Are SAT scores higher these days?

Ok, I'm going to be showing my age here, but I am amazed at the number of colleges reporting really high median SAT scores these days. Several schools show median verbal + math scores of >1400.

When I was applying to college (circa 1996) I don't think a single school had a median SAT over 1400 (maybe Caltech, but I doubt it). Are highschoolers really that much smarter/better prepared these days or has the test been re-centered again? 1400+ used to be 99th percentile, but I swear half my co-workers kids are walking around with 1450's.

Yes, I am getting old, and yes, I do battle feelings of inadequecy :)

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (4)

May 16, 2008 - 6:37pm

Average scores havent changed much, but admissions have become far more competetive due to temporary demographical changes. That is why top schools are reporting such high medians.

May 16, 2008 - 6:43pm

I would say that scores will rise over time as there are many separate companies nowadays that teach for the test specifically, however, the test still is on a curved system whereby the grades are in relation to your peers not necessary a raw score on the test.

There are some quirks to this, however, when everyone keeps doing better on the test. In this case, the top scores will be clustered around a certain area since all of these individuals did exceptionally well and indistinguishable in grade from each other. If you have 30 questions and you have an average of say 20 right..... but then you have a huge amount of individuals with 29s and 30s you are going to a lot of "high" scores as there is an upper limit on how well you can do (that being getting 100% correct)

In general, though, SAT scores will go up until they figure out a better way to assess ability for which the SAT is abysmal. All of the math section relies on concepts you learn in grade school, however, they word and present the question in such a manner that people never realize it was simply a question involving an average or an addition problem. If you take a course like the princeton review you will see just how easy it is to max out your school on this type of test given some work at practicing the questions.

Also as the previous poster points out as college becomes the requirement for jobs and more and more students apply for each school..... the likelihood for schools to have a class that has a much higher SAT score is great.

May 16, 2008 - 7:40pm

The College board also curves the SAT more than it has in the past (I think that occured in 1995 and 2001)

So what do you do?
-I work for an investment banking firm.
Oh okay; you are like my brother, he works for Edward Jones.
-No, a college degree is required in my profession

Reality hits you hard, bro...
Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

June 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (205) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (116) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (97) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (27) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (424) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (340) $82