You took the new Digital SAT, and now the wait begins to receive your SAT scores. But once you get your scores back, what do they mean? We all know the importance of a high SAT score, but let’s fully understand how the scoring works to motivate you to prepare hard to increase your overall score. 

How is the SAT scored? 

The range for the total SAT score is 400-1600. Your SAT score combines two scores with ranges from 200-800: Reading & Writing and Math. Scores are calculated based only on your correct answers. Importantly, you aren’t penalized for incorrect answers, so guess rather than leave a question blank.


Each of the sections (Reading & Writing and Math) has multiple subscores to help you better understand your scores. Each of the subscores ranges from 1-15.

Reading subscores: Information and Ideas, Craft and Structure, Expression of Ideas, and Standard English Conventions.

Math subscores: Algebra, Advanced Math, Problem-Solving and Data Analysis, and Geometry and Trigonometry.

Cross-Test Scores

The SAT also provides two cross-test scores: Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science. These scores are calculated on questions across the sections in these subject areas and range from 10-40. 

What is the average SAT score? 

According to The College Board, the average SAT score in 2023 was 1028. While average scores can be a starting point to see how you compare, it’s typically better to compare your scores to the average scores at the schools you want to attend. Check your scores against the college minimums for attendance (usually a 20 at most public universities), and the scores that receive merit scholarships. After all, the goal is to attend college and graduate with minimal debt.

Section National Average Score (2023)
Reading & Writing 480
Math 530

When will you get your SAT scores?

The College Board typically returns test scores for the SAT within 2-3 weeks of your test date

What is the SAT score range? 

SAT scores range from 400 to 1600. The SAT reported the percentage of students who scored in each score range in 2023. The highest percentage of students scored in the range of 800-990 and only 8% of the over two million students who took the test scored in the top range of 1400-1600. Only a small percentage (less than ten thousand) of students scored between 400-590.

SAT 2023 scores

How do you send scores to colleges?

You can send up to four score reports to colleges for free. Typically, you select schools to receive scores when you register for the test, but you can also add more up to nine days after the test date (before you receive your scores). You can send these additional score reports for $14 each. SAT fee waivers allow you to send as many score reports as you wish—for free. If you think you may be eligible for a fee waiver, work with your school counselor to submit the request. 

How do you increase your SAT score?

The right preparation and lots of practice are two ways you can work to increase your SAT score! Look for SAT prep with effective strategies and lots of practice! Not all test prep is created equal, so make sure you do your research, read reviews, and look past flashy guarantees. 

OnToCollege SAT Prep is a fun, engaging video course that teaches you strategies for the test and also provides practice materials and detailed solution videos so you can constantly improve and learn from your mistakes! And don’t forget to take the SAT multiple times—ideally twice your junior year and twice your senior year. 

Understanding more about your SAT scores can help show you how you might improve your score. With the right preparation and strategies, you can increase your score and graduate college with minimal debt! Want to increase your SAT score? Take a look at our SAT prep courses or try the SAT free trial.