1500 SAT Score | Is It Outstanding Compared to the National Average?

College admissions are based on more than a good SAT score alone. Nevertheless, a decent average SAT score is nonetheless essential for getting your application through the door.  The more prestigious the college or university, the greater the importance of achieving good test scores to be proud of.

For obvious reasons, top universities like Princeton and Harvard are only willing to consider test takers that come out within one of the top percentiles that year.

But what exactly constitutes a ‘good’ SAT score right now? Assuming you have met all other requirements with a solid GPA and an academically impressive track record, what type of score does a student need to more or less guarantee their successful admission? Look here to find out how to accomplish a perfect score on SAT.

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More specifically, is 1500 a good SAT score?

This is where the difference between a good SAT score and a great score comes into the mix. Ranking within the top 75th percentile is all well and good, but to propel yourself beyond the national average SAT score and into the 90th percentile is something else entirely.

Precisely what you will accomplish with 1500 SAT score - an exceptional academic achievement comparatively few students accomplish each year. Of course, you can't even start thinking about such high scores if you are not equipped with the best possible prep books we reviewed, or prep courses we covered, as well.

Comparing SAT Scores to National Averages

When a standardized test is used by schools, colleges, and other academies as something of entry requirements, national average scores are what matters most, so it's only natural you should know what average SAT scores by state are. Assessing an application based on raw numbers alone is not enough, as the figures are only relevant when compared to other test takers the same year.

In a figurative (though perhaps OTT) example, let’s say of those high school students taking the sat exam this year, almost everyone ranks within the 75th percentile. In addition, a disproportionate number of people taking the SAT hit the elusive 1500 score threshold. If this was the case, 1500 would not be considered a particularly impressive achievement by schools and colleges in general.

By contrast, if the same year saw a disproportionate number of students scoring less than 1000, then a sat score of 1500 would be exceptional. You would rank among the best test takers in the country when compared to the annual average sat score, and subsequently, have your choice of top colleges and universities and other schools

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Of course, these are somewhat exaggerated examples but are nonetheless the best way of understanding how admissions based on scores work. If you have your sights set on a specific school, city, or institution, you need to score above the national average that year.

Though to be frank, hitting 1500 sat score will most definitely catch the eye of any university in any academic year.

What is the Current National Average Sat Score?

1500 sat score would not just be a good score by today’s standards - 1500 would be an absolutely outstanding score. Most successfully admitted students at top institutions would be lucky to score anything near this, as 1500 would rank you within one of the highest percentile brackets of all.

As things stand right now, the average SAT composite score (the total combined score from all SAT subject tests) is around 1060. This means that scoring 1400 sat score would give you a major advantage over many students applying to top institutions in case you wonder if 1400 on the SAT is good enough. Take this up to 1450 and you find yourself within the prestigious 97th percentile, whereas a sat score of 1500 would have you knocking on the door of the 99th percentile.

Having successfully outperformed 99% of other candidates, you have a great chance of getting into one of the best colleges or universities in the country.

Here is a brief overview of how students are ranking right now in the percentile system in both the Math and EBRW portions of the test:

SAT Score (Out of 800)- Math Percentile - EBRW Percentile

SAT Score (Out of 800)

Math Percentile

EBRW Percentile





































As you can see, the proportion of students that take the test who achieve a combined score of 1500 is comparatively low. While there will always be slight fluctuations around the mid-reaches of the table from one year to the next, major shifts within the top percentiles simply do not happen.

more than fifty percent

Evidence and research, therefore, suggest that by scoring 1500 on your SAT in any academic year, you are pretty much golden. Though of course, you also need to consider the rest of your application - your GPA, how you answer the questions on your application form, your general academic achievements, and the number of people applying for the same placements at your target college.

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Dealing with An SAT Score That Is Too Low

If you have your sights set on a 1500 score, your work and study rate during the prep process will need to be high, to say the least. Not many students are able to put in the kind of graft necessary to get this kind of result, though some are (of course) just naturally gifted.

Scoring 1200, 1300, or 1400 on the SAT would be considered great by most students with their sights set on college applications. Check out, for example, if a low SAT score can get you into a law school, or where can a SAT scorer of 1200 apply. However, it is understandable that for others, to take the test and come out with less than 1500 sat is unacceptable.

Again, if you have your sights set on somewhere like Princeton University or MIT university, anything lower than 1500 probably is not going to help get you through the door.

In the case of the latter, there are various steps a student can take to improve their chances (see here how to improve ypur SAT score by 200 points). Not only is the SAT far from a one time only affair, but considering the other things that could support your application is also important.

Here’s how to deal with an SAT score you are not happy with:

1.Take the Test Again

Firstly, you could simply sit a new test and do your best to get a better score this time around. Review your strengths and weaknesses from the previous test, book yourself a new SAT and do what it takes to ensure you get 1500 you need. Prior to this, do as much test prep taking as many practice tests as you can is essential.


2. Apply Regardless

If there is a major difference between your score and the scores considered acceptable by your target university, you may need to work on your score. If the difference is relatively minor, you still have a good chance of getting in if the rest of your application is in order. Act on your instincts and if you feel you still have a shot, apply regardless.

3. Target Different Colleges

This is technically the nuclear option, which in the case of those within the range of 1500 is not usually necessary. Nevertheless, if it becomes apparent that your target schools are completely out of your reach, you may need to target different schools. Though you should still have every chance of getting into a good college or university with a test score considerably below the 1500 threshold.

different college

In Summary…

At no point in the history of the SAT has 1500 been considered anything but an extremely high score. Hit the 1500 mark (or anywhere near) and you are practically guaranteed to rank within the best percentile group for that academic year.

If you are willing to put in the necessary prep and get your act together far in advance of the test, a 1500 score could be well within reach. Though if you plan on coasting through the whole thing as effortlessly as possible, you may need to rethink where you see yourself studying next!

Leonard Haggin

I created this site to help students like you learn from the experiences my team had learned during our extensive academic careers. I am now studying Law at Stanford, but I also make time to write articles here in order to help all you fellow students advance in your academic careers and beyond. I hope our efforts on Study Prep Lounge will arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome whatever trial or test you find in front of you.

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