, by getting 5 additional questions right in both the reading, writing and language sections, you’ll boost your score by 100 points. Doing it all on your own can be hard, so refer to our study tips or book one of our expert private SAT tutors.

All in all, if you’ve taken the SAT once, you’re one step closer to your target score and dream college. If your SAT score is sitting somewhere in the 960-1180 range, you did about as well as most of your peers. However, for many students, doing average on the SAT does not necessarily ensure them admission into their target colleges.

Your college application is primarily comprised of three things: your essay, your SAT score, and your GPA/transcript. During your junior or senior year of high school, it’s hard to make a significant change to a GPA you’ve earned over the course of years. There’s much more opportunity to quickly and drastically improve your essay and SAT score.

To improve your college applications fast, and increase your chances of being admitted to your college of choice, try your hardest to knock the SAT out of the park. SAT scores can be improved by hundreds of points in mere weeks, you just need to be brave enough to start. As for your essay, submit it here for expert essay review and feedback from our all-star writing instructors.

Group of high school students discuss 2021 SAT scores.

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