Is a 980 a Good SAT Score?

Is a 980 a Good SAT Score

Getting into a good school can feel like a pretty overwhelming challenge, particularly when you’re practicing for the SAT and looking at the different scores you might get. You might be asking yourself the question: is a 980 a good SAT score?

980 out of a possible 1600 is not a high SAT score and is actually considered below the national average overall. It would usually place you in around the 40th percentile, which means that around 60 percent of test takers would score more highly in that year.

Read the rest of this article to discover how this result compares to what you could achieve, and how this might affect your school applications.

How Good Is 980 Comparatively?

So, is a 980 a good score compared to what other people might get for the same year?

Perhaps the easiest way to think about this is to look at the percentile that you would be placed in on an average year. A percentile tells you what percentage of the population your score would be higher than – so being in the 90th percentile means you would be in the top 10% of all test takers.

With the latest data from the 2022 SAT, we’ve put together this chart to show you where a 980 actually stands compared to what other people managed to achieve that year.

SAT ScoresPercentile
1500 to 160098 to 99
1400 to 150093 to 98
1300 to 140086 to 90
1200 to 130075 to 86
1100 to 120061 to 75
1000 to 110043 to 61
900 to 100027 to 43
800 to 90013 to 43
700 to 8003 to 13
600 to 7001 to 3
Less than 6001

You might notice that the scores are not evenly distributed across the different percentiles. This is because more people score within the average range than at the top or bottom of the scale, so there is less difference in the percentile groups around the middle scores.

A 980 SAT score in 2022 was actually in the 44th percentile for all the students who might have taken the test (the Nationally Representative Sample group), but it was only in the 40th percentile for those who actually took the test.

This means that a score of 980 would have been lower than 60% of all the other test takers last year, and the average score does tend to go up year on year so it could be even lower in the future.

What is a 980 SAT Score on the ACT?

Of course, the SAT is not the only test that schools use for admissions, so what might a 980 look like on the ACT?

The SAT and the ACT are scored very differently, but it is possible to make a conversion between the two scoring systems so that you can find the equivalent that you might take if you took the other test.

The ACT equivalents for SAT scores are:

SAT Score RangeACT Composite Score Range
1500 – 160033 – 36
1400 – 150030 – 33
1300 – 140027 – 30
1200 – 130025 – 27
1100 – 120022 – 25
1000 – 110019 – 22
900 – 100017 – 19
800 – 90014 – 17
700 – 80012 – 14
600 – 70011 – 12
500 – 60010 – 11

The equivalent ACT composite score for a 980 on the SAT would be 19. This score would generally put you within the 44th percentile of all test takers, meaning you would be above 44% of the other applicants who took the same test.

Check out these other related posts:

What Schools Can You Get Into With a Score of 980?

Although a 980 is not considered particularly high for the SAT, that doesn’t mean that it is not high enough to give you access to some great schools. Many institutions take students with an average SAT score of around 980, and some of the most popular of these include:

  • San Francisco State University
  • California State University Los Angeles
  • Morgan State University
  • Alabama State University
  • Texas Southern University
  • University of West Georgia
  • Kean University
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • Radford University

What Schools Would You Find It Hard to Get Into With a Score of 980?

On the other hand, there are many schools that have an SAT acceptance range that is higher than 980, and therefore these would be harder to get into. Some of the most popular schools for which you would likely need slightly better than a 980 include:

  • East Carolina University
  • Texas State University
  • Georgia State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • California State University Long Beach
  • San Francisco State University
  • Washington State University
  • University of North Texas
  • West Virginia University

What SAT Score Is Considered Good?

Although a 980 on the SAT might be lower than the scores that the majority of test takers get, that doesn’t mean that it is not a “good” score for you. Every individual has their own capabilities and their own targets for what they are trying to achieve, and many schools with excellent teaching programs will accept applicants who get a 980.

Of course, you may want to try and aim for a slightly higher score to make your application more competitive, particularly if you want to apply to more prestigious schools. Many institutions expect SAT scores of somewhere between 1200 and 1400, and you want to stand out for the right reasons.

Besides your ACT or SAT scores, there is also a lot more that goes into an application, and all of the different elements will affect the outcome. Make sure that you also have a good letter of recommendation, a high-quality personal statement or essay, and you work hard to impress at an interview or through a portfolio of your work.

Summary: Is a 980 a Good SAT Score?

So, is a 980 a good SAT score? It is not considered among the best scores that you can receive, and around 60% of test takers are usually able to score higher than 980, depending on the year.

This means that you might struggle to apply to certain schools with a score of 980, so you may want to aim for a better result.

Josh Hutcheson

E-Learning Specialist in Online Programs & Courses Linkedin

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