# Understanding SAT Scores

Understanding SAT scores is easy. The exam consists of three parts: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. The scores from each section can range from 200 to 800, so the best possible total score is 2400. The average score for each section is roughly 500, so the average total score is about 1500.

Understanding SAT scores is important because your scores tell college admissions staff how you did compared with other students who took the test. For example, if you scored close to the average, about a 1500, admissions staff would know that you scored as well as about half of the students who took the test nationally.

SAT percentiles compare your scores to those of other students who took the test. Say, for example, your math score is 500. If the state percentile for a score of 500 is 50, then this means you did better than 50 percent of the state's college-bound seniors.