November 2012 Sat Essay Score

If you took the SAT from 2011-2015, you may be wondering what your percentile score is on the SAT. Is a 1500 on the SAT in 2011 the same percentile score as a 1500 in 2015? Do percentile scores change over time?

In this article, I will explain SAT percentile scores, how they change, and I'll provide the percentile scores for SAT combined scores and section scores for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.

Note: Go to this article instead if you're looking for historical percentiles for the new SAT (tests taken March 2016 and later).

 

What Are Percentile Scores?

Percentile scores reveal how well you did in relation to other people. If you scored in the 99th percentile, then you did better than 99% of the people who took the test. If you scored in the 50th percentile, then you scored higher than 50% of the people who took the test.

The College Board determines its percentile scores annually from the scores of college-bound high school seniors who took the SAT. The higher your percentile score, the better you did relative to other high school seniors

 

Do Percentile Scores Change?

Generally, percentile scores for equivalent SAT scores stay the same from year to year. For example, a combined SAT score of 2180 was the 98th percentile in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

However, percentile scores for the same combined and section scores can change very slightly. A combined score of 1990 was the 92nd percentile for 2014, but it was the 93rd percentile in 2011-2013 and 2015. Similarly, a score of 630 on Critical Reading was the 86th percentile in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015, but it was the 87th percentile in 2012.

The SAT does try to utilize its scoring system so that equivalent SAT scores are indicative of the same percentile scores and skill level, regardless of when the test was taken. The purpose of the SAT is to provide a valid way to compare students. A score of 1600 from March 2015 is supposed to be equivalent to a 1600 from April 2015 or April 2007

 

How Should You Use This Data and Why Is It Important?

Your percentile score is the most straightforward way to determine if you got a good or bad SAT score. If you scored higher than the majority of test-takers, then you did well. However, when you apply to a specific college, you're being compared to the other students who apply to that school. Most colleges publicize their 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores. If you want to be competitive for admission at a certain college, then your target score should be around the school's 75th percentile score.

Also, percentile scores help put your scores in context. There may not seem to be much difference between a 680 on the Critical Reading section and a 600 on Math, but the Critical Reading score is the 94th percentile while the Math score is the 75th (according to 2015 SAT percentiles). Raising each section score by 100 points would raise the Critical Reading percentile ranking by 5 points but the Math by 18. If you're considering retaking the SAT, your percentile scores can help you determine how you should prioritize your time.

Similarly, a small composite score increase can have a huge impact on your percentile score if you received a middle score. For example, in 2015, a 1500 was the 52nd percentile but a 1750 was the 78th. Raising your score 250 points can raise your score from average to among the top 1/4 of test-takers.

Finally, seeing the percentile scores for multiple years shows how little variance there is between percentile scores for the same SAT composite or section score in different years. If you're worried about how an older SAT score stacks up with more recent scores, take a look at these charts to get an idea of how it compares.

 

 

 

Composite Score Percentiles, 2015 - 2011

Score2015 Percentile2014 Percentile2013 Percentile2012 Percentile2011 Percentile
240099+99+99+99+99+ 
239099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
238099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
237099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
236099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
235099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
234099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
233099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
232099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
231099+99+99+99+ 99+ 
2300999999+9999+ 
229099999999 99+ 
228099999999 99 
227099999999 99 
226099999999 99 
225099999999 99 
224099999999 99 
223099999999 99 
2220999999 99 99 
2210989898 99 99 
2200989898 98 98 
2190989898 98 98 
2180989898 98 98 
2170989898 98 98 
2160989898 98 98 
2150979797 97 98
2140979797 97 97 
2130979797 97 97 
2120979797 97 97 
2110979697 97 97
2100969696 96 96 
2090969696 96 96 
2080969696 96 96 
2070959595 96 96 
2060959595 95 95 
2050959595 95 95 
2040949494 95 95 
2030949494 94 94 
2020949494 94 94 
2010939393 93 93 
2000939393 93 93 
1990939293 93 93 
1980929292 92 92 
1970929292 92 92 
1960919191 91 91 
1950919191 91 91 
1940909090 90 90 
1930909090 90 90 
1920898989 89 89 
1910898989 89 89 
1900888888 88 88 
1890888788 88 88 
1880878787 87 87 
1870878686 87 86 
1860868686 86 86 
1850858585 85 85 
1840858484 85 84 
1830848484 84 84 
1820838383 83 83 
1810838282 82 82 
1800828182 82 82 
1790818181 81 81 
1780808080 80 80 
1770807979 79 79 
1760797878 79 78 
1750787778 78 78 
1740777777 77 77 
1730767676 76 76 
1720757575 75 75 
1710747474 74 74 
1700747373 73 73 
1690737272 72 72 
1680727171 71 71 
1670717070 70 70 
1660706969 69 69 
1650696868 68 68 
1640686767 67 67 
1630676666 66 66 
1620666565 65 65 
1610656464 64 64 
1600646363 63 63 
1590626262 62 62 
1580616161 61 61 
1570606060 60 59 
1560595958 59 58 
1550585757 57 57 
1540575656 56 56 
1530565555 55 55 
1520555454 54 53 
1510535352 53 52 
1500525251 51 51 
1490515050 50 50 
1480504949 49 49 
1470494848 48 47 
1460484746 47 46 
1450464645 45 45 
1440454444 44 44 
1430444343 43 42 
1420434242 42 41 
1410424140 40 40 
1400404039 39 39 
1390393838 38 38 
1380383737 37 36 
1370373636 36 35 
1360363534 34 34 
1350343433 33 33 
1340333232 32 32 
1330323131 31 30 
1320313030 30 29 
1310302929 29 28 
1300292827 27 27 
1290282726 26 26 
1280272625 25 25 
1270262524 24 24 
1260252423 23 23 
1250242322 22 22 
1240222221 21 21 
1230222120 20 20 
1220212019 19 19 
1210201918 18 18 
1200191817 17 17 
1190181717 16 16 
1180171616 16 15 
1170161515 15 14 
1160151414 14 14 
1150141413 13 13 
1140141313 12 12 
1130131212 11 11 
1120121111 10 11 
1110121111 10 10 
1100111010 
10901010
10801099
1070988
106098
105087
1040777
103076
1020766
101066
100065
99055
98055
97054
960444
95044
94043
93033
92033
91033
90032
89022
88022
87022
86022
85022
84021
83011
82011
81011
80011
79011
78011
770111- 1- 
760111- 1- 1- 
750111- 1- 1- 
7401-1-1- 1- 1- 
7301-1-1- 1- 1- 
7201-1-1- 1- 1- 
7101-1-1- 1- 1- 
7001-1-1- 1- 1- 
6901-1-1- 1- 1- 
6801-1-1- 1- 1- 
6701-1-1- 1- 1- 
6601-1-1- 1- 1- 
6501-1-1- 1- 1- 
6401-1-1- 1- 1- 
6301-1-1- 1- 1- 
6201-1-1- 1- 1- 
6101-1-1- 1- 1- 
600----------

 

 

Section Score Percentiles

 

Critical Reading

Score2015 Percentile2014 Percentile2013 Percentile2012 Percentile2011 Percentile
80099999999+99+
7909999999999
7809999999999
7709999999999
7609999999999
7509898989898
7409898989898
7309797979797
7209697979797
7109696969696
7009695959595
6909594949494
6809493949393
6709292929292
6609191919191
6509090909090
6408988888888
6308686868786
6208484848484
6108282828382
6008080808180
5907877777878
5807575757675
5707372737373
5607070707170
5506766676767
5406464646464
5306160616160
5205757575858
5105454545554
5005150515151
4904847484847
4804444444444
4704140414140
4603737373737
4503534343434
4403131313130
4302827272727
4202525242524
4102221212121
4001919181918
3901716161616
3801514141414
3701312121211
3601110101010
35099898
34087777
33076666
32055555
31054444
30044433
29033333
28033322
27022222
26022222
25022211
24011111
23011111
22011111
21011111
200----------

 

 

Math

Score2015 Percentile2014 Percentile2013 Percentile2012 Percentile2011 Percentile
8009999999999
7909999999999
7809999999899
7709898989898
7609797979798
7509797979797
7409696969696
7309595969696
7209595959595
7109494949494
7009393939393
6909291929292
6809090909090
6708988898989
6608787878787
6508685858586
6408483838384
6308282818282
6208079798080
6107777777877
6007575757475
5907373737273
5807170707070
5706867676767
5606664656464
5506262626262
5405959585858
5305655555555
5205352525252
5105049484948
5004645454546
4904442424241
4804140383938
4703736353536
4603433323232
4503130292929
4402827262626
4302524232323
4202221212120
4101919181817
4001716161615
3901514141313
3801312121111
3701110101010
36099988
35087777
34076666
33065555
32054444
31043333
30033322
29022222
28022222
27011111
26011111
25011111
24011111
23011111
2201-1-1-1-1-
2101-1-1-1-1-
200----------

 

 

Writing

Score2015 Percentile2014 Percentile2013 Percentile2012 Percentile2011 Percentile
80099+99+99+99+99+
7909999999999
7809999999999
7709999999999
7609999999999
7509898989898
7409898989898
7309897989897
7209797979797
7109696969696
7009696969696
6909595959595
6809494949494
6709393939393
6609292929292
6509190909090
6408989898989
6308888888888
6208686868686
6108484848484
6008282828282
5908080808080
5807878787878
5707676767575
5607473737372
5507170707070
5406868686767
5306565656464
5206262616161
5105958585858
5005655555554
4905352515251
4804948484847
4704645454444
4604241414140
4503938373837
4403534343434
4303231303130
4202928272727
4102525242424
4002221212121
3901919181818
3801716161615
3701414131313
3601212111111
3501010999
34088887
33077666
32065555
31054444
30044333
29033333
28032222
27022222
26022211
25021111
24011111
23011111
22011111
21011111-
200----------

 

What's Next?

Check out these posts on what SAT scores measure and if you need SAT scores to transfer colleges.

Finally, learn how to calculate your SAT score.

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Can you tell me what Ryan’s score is based on the following:

  • Reading 560
  • Math       710
  • Writing    660
  • (Mulitple Choice 67)
  • (Essay 8)

I’ve been told you don’t count writing, I’m confused.

I received this email last week and realized how confusing SAT score reports can be.  It is not as simple as looking at one score and comparing it to the national average or the average scores at a particular college.  Let’s take a look at what SAT scores mean.

Average SAT Scores

It helps to know that each portion of the SAT is designed to yield a bell curve distribution of grades with a majority of students in the middle and few on the highest and lowest ends. Most students will score between 400 and 600 per section and the national average is right around 500.

So all of Ryan’s scores are above the national average.  But he probably wants to compare his results to the average scores at the colleges on his list.  If Ryan is interested in attending Wake Forest University, he would find the middle half of accepted students scored between 620 and 700 in SAT reading and 630 and 710 in math.  So his math score is close to the top 25% of admitted students and his reading score is below what 75% of admitted students scored.  These results alone don’t tell us if Ryan will or won’t be admitted to Wake Forest.  But they do provide some important information and hopefully some motivation for Ryan to study more vocabulary and work to improve his reading scores.

SAT Writing (And All the Sub-Scores)

Writing was added to the SAT in March of 2005.  Some colleges use writing for admissions; others don’t.  Some schools use the writing score itself and others will look at the actual essay from the SAT.  I wish I could offer a solid guideline to follow for whether SAT writing “counts”, but you will have to research this on a school by school and program by program basis.

So what about the three different writing scores? What do those mean?  The “official” score is the one between 200 and 800, in Ryan’s case a 660.  The other scores are sub-scores indicating performance on the multiple choice and essay components.  I can honestly say I don’t know any college or scholarship program that utilizes sub-scores.

Here’s how writing sub-scores can help.  A multiple choice of 67 is generally equal to a 670.  In Ryan’s case his actual writing score was a 660, meaning he was very close to his multiple-choice scores, so his essay didn’t change his results.  Someone with a multiple choice score of a 67 and an overall score of 590 would have an essay score that lowered his overall results.  I use sub-scores to see if there is a particular aspect of the writing section a student needs to develop.

1600 or 2400 Scale

Many colleges and scholarship programs still use the old 1600 point scale where only SAT reading and math count.  (1600 is a perfect score of 800 on both.)  Other schools are using all three sections where the maximum score is 2400. Ryan has a 1270 out of 1600 and a 1930 out of 2400.

You need to know how scores are calculated for each application you intend to submit.  If the scholarship program asks for students to have a minimum of 1300 on the SAT, you can assume it is on the 1600 scale because the national average would be 1500 out of 2400 and a scholarship program wouldn’t set a standard below the average.  In Ryan’s case, he is close to the 1300 requirement with a 1270, but still needs 30 more points.  (More motivation to study and retake the test.)

Using the SAT Score Report

The scores provided by the College Board should be seen as a breakdown of all the components you need.  The challenge is determining what pieces you need to add together for each college, scholarship, honors program, and special opportunity to which your student may apply.  If after doing a little reading and research, you still can’t understand what scores a particular institution will use, feel free to pick up the phone and ask.

 

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