How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (2023)

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (1)

The maximum score on the SAT is a 1600. Out of the two million students who take the test every year, only about 500 get the highest possible SAT score. This elusive perfect score catapults you to the top of high school academic achievement and can be a big boost to your college applications.

I scored perfect scores on the SAT. I actually scored two perfect scores—a 1600 in 2004 when I was in high school, and a 2400 in March 2014 when I took it ten years later.

Most of the advice out there about how to get a perfect score come from people who didn't get perfect scores. In this exclusive article, I'll be breaking down exactly what it takes, and the ruthless techniques I used to get a perfect score.

Quick Disclaimer

Let me start with a few disclaimers.

I'm a humble person, and I don't like talking about my accomplishments without good reason. I know a lot of you are looking to score the highest SAT score possible, so I've written this guide to help you get there. So whatever I say here, please take it as advice from a mentor eager to help, not as a braggart strutting his stuff.

Also, a last note: I co-founded the company PrepScholar—we create online SAT/ACT prep programs that adapt to you and your strengths and weaknesses. I want to emphasize that you do NOT need to buy a full prep program to get a great score. If you follow the principles below and are very driven, you'll do just fine.

I do believe, however, that PrepScholar is the best SAT program available right now, especially if you find it hard to organize your prep and don't know what to study. I'll refer to decisions we made in creating the program to flesh out principles I discuss below.

What Perfect SAT Scores Look Like

For full transparency, let me show you my personal score report. This is a screenshot from my College Board SAT Organizer:

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (2)

I took the two SATs 10 years apart. The 2004 test was in an old format of the SAT and was scored out of 1600. I took the new test in 2014 and scored a 2400.

(Yes, I took the SAT as an adult. Besides getting funny looks from high school students, I wanted to go through the experience anew so I knew what my students at PrepScholar were going through.)

So that you can see in bleeding detail how I got the 2400, I've attached my unofficial detailed score report from the College Board. You can see exactly how many questions I missed and read my essay (my handwriting could use some work).

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (3)

Using my score report as an example, let's examine what it takes to get a perfect SAT score. While this score report talks about the Old 2400 SAT, the principles are still the same. In the current SAT, there are still Reading, Math, and Writing sections, and you still need to do EXTREMELY well on them to get a perfect score.

What It Takes to Get a 1600 on the SAT

At the top end of the scoring range, the SAT is not forgiving. You need to aim for perfection.

Specifically, here's what you need to do in each section:

  • In Reading, you can only miss 1 or 2 questions. This depends on the curve for that test. It's best to aim for missing 0 or 1 question. In my test, I missed 1 reading passage question.
  • In Math, you need to get every question correct. No question about it. The curve is unforgiving for Math. Miss 1 question and you won't get an 800 on this section.
  • In Writing, you can sometimes miss 1 question at most. In some tests, you have to get a perfect Writing and Language score to have a shot at an 800.

Essentially, you need to aim for perfection during your prep. If you're consistently missing one or more questions on each section, you're not performing consistently enough to be safe for a 1600. We'll go into more detail about this below.

If you want to confirm my statements here, check out the College Board score charts for official SAT practice tests.

One last question to answer before my actual advice:

But Wait...Are You Just Smart? Will This Advice Work for Me?

You may have heard about top scoring students who just rolled out of bed, strolled to the SAT test center, and scored the highest possible SAT score without any prep.

This was not me. Some people like the above may in fact exist, but they're rare. In high school, I was naturally stronger at math—I participated in math and science competitions—and I could reliably get 800's on the math section.

But my reading and writing needed work. When I started off, I consistently got in the 700 range. Now, this is already pretty high, but it wasn't enough for the top schools I was aiming for. I just wasn't that accustomed to the SAT reading passages and the types of questions they asked.

It took a lot of hard work for me to learn how the SAT works, how it tries to trick students, and how to find a strategy that worked for myself so I could reliably get top scores. My co-founder at PrepScholar had a similar story.

Since I'm older, I also have the benefit of seeing whether my methods worked over time, or just on the SAT. Emphatically, the principles below have worked throughout my academic career.

Here's another example. As an undergraduate in college, I planned to attend medical school, so I had to take the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). In my view, this is a much harder test than the SAT. It covers many more topics: general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology, and verbal reasoning. Furthermore, you're competing with pre-med's across the nation, people who are naturally driven and competing to get into medical school, not just the average high school student.

When I started studying for the MCAT, I scored around the low 30's. The test is scored out of 45, and it's curved very aggressively. Again, this was already well above average, but it wasn't enough for the top medical schools I was going for.

So I worked hard. I put in the time, covered all the subjects I needed to know, and was ruthless about my prep. In the very end, I scored a 44:

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (4)

As the testing organization notes, this is in the 99.9 percentile rank, with 0.0% achieving this score (this figure is rounded). I had multiple medical advisers tell me that they had never seen a score this high before, and there might indeed be fewer than three people per year—or none at all—who get a 44. Scoring this high definitely helped me get into the MD-PhD program at Harvard Medical School and MIT.

I wish I were talented enough to get these test scores naturally without hundreds of hours of hard work. That would be the cooler thing to say. But it wasn't true for me, and it probably won't be true for you either.

With this foundation laid, here's the meat of what I want to say:

What Do You Need to Do to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score?

In broad strokes, it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of smart work, and some amount of luck.

But you've heard this before so just this alone isn't helpful. Let's dig deeper.

You have to want it. Really, really want it.

You need the motivation to push yourself. You need to put SAT prep as one of your top priorities in life, overcoming watching YouTube or hanging out at the mall.

In the darkest of days, when you take a practice test and drop 100 points inexplicably, and your parents are freaking out, and you're worried you're never getting into your top college, you need the inner fire to not get depressed. Instead, you need to pull yourself up and objectively rip apart your mistakes so you don't repeat them.

(Video) How I scored a 1600 on the SAT: My entire journey and tips for improving your score

People don't often mention motivation, but in my view this is one of the most important pieces that differentiate successful people from not, in all aspects of life. It's much more important than just being smart.

Make a list of all the reasons you want to get a perfect score. Write them down. Stare at them when you lose faith.

Want to get into Harvard or an Ivy League school? Want to make up for a bad GPA? Want to prove to your parents that you can beat their expectations? Want to compete with your friends? Want to show up your 3rd-grade teacher who said you would never amount to anything?

That's all good. Anything that drives you from within is a valid reason to work hard.

You'll need this to combat procrastination and laziness. You'll need this to push yourself to execute every strategy I tell you below. If you're not motivated, it's just too easy to brush aside failure and be sloppy about your weaknesses.

In my personal case, beyond the academic benefits, I thought the SAT was a dumb test that was impeding my life. I was angry at test writers who devised tricks to fool students. I approached it like a video game—the SAT and the College Board were bosses that I needed to dominate. Plus, my brother had a near-perfect score, and I wanted to one-up him.

Write down all the reasons you want a perfect score and use it to fuel yourself every study session.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (5)

Exclusive Blog Bonus: We've written a popular free guide on 5 tips to improving your SAT score by 160+ points. Get a free download here.

Step 1: Do High-Quality Practice and Avoid Low-Quality Materials

The SAT is a weird test. It's unlike tests that you've taken throughout school. It presents simple concepts in bizarre ways. This is essentially how the College Board makes the test hard— it takes concepts most students have seen before, twists them to be unfamiliar, and counts on students to screw up.

To excel at this test, you need the highest quality practice materials. Because the SAT has questions that are twisted in a particular way, you need to train in exactly the way they're twisted so you learn the patterns.

As we've said before, by far the best practice material comes directly from the College Board in the form of official SAT practice tests. When I was studying, I devoured every SAT practice test I could find. I took over 15 full-length practice tests and was ruthless about finding my mistakes, as I'll talk about soon.

Just like the mantra about your diet and body, what you put in is what you get out. Trash in, trash out. If you train yourself on questions that don't reflect what's on the SAT, you're going to learn the wrong patterns.

Using bad materials is like training for baseball by playing tee-ball. Yes, if you spend 1000 hours practicing tee-ball, you'll be a tee-ball pro. But when someone pitches a real baseball at you, you're going to freak out—"why is the ball traveling so fast? Why's it so close to my face? Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod."

And then you strike out.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (6)

To be frank, most of the books available on the market are trash. They boast about having a lot of questions, but they're written by people who aren't truly experts on the test. This means the questions don't test concepts in the same way; the answers are sometimes ambiguous; the questions don't trick you in the same way the SAT does.

In my company PrepScholar, we hire only SAT full-scorers and 99 percentile scorers to craft our thousands of test questions. You need to have mastered the test to really understand the intricacies of how the SAT works. We've turned away dozens of applicants who scored below a 1520 since they really don't understand the test well enough.

If you like studying with books, here's my list of the top SAT prep books available. There are some pretty high-quality books written by true experts, though they can get pricey—buying the top five books will cost you at least a hundred dollars.

Collect good prep materials and study using only these.

Step 2: Focus on Quality First, Quantity Second

Now you have a lot of materials.

Some students focus hard on getting through every single page of every book they have. They might not know why they're studying what they're studying, but at least they sure put in a lot of time and effort!

This is the wrong idea. You don't want to pound your head against the wall and use a brute force approach.

Improving your SAT score is about quality first, and quantity second.

It's so tempting to just focus on getting work done, because that's the easy part. Understanding your weaknesses, as we discuss below, is what takes real energy and insight.

Think about it this way—let's say you're learning to throw a football with a perfect spiral. You can pick up a football and, by trial and error, if you throw it 1,000 times, you'll make some progress.

Now imagine you have New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady standing by your side. You throw the ball once, and he corrects your technique. Move your foot back this way, have your hand follow a certain motion, and follow through. You try again, and it's way better.

In throwing 50 balls this way, I'm certain you'd end up doing better than 1,000 by yourself.

I'm not suggesting that Tom Brady is a tutor, and you must have a tutor. You can be your own Tom Brady, and we discuss below how to do that. But you need to make sure you get the most out of your studying and make it as efficient as possible.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (7)

You need your own SAT Tom Brady.

Step 3: Be Ruthless About Understanding Your Mistakes

On the ground level, when you're actually studying, this is by far the most important way you'll succeed over other students.

EVERY mistake you make on a test happens for a reason. If you don't understand EXACTLY why you missed that question, you will make that mistake over and over again.

If you're performing at the 700 level, you're missing around 10% to 15% of all questions. This means you have some consistent errors that are holding back your score.

This is what you need to do:

  • On every practice test or question set that you take, mark EVERY question that you're even 20% unsure about.
  • When you grade your test or quiz, review every single question that you marked, and every incorrect question. This way even if you guessed a question correctly, you'll make sure to review it.
  • In a notebook, write down the gist of the question, why you missed it, and what you'll do to avoid that mistake in the future. Have separate sections by subject and sub-topic (reading—passages vs sentence completion, writing—sentence errors vs improving paragraphs).

It's NOT enough to just think about it and move on. It's NOT enough to just read the answer explanation.

You have to think HARD about why you specifically failed on this question.

(Video) Perfect SAT Scorer Reveals Secrets to Improve SAT Score!

By taking this structured approach to your mistakes, you'll now have a running log of every question you missed, and your reflection on why.

Everyone who wants to get to an 800 on a section has different weaknesses from you. It's important that you discover for yourself what those are.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (8)

No excuses when it comes to your mistakes.

Go Deeper—WHY Did You Miss It?

Now, what are some common reasons that you missed a question? Don't just say, "I didn't know this material." Always take it one step further—what specifically did you miss, and what do you have to improve in the future?

Here are some examples of common reasons you miss a question, and how you take the analysis one step further:

Content: I didn't learn the skill or knowledge needed to answer this question.

One step further: What specific skill do I need to learn, and how will I learn this skill?

Incorrect Approach: I knew the content, but I didn't know how to approach this question.

One step further: How do I solve the question, and is there a general rule that I need to know for the future?

Wrong Guess: I was stuck between two answer choices, and I guessed wrong.

One step further: Why could I not eliminate one of the last answer choices? Knowing the correct answer now, how I can eliminate it? Does this suggest a strategy I can use for the future?

Careless Error: I misread what the question was asking for or solved for the wrong thing

One step further: Why did I misread the question? What should I do in the future to avoid this?

Does this seem hard? It is—you have to think hard about why you're falling short and understand yourself in a way that no one else can. But few students actually put in the effort to do this analysis, and this is how you'll pull ahead.

By the end of my studying, I had notebooks filled with practice questions that I'd missed, and when eating breakfast I could thumb through them to review them, like flashcards.

Adopt a no-mistake-left-behind policy toward your mistakes. Letting one slip through can mean you make the same mistake on your real SAT.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (9)

Five Whys

Here's another useful trick when reviewing mistakes: ask yourself "Why?" five times?

This is a revolutionary technique developed by Toyota to figure out the root cause of manufacturing problems.

The point is that when you ask yourself "Why?" five times, you'll dig deeper and deeper to understand what the underlying cause is, and how to fix it.

Here's an example. Let's say you miss a Reading passage question. Everyone does this.

Starting point: I missed a Reading question about the big picture summary of the passage.

  1. Why? I picked the wrong answer choice, out of the two I had left.
  2. Why? The wrong answer choice had a phrase that was in the passage, but otherwise the meaning was wrong. I got tricked.
  3. Why? I didn't fully understand the passage when I was reading it.
  4. Why? I read the passage too quickly.
  5. Why? I was scared about running out of time.

Wow—you see how a single question can give you a TON of information about where you went wrong? Now you have a lot of opportunities to improve—on how you read passages, how you eliminate answer choices, and how to process big picture questions.

Again, very few students actually have the discipline to go through this reflection. And this is why YOU'RE going to get a better score.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (10)

Step 4: Find Patterns in Your Weaknesses, and Drill Them to Perfection

Now that you're collecting mistakes in a notebook, you'll be able to start finding patterns to your weaknesses. This might be a content area—like problems with math circle problems, or a specific grammar rule. Or it might be a personal habit of yours, like misreading the passage or eliminating the wrong answer.

Focusing on your weaknesses is CRITICAL because you have a limited amount of time to study, and you need to spend that precious time on the areas that will get you the biggest score improvement.

I've worked with students who just love drilling their strong points because it's comfortable. Of course, this is a waste of time—you have to confront your demons and pick at where you're weak, which is uncomfortable and difficult.

When I was studying for the SAT and MCAT, I kept track of my mistakes in an Excel spreadsheet. I found, for example, that I consistently missed Reading passage questions about inferences because I was reading too far into what the author was saying. I then focused on drilling those specific types of questions until I had developed my own strategy for solving the questions.

As another example, back when the SAT emphasized vocab more, I needed to study thousands of vocab words, any of which could show up on the test. I developed my own method on the best way to study SAT vocab words—what I call the Waterfall Method. This method forces you to review words you don't know over 10x more than words you already know—efficient studying. You don't need to use this for the New 2016 SAT, but you may still find it helpful for any class you need to use flashcards for—foreign language, history, or English.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (11)

Find the weak link in your chain.

When you find your weakness, you need to find resources to drill that content area. If you're weak in Trigonometry questions, you need to find a lot of SAT Trig questions to really drill those skills. If you're weak in subject/verb agreement, you need to find grammar questions to drill.

Doing all of this well is tough for many students, because you have to at once:

  • Do practice questions
  • Diagnose your weaknesses
  • Find more practice questions
  • Understand whether you're improving or not
  • Adjust your plan continuously

This is the backbone of every effective study method, but it takes a lot of mental energy to do well. This is actually why we started PrepScholar—we wanted to build an online prep program that would do all the heavy lifting for you, so that you can concentrate on learning. In our PrepScholar program, we detect your weaknesses and automatically organize your quizzes by skill so that you can focus on learning and not on the higher-level activities of analyzing your own progress.

By the way, a quick side point—be suspicious of any content-level strategies that promise you results. By content-level, I mean strategies that tell you how you must solve a type of question. At your level, you need to focus on what works best for you. For example, people approach reading passages differently. Some read the passage first, then answer questions. Some skim questions first, then go back to the passage. I know what works best for me, but that's not necessarily what works best for you.

(Video) What is the highest SAT score ever?

What you will have to do is aggregate strategies for your weaknesses, then test them out yourself to see if they work for you. Specific strategies for each weakness is out of scope of this article, but we'll post examples later.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (12)

Step 5: Eliminate Careless Errors

These types of mistakes are by far the most frustrating. You know the content, you know how to solve it, but because of a misreading of the question, you don't get the question right. This can already disqualify you from an 800 on Math.

In my own SAT, I made careless errors because I was trying to finish early and save time for the end, so I would rush through questions too quickly. I hated myself every time I made a careless error. But when I focused on the two things below, I was able to claim back my lost points.

#1: Double-check that you're answering the right question. The SAT is designed to ask you tricky questions. You might find the area of the square, but the question actually asks for the perimeter.

To eliminate this, always underline what the question asks you to solve for. Don't stop your work until you solve for the correct thing.

Another strategy is to write what the question is looking for in your scratch area. For example, if it asks for seconds instead of minutes, write "= ____ seconds" and circle it before you start your work.

This might sound like extra work, but how you defeat careless errors is by having a reliable, failproof system.

#2: Be wary about choosing the "No Change" option. For Writing, a common careless error is choosing "(A) NO CHANGE" in grammar questions. That's because when you read the question, it seems grammatically correct to you because the grammar rule just isn't ringing a bell.

Whenever this happens, make sure you double check the other answer choices to make sure that NO CHANGE is absolutely the best answer choice.

You should check especially for grammar rules that are easy to overlook, like Subject-Verb Agreement and Misplaced Modifier. By analyzing your mistakes, you'll be able to find patterns in grammar rule weaknesses that you have. You can then build your own system for grammar rules that you often miss—for example, for Subject-Verb Agreement, identify the subject and the verb, and then make sure they match.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (13)

Step 6: Develop Amazing Study Habits

If you're highly motivated and aiming for a top score, you're likely to spend at least 200 hours studying for the SAT.

Your job is to get the most out of every hour you can.

Learning how to study more effectively has huge returns on your time.

Think about it—if you can learn some techniques to improve your study efficiency by 20%, this will effectively give you back 40 hours of your life.

Here are my best recommendations on great study habits, all of which I follow myself.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (14)

Habit 1: Create a Schedule and Force Yourself to Stick to It

It's important to have a plan. You need to understand when you're going to do what, and then you need to follow that plan.

Here are questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time do I have until my next test?
  • How much time will I spend studying every week?
  • How many practice tests should I take before then? When will I take them?
  • During each week, what specific times and days will I be studying?
  • What will I actually be studying each day? Why?
  • How should my schedule change based on the info I receive from practice tests?

Do NOT approach SAT prep without a plan like this. You'll wander aimlessly from book to book, test to test, without actually focusing on what is going to get you results.

We designed PrepScholar to take care of all this hard work for you. Every week, we create customized lesson plans so you know exactly what to study and when. We schedule practice tests for you at the best moments leading up to your test date. We ask you for your weekly study schedule, then text you reminders to study. We send you progress reports so you know how well you're doing and whether you need to study more.

If you feel like you don't know how to create your own study schedule or aren't confident you can stick to one, you might like PrepScholar's SAT program.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (15)

Habit 2: Eliminate All Distractions

You have so many distractions at your fingertips—Snaps, texts, YouTube, games, and more.

All of these are super fun and super easy to consume for hours on end.

All of these will improve your SAT score by ZERO.

If you're studying and you glance at your phone every 3 minutes, you are NOT STUDYING. The brain is actually terrible at multitasking, and every time you lose attention, you take minutes to go back to full concentration.

I know how tempting it is to stay up to date with everything your friends are doing. There's major Fear of Missing Out. You don't want to miss a hilarious joke or be late to a scandalous story.

The thing is, in the long term, these little interactions don't actually make a big difference. Think about the last time responding to a text within 3 minutes was VITAL to your friendship.

You are not missing out on anything important if you text back an hour later. Maybe you'll call me an old man and just claim I don't get it, but a friend who gets mad at you for not replying within a few minutes doesn't sound like a good friend to me.

I once sat in a coffee shop next to a girl who was trying to study chemistry. Every few minutes she would look at her phone, laugh, and return a text. She got through two pages in an hour—I kid you not.

Instead, here's what you need to do:

  • Go to a quiet place where you won't be interrupted. Wear earplugs if it helps.
  • Turn your phone off or leave it another room.
  • Don't listen to music where you actively have to listen to words.
  • Don't study with friends. It's more fun but everyone does a crappy job of studying.
  • If you're using a program like PrepScholar on a web browser, use tools like StayFocusd to keep yourself off of distractions.

Treat this seriously. One hour spent studying at full concentration is better than three hours at 50% concentration.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (16)

Habit 3: Have a Positive Mindset. Your Job Is to Grow.

When you're trying to get a perfect 1600 SAT score, you'll get frustrated when you make mistakes. I was the same way, and I got mad at myself for making careless mistakes or for forgetting something I used to know.

The important thing is to channel that frustration into learning and growth.

Treat every mistake as a learning opportunity. Every mistake tells you exactly where your weakness is, and what you need to do to fix it.

(Video) Scoring a 2400 on the SAT

You are allowed to get upset, but not so much it paralyzes you. Instead, treat your primary goal as getting better—not as getting a specific score.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (17)

Step 7: Get Fast Enough to Always Double Check Your Answers

Now that you're aiming for a top score, you need to finish each section ahead of time to give yourself time to double check your answers. A good rule of thumb is to finish the section with at least 5 minutes to spare. As you get better at the SAT, this will be easier to accomplish since you'll solve each question in less time.

When I took the SAT, I reliably finished each section with 5-10 minutes to spare. I would mark any questions that I felt I had to return to and double-check. I had enough time to review all my answers twice.

The real time-killers are questions you get stuck on. It's very easy to get sucked into a question for five minutes, frustrated that the SAT is taking a point away from you. Avoid this temptation. Follow this rule: if you've spent 30 seconds on a question and can't see how you're going to get to the answer, circle the question, and skip it. You'll have time at the end to come back to it. For now, you need to work on the other questions.

How do you double check effectively? It varies between sections. For math, you should try to re-solve the question quickly in a different way. For some questions, you'll be able to plug the answer back in. For others, you'll just need to check your steps you took the first time around.

For writing, confirm that the sentence has the error you think it does. Again, for No Error answer choices, make sure you aren't missing something in the question.

For reading, confirm that there is no other better answer choice than the one you picked. For passage questions, make sure you rule out four incorrect answers. For sentence completion questions, plug the words back into the blanks to make sure they fit perfectly.

As you get better at the test, you'll have more time left. Aim for at least 5 minutes left after each section, and use that time to double-check your answers.

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (18)

Stay calm during the test, even if you get confused on a question.

Step 8: Don't Get Inside Your Own Head During the Test

If you're vying for a perfect 1600 score, you'll face pressure during the test. You know how little room for error there is.

This means that if you're having trouble with a question, it's easy to psyche yourself out. "Oh no! I'm having trouble with this math question. If I don't get this right, my 800 in math is gone!" This will make you nervous, which makes you even less likely to answer the question, which makes you more nervous, and so forth. This vicious spiral can suck you down for the rest of the test.

Controlling your mental status is important during the test. Just like a pro athlete or performer, you need to be confident about your skills. You already put in a ton of work, and you've learned most of what the College Board has to throw at you. The last thing you want to do now is ruin more of the test.

So it's a single question you're unsure about—this doesn't affect your performance on any other question. Try your best and clear your head, then move on.

Does All of This Really Work?

I can say from personal experience that these are the principles that I used to excel in academics. If you follow these principles for your own classes and in college, you'll do an amazing job. I would also be hard-pressed to find any top scoring student who doesn't agree wholeheartedly with the advice above.

This advice also works if you're not aiming for a 1600. If you want to improve from a 1200 to a 1500, you can use these principles to power your learning.

These principles also work in life. As a startup founder, I adhere to lean principles to constantly analyze where my weaknesses are, how to build them, and how to focus on what's really important for our company.

While the SAT tests specific skills that you may not use in everyday life, the process of preparing for it can teach you a lot about yourself, your limits, and your ambitions. This sounds a little hokey, but take it from this old man, you can learn a lot about yourself.

Finally, keep in mind that you don't need a 1600 to get into top colleges! A 1520+ will make you more than competitive for top schools like the Ivy League. If you get a 1540, your time is better spent building up the rest of your application than eking out a few more points.

Quick Plug: I've mentioned my company PrepScholar a few times. If you agree with what I say above, you'd like my course. I designed our SAT course around the principles above, knowing that most students don't have the energy or expertise to diagnose their own weaknesses. PrepScholar automatically figures out what you need to work on and focuses your learning by drilling your weak skills. It also builds in motivational features so you're up to date on your progress and commit to more study time. Check out our SAT program here.

What's Next?

If you liked this article, you'll also like my expert guides on getting an 800 in each of the SAT sections. Each one goes further into deeper details on how to ace each section.

Check out:

  • How to get an 800 in SAT Math
  • How to get an 800 in SAT Reading
  • How to get an 800 in SAT Writing

Aiming to get into Harvard and the Ivy League? Read my How to Get Into Harvard guide. You might learn that you're headed straight to the rejection path.

Finally, check out our online SAT prep program. We have a 160+ point money back guarantee: if you finish our course and don't improve by 160 points, you get all your money back, no questions asked.

I designed the PrepScholar program around the principles in this article. Thousands of students have used PrepScholar to improve their score by hundreds of points, which is why I'm confident it'll work for you too.

Try our program with a 5-day free trial today:

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (19)

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (20)

Allen Cheng

About the Author

As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform, or the Shortform blog.

Get Free Guides to Boost Your SAT/ACT

(Video) How Hard Is It to Get a Perfect SAT Score?


What was Mark Zuckerberg SAT score? ›

Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder of Facebook scored the perfect 1600 on the SAT and attended Harvard University. There's no surprise there on the score or prestigious university!

How hard is it to get a 1600 on the SAT? ›

A 1600 is only achieved by around 300 test takers per year and makes you eligible and highly competitive for admission at every college. Looking at this from another angle, a 1600 SAT score is in the 99nth percentile, which means you scored higher than 99% of all other 2 million+ test takers.

How many can you get wrong on the SAT to get a 1600? ›

You can find official SAT practice tests and their scoring tables at the College Board. As you can see with the above SAT scoring chart, it's possible to get some questions wrong and still earn the max SAT score. Generally speaking, you can miss 1-2 questions on each section and still get a perfect 1600.

Did Will Smith get a 1600 on the SAT? ›

Will Smith SAT score was a perfect 1600. A rare score few people have earned. Despite this incredible score, Will chose not to attend college, did not even enroll, and decided to pursue his career in music.

Can I get into Ivy League with 1600 SAT? ›

Ans. When a candidate scores 1600 on SAT, they are eligible to get admission to mostly all the top-ranking colleges and universities. Apart from getting admission in just top rankers, they are also eligible enough to enter the Ivy League universities.

What score is top 1% SAT? ›

The top 1% of all test-takers comprises those scoring in the range of 1550-1600 on the SAT scoring scale.

What was Ben Affleck's SAT score? ›

List of celebrity SAT scores
CelebrityScoreKnown for
Ben AffleckAlmost perfectActor and director (Argo, The Town)
Bill Gates1590Microsoft co-founder
Bill O'Reilly1585Political commentator and host of The O'Reilly Factor
James Woods1579Actor (Scary Movie 2, Any Given Sunday)
18 more rows

Does Elon take SAT? ›

What is Elon's testing policy? While admission to the university does not require an SAT or ACT, Nursing, Accelerated Pathways to PA and DPT and the Accelerated 3+1 Business Dual-Degree programs are highly selective and require standardized test scores for admission and scholarship consideration.

Is a 1600 SAT enough for Harvard? ›

Harvard SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

In other words, a 1460 places you below average, while a 1580 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.

Is it harder to get a 36 or a 1600? ›

Getting a 1600 on the SAT is harder than getting a 36 on the ACT. To get a perfect 1600 on the SAT, one has to get a perfect 800 on each of the two SAT sections. To get a perfect 36 on the ACT, in contrast, one has to get a score that can be rounded up to 36. For instance, 35.5 is equivalent to 36.

What is a good SAT score for Ivy League? ›

Ideal ACT/SAT Scores for Ivy League School Applications

The minimum SAT score to get into an Ivy League school ranges from 690 to 730 for the reading section and from 700 to 730 for the math section. Getting 700 or 710 (or higher) on both of these sections will give you an advantage at most Ivy League universities.

Does taking the SAT twice look bad? ›

Taking the SAT Twice Is Recommended

Most students who retake the SAT improve their score. If you're not satisfied with your score after taking the test twice, you might choose to take it a third time in the fall of senior year. That said, only you can decide whether retaking the test makes sense for you.

Is the SAT out of 800 or 1600? ›

The total score is the sum of the two section scores; its range is 400–1600. Students receive scores in the range of 200–800 for each of two sections. For the paper-based version, the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score combines the scores for the Reading Test and the Writing and Language Test.

How rare is a perfect SAT score? ›

How Many People Get A Perfect SAT Score? Yearly, less than 1% of all test-takers get a perfect score. That's hundreds out of nearly three million people who take the test. The people who score perfect aren't necessarily the smartest test-takers–but they are often the most prepared.

What was Bill Gates SAT score out of 1600? ›

Bill Gates has an impressive SAT score

Gates scored a 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs.

What was Kevin Hart's SAT score? ›

Hart said, “I got a 585 on my SAT. They give you 400 for putting your name on the papers, true story. I guessed A,B,A,C,A,D,A.

What is the lowest SAT score accepted to MIT? ›

There's no absolute SAT requirement at MIT, but they really want to see at least a 1500 to have a chance at being considered.

Can I get into Yale with 1600 SAT? ›

Yale SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

There's no absolute SAT requirement at Yale, but they really want to see at least a 1470 to have a chance at being considered.

What is the lowest SAT score someone got into Harvard with? ›

Harvard University

There is no standardized tests minimum, but admitted students represent a range of scores from 600 to 800 on each SAT section. The 75th percentile scores around 1570. Typical ACT scores range between 33 and 35.

What is average SAT score at Harvard? ›

What SAT score is 99th percentile? ›

SAT Score Percentiles Chart
SAT ScoreNationally-Representative PercentilePercentile Among Actual SAT Test Takers
87 more rows

Is 13500 a good SAT score? ›

In 2019, the average SAT score was 1050. Any score above that would be above average and perfectly acceptable for many colleges. A score of 1350 would put you in the top 10% of test takers and help make your application competitive at more selective schools.

What SAT score is required for full scholarship? ›

So you're probably wondering, What's a good SAT score for scholarships, and how can I find them? The short answer is that you should aim for an SAT score between 1200 and 1600 if you want to secure some scholarships based on merit–and the higher within that range you score the more money you're looking at.

What was Kesha's SAT score? ›

Kesha – The pop star Kesha has been known to have a high IQ along with impressive singing skills. She scored a 1500 on the SAT proving she has both talent and brains.

Has anyone gotten 100% on SAT? ›

Ricketts scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT exam.

What is the highest SAT score without essay? ›

The highest composite score for the SAT is 800+800, or 1600. The average score is 1000. Your section scores are the individual scores for the two main sections of the SAT: reading/writing and math. Each of these sections is scored out of 800, and they are added together to get your overall score.

Does the SAT predict IQ? ›

The answer to why you can't calculate your IQ from your SAT score is simple: the SAT is designed to test the facts, concepts, and skills you have acquired over your academic career. To test this, the SAT will present problems and situations that require you to rely on the information already in your possession.

Is SAT based on IQ? ›

Is the SAT an IQ test? No. Why isn't it an IQ test? Because it doesn't measure IQ.

Can SAT get you into MIT? ›

To get into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), you will need to have a near-perfect high school GPA, top scores on your ACT or SAT and the types of extracurricular activities that allow you to demonstrate your commitment and leadership abilities.

Do Ivy Leagues prefer ACT or SAT? ›

A common myth is that prestigious schools, like the Ivy League (Yale University, Princeton University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania) prefer the SAT. This is not true, though. Schools have no preference in regards to ACT vs.

How many students get 1580 on SAT? ›

1580 SAT Score Standings

Out of the 2.13 million test-takers, 3260 scored the same or higher than you. You can apply to 1498 colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted. You have a very low chance of getting into 0 schools with this score.

What is the minimum SAT score for Stanford? ›

Do colleges prefer SAT or ACT? ›

Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions decisions and awarding merit-based scholarships. Most colleges do not prefer one test over the other. Neither the SAT or ACT is harder than the other. Different students tend to do better on one test over the other.

How many people get 1590 on SAT? ›

1590 SAT Score Standings

Out of the 2.13 million test-takers, 2235 scored the same or higher than you. You can apply to 1498 colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted.

Is a 1600 SAT better than a 1570? ›

In the eyes of an admissions committee, a 1560, 1570, 1580, 1590 and 1600 are the same thing. They indicate an excellent student who can perform well on the SAT.

What is the easiest Ivy League to get into? ›

1. What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools have a low acceptance rate, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among them. Cornell's acceptance rate is 11%, but try not to get too hung up on the numbers.

Should I submit 1450 to Ivy League? ›

You're eligible for admission to even the most competitive colleges and universities with a 1450 SAT score, including the Ivy League! Among the long list of great colleges, you can include University of Southern California, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Georgetown University in your target institutions list.

What SAT score does Yale want? ›

SAT-Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 720-780. SAT-Math: 740-800. ACT Composite: 33-35.

Do colleges care how many times you took the SAT? ›

The short answer is no—nothing automatically shows colleges how often a student took the SAT. Most colleges let students who take the SAT multiple times select which of their test scores, by date, they send to colleges. However, some colleges do require applicants to send all their test scores.

Do colleges care if your SAT score drops? ›

That's because a low score on the SAT isn't a complete barrier to admission to most schools. Furthermore, The College Board reports that more than half of students who took the test for 2020 and 2021 received scores that indicated they aren't fully prepared for college-level work, so you're not alone.

Do colleges take the highest SAT scores from each section? ›

Colleges that superscore the SAT use your best section-level scores, even if they were from different tests. Many colleges that follow a superscore policy encourage students to submit all test scores, and some require it.

What college has a 100% acceptance rate? ›

Established in 1911 in southwestern Utah, Dixie State University features a 100% acceptance rate. The campus, which sits adjacent to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, serves more than 11,000 students, about 60% of whom attend full time.

How many mistakes 1600 SAT? ›

If you're aiming for 1600, prepare to get zero wrong in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Overall, on the SAT, you should aim to get no questions wrong if you want a perfect score. This is no easy feat, but it is possible. After all, about 500 students do it each year!

Do colleges care about 1600 SAT? ›

As previously mentioned, all colleges and universities will consider students with an SAT score of 1600 for admission, including the most competitive institutions. Even a perfect SAT score does not promise acceptance, but all of these schools have a history of admitting students with scores of 1600.

Will a 36 ACT get you into Harvard? ›

The middle 50% of Harvard's class of 2025 earned SAT scores of 1480-1580 and ACT scores of 33-36. Any score in the middle 50% is good, however, the higher in the range you score, the better your odds of admission are.

How is 1600 in SAT divided? ›

The SAT is based on a 1600-point scale, with 2 sections—Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing—scored between 200 and 800. There is also an optional essay, which is evaluated separately. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so your raw score is the sum of the number of questions you answer correctly.

Who scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT? ›

Meet Lucknow boy Shubh Agrawal who scored 1590/1600 to become India SAT topper - Hindustan Times.

What is your IQ if you get a 1600 on SAT? ›

SAT I to IQ Estimator
SAT I V+MIQ 15 SD%ile
54 more rows

Did Mark Zuckerberg ace his SAT? ›

Not many celebrities have shared their SAT scores. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, tops the list with a perfect score.

What was George W Bush SAT score? ›

Bush scored a 1206 out of 1600 on the SAT; 566 on the verbal section, and 640 on the math section. Bush cheered for both Philips Academy's and Yale's football teams, as it was quite common for cheerleaders to be male in Bush's time.

What is the lowest SAT score for Harvard? ›

There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.

What was the old Max SAT score? ›

In the past, the SAT's total score was 2400 with each individual section – Math, Writing, & Critical Reading – being out of 800. The new version of the SAT combines the Writing and Critical Reading section into a single part called Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

When did the SAT change from 2400 to 1600? ›

In March 2016, the SAT underwent a massive redesign, part of which included a change to its scoring system: it shifted from a 2400-point scale to a 1600-point scale.

Is SAT linked to IQ? ›

Why You Can't Correlate SAT to IQ. The answer to why you can't calculate your IQ from your SAT score is simple: the SAT is designed to test the facts, concepts, and skills you have acquired over your academic career.

Does SAT correlate to IQ? ›

Scores on the SAT do correlate with scores on IQ tests and other standardized tests of intelligence. This is unsurprising considering that the SAT was originally derived from an IQ test for army recruits.

What was Einstein's IQ level? ›

Smarter than Einstein? Albert Einstein likely never took an IQ test but is estimated to have a 160 IQ—but even that can't stand up to these masterminds.


1. Meet Perfect SAT Scorer! Does 1600 SAT Guarantee Admit to Harvard / Stanford?
(Singh in USA)
2. How to Get a Perfect Score on the SAT
(Prep Expert)
3. How to Get a Perfect SAT Score
(Prep Expert)
4. 10 Secrets To Raise Your SAT Score Student by Perfect SAT Scorer
(Prep Expert)
5. How To Cram For The SAT | Expert Tips From A Perfect Scorer!
(Prep Expert)
6. SAT Prep - How I Got a Perfect SAT score! -
(Top Test Prep™ | #1 Admissions Experts and Test Prep Courses)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dong Thiel

Last Updated: 05/04/2023

Views: 5503

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dong Thiel

Birthday: 2001-07-14

Address: 2865 Kasha Unions, West Corrinne, AK 05708-1071

Phone: +3512198379449

Job: Design Planner

Hobby: Graffiti, Foreign language learning, Gambling, Metalworking, Rowing, Sculling, Sewing

Introduction: My name is Dong Thiel, I am a brainy, happy, tasty, lively, splendid, talented, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.