Is 1390 a Good SAT Score? 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Close up of students taking an exam.

Is 1390 a Good SAT Score?

So, you’ve received a 1390 SAT score. After weeks of high anticipation and excitement, you finally have the score in your hand. However, you might not know exactly what it means. Is 1390 a good SAT score? Should you retake the exam or is the score good enough as it is?

Here, we’re going to explain if a 1390 SAT score is good, whether you should retake it, what next steps you should take, and so much more. Let’s get into it.

Is 1390 a good SAT score?

Is 1390 a good SAT score? The 1390 SAT percentile is on the 92nd percentile which means you performed in the top 8% of test takers. Considering that millions of students take the SAT each year, that’s a really good achievement. So, then, why is a 1390 SAT score only considered average?

View of a student writing in an exam sheet.

Well, we’re speaking in relation to the difficulty of getting into the top schools in the country. The Ivy League, Top 10 universities, and other elite institutions attract some of the highest-performing students from across the entire country and world. As a result, a 1390 SAT score in this context is just average.

What is a good SAT score?

Every year, students push the boundary of what makes a good score higher and higher. In today’s admissions environment, that ideal score is higher than it’s ever been. In general, a 1550 SAT score is considered the beginning of an excellent score. Everything beyond 1550 is just icing on the cake.

What colleges can you get into with a 1390 SAT score?

With a 1390 SAT score, you can get into the vast majority of colleges and universities across the country. However, the majority of these will be state schools with higher acceptance rates. A 1390 SAT score will preclude you from getting into more selective schools such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, Brown, and others of the same caliber. However, it’ll put you in the running for Georgia Tech, Boston University, Claremont McKenna, University of Virginia, and Reed.

a young girl being home schooled by a woman

Fortunately, there are ways to improve your SAT score so you can end up surpassing your previous 1390 SAT score to increase the number of schools you can attend. After all, you want to give yourself the best chances possible of attending your dream school.

How much can you raise your SAT score?

There are all kinds of theories about how much you can improve your SAT scores with preparation.

Some say it’s rare to increase your scores by more than 50 or 100 points, so why bother?

Others say a 200-point improvement is possible. Meanwhile, a few companies, attempting to reel in big dollars, will promise an improvement of up to 400 points.

So what is the truth?

Well, according to the Educational Testing Service (ETS) – the company that develops the SAT for the College Board, the ETS suggests that score improvements of up to 300 points are indeed possible for many students.

For the most part, how much your SAT scores will improve depends on the strength of your SAT prep materials as well as how fervently you use your SAT prep materials.

After all, you can’t just put a stack of SAT materials under your pillow at night and expect your SAT scores will improve by osmosis. You have to work at it, and apply yourself.

The College Board recommends at least 6 to 20 hours of study before taking your first SAT test, and if you want to do really well, that 20-hour mark, including taking a complete, 4-hour practice test is probably the minimum.

However, if you want to improve up to 300 points, you may need, according to most experts, to put in up to 150 hours of solid SAT prep work.

Tips for improving your SAT score.

Diagnose the issue with attention to your weaknesses

If you have already taken an official SAT test, then you have the perfect blueprint for greater success the next time around.

Your SAT score report identifies for you all the questions you got both correct and incorrect when you took the exam.

Two women talking in front of a laptop.

Your greatest possible level of improvement on a retake of your SAT will come from improving your particular weaknesses on the SAT.

Whether it is just plain unfamiliarity with the nature of what the questions are getting at or just general weakness in either Math or reading or writing, your initial test scores can be extremely valuable pointers to what to prep for next time.

The SAT tests five basic skills that colleges feel make you an ideal fit for their college:

#1. Stress Management and performance under pressure

#2. Time Management

#3. Reading and following directions

#4. Scanning for information

#5. Coming up with creative solutions

A weakness in any of these areas may result in a significantly lower SAT score.

If you haven’t taken the SAT yet, there are still effective practice tests available to give you the same type of benchmark.

The College Board makes available 8 different practice tests available, and there are as many as 18 different SAT practice tests available.

Be sure, however, to take practice tests that have relevant information. As of January 21, the College Board no longer has an essay test section available, so if your prep material, particularly from older practice tests also has essay pointers, be sure and ignore those.

And we repeat the same advice because it is so critical. Try to find the patterns in your scores, real or practice, that will pinpoint what types of questions you got wrong, and how often you got them wrong.

Use your discretionary judgment and find the largest number of negative patterns on your test. Unless you are the rare genius who scored 1600 on your SAT, then you are going to make a mistake here and there.

However, one mistake is an incidence. Three or more similar mistakes are a pattern that you can put your attention to correcting.

Understand how you learn

Most likely, if you are clever before you decide to put in a hundred hours or so in preparation for taking the SAT, or in laying the groundwork for a much better SAT score on your retake, you will pay attention to exactly how you go about learning in the best way.

Some students need a lot of teacher interaction to master a subject. Others can more or less do it independently.

Do you learn best with copious notes, or is just winging it your style?

Ask yourself whether you are an auditory learner or a visual learner.

The reason to reflect on how you learn is to figure out the very best way to plan your pre-test or re-test preparation.

Depending upon your best learning methods, your SAT study habits, and in some cases, money, you can buy an SAT guidebook, enroll in an intensive SAT prep course, hire a personal tutor, or create an SAT study group with your peers.

Decide what is best for your situation, or combine two or more to insure the best results.

Decide on a target score range

Perhaps the best way to come up with a target score is to realize the equivalent scores on a percentage basis. Scoring a score of 1450 or above is considered to be in the top 4 to 6 percentage points.

With the exception of Ivy League colleges, where the average SAT Score is 1500 or higher, you probably don’t need as high a score as you might think.

The average score among over 2 million test takers annually, is 528 for the reading and writing portion, and 523 for the math portion.

Assuming you do not have any black marks on your academic record, this means that with an SAT of 1100 or so, you will most likely be accepted to s

However, if you need certain scores to achieve a scholarship, or you have your heart set on a particular tier of colleges, then study and preparation for the SAT will pay off significantly.

Register for the SAT (again).

Assuming you are in the latter group that a good score on your SAT is essential to you, then remember of course that you can’t just walk in and take the test. You need to register for it, and timing is of the essence for many.

If you live in Valley City, North Dakota, with a population of 6300, then you probably can sign up to take the test not long after you feel well prepared.

A student walking with a teacher in a school campus.

However, In larger cities such as Los Angeles and New York City, many SAT testing centers fill up quickly with registrants.

Say you live in Pasadena and sign up for the SAT in August. It’s entirely possible that you (or your parents) would have to drive 50 miles to Torrance to take your SAT test during August, which is one of the busiest times of the year.

So by all means be prepared to take the SAT test, but register in advance to get seating in the best testing center for yourself.

Set a practice schedule (and stick to it).

About two months before you take the official SATs, most students start practicing to take the test. One excellent way to prepare is to take the SAT practice tests from Khan Academy.

Taking practice tests from Khan Academy is completely free, and according to Khan, taking a practice test 30 days before your actual test is quite predictive of your initial SAT score.

If you have high goals, such as scoring a 1250 or higher on your SAT score, the equivalent of roughly 86 percent or higher, then you might want to take two or three practice exams to spot your weaknesses and then concentrate on turning those weaknesses into pluses.

Track your progress closely.

It’s even more critical that you learn and correct your weaknesses than it is to put in 20, 40, or even a hundred hours or more in SAT prep.

If you aren’t tracking your progress, then most of those study hours will be wasted. By carefully evaluating your previous SAT score, if this is a retake, or by examining your practice tests, you can spot the shortcomings and deficiencies, which lead to your lower scores.

And you should be downright ruthless whenever you observe a pattern in your mistakes.

But the question arises. How can you notice such shortcomings in your SAT test-taking unless you either take the official SAT test and analyze the results or take several practice tests?

With so much riding on the SAT, can you really afford not to spend 6 to 9 hours taking practice tests and probing for your academic chinks?

Take care of yourself.

Fueling your body is extremely important for test taking. Make it a habit to drink plenty of water, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and lay off the sugar and the colas.

While you are at, be sure to get plenty of sleep, which experts at Stanford School of Medicine, say that 70 percent of teens are not getting.

Many teens, for example, are so addicted to technology that they wake up every couple of hours just to check on their text messages.

If you are not getting at least 8 to 9.5 hours of sleep you are robbing yourself of the ability to be fully awake, not only during testing periods but in pre-SAT study periods.

Even pro football quarterback Tom Brady, who at age 44 is still at the top of his game, gets into bed at 9 p.m. and sleeps till nearly 6 a.m.

Teens could learn a lot from Tom, and though they may not be a quarterback, for most, the SAT test is just as important as playing in the Superbowl.

Focus on improvement and growth.

What does this mean? In essence, we often grow via baby steps. Even Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest NBA player ever, was demoted to play in the junior varsity because he wasn’t good enough to play on the varsity team.

The same thing happened to 11-time NBA champ Bill Russel. He had to do plenty of off-the-court practice at the local Boyd and Girls club to make his high school team.

Young man using a laptop in a table.

The point here is that you can’t expect yourself to be perfect when preparing or actually taking the SAT. Despite your best efforts, “sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t,” as Chief Dan George muttered in the film Little Big Man.

Sometimes you might be off your game when taking a practice test for the SAT, but if you concentrate on taking baby steps to get better and better, it will happen.

Take the SAT again (and nail it!).

So you finally tackled the SAT, and after two weeks you got your report: you bombed! It happens to the best of us, and the good news is that you can retake the SAT again.

In fact, theoretically, you could take the SAT 7 times in one year alone. Most experts suggest limiting your SAT test-taking to two or three times at the most. But beyond that, there is no reason you need to live with a piss-pour result.

In a Nike Commercial, Michael Jordan revealed that he had missed over 9,000 shots in his NBA career, lost 300 games, and 26 times was entrusted to take the game-winning shot and failed.

None of us is perfect, but if you put in the effort, you can significantly improve your score on the SAT. It’s up to you

Get into your dream school.

Prepping for college admissions can be a daunting task for most high school students. In addition, many of them don’t have the necessary knowledge to make the most of the process and put their best foot forward. Keep in mind that this isn’t something you get a second shot at.

Getting the necessary expertise and resources required to make a perfect application is essential when preparing for college. Fortunately, there are college admissions experts in the field who can provide you with the necessary support and guidance to make smart decisions.

For over 10 years, AdmissionSight has been helping thousands of high school students successfully get into top universities. In most cases, our clients are admitted into top 10 or Ivy League schools.

We provide a variety of services to help students navigate through the college admissions process. These include help with the various steps of the application process, as well as advising them on how to improve their chances of being accepted.

To get a free consultation about the college admissions process, please contact us. We’ll talk about the various details of the process and provide you with the necessary advice.



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