The SATs’ exam is an important part of all college applications, and hence requires a score, which meets the criteria of your dream school. But one of the most important questions related to SATs is that, whether you can fail it if you get a low score? The answer is, it is impossible to fail the SATs, but a low score can mean a lot of other things.
The SATs are scored out of 1600 points in total, divided into two equal parts. The lowest score one can get on the SATs is 400, that is 200 in each part. The average test score goes up to 1000 and the top 25% of scorers get around 1200 points or higher.
The bottom 25% get around 840 points or lower, which is generally considered a poor performance. Officially, there are no cut-off scores, but only your scaled score and your percentile score. So, a percentile score of 50 means that you scored higher than 50% of students.
Since scaled scores are linked with percentile scores, it helps in understanding how well you did against other students. Once again, there is no official cut-off for failing in the SATs, but low scores can hurt your college applications.
People prepare for and take the SATs multiple times to get into their choices of colleges. So, you can compare your score with nationwide averages or your own personal baseline. A low score can be anything near or below the 25th percentile. So, those who get scores equal to 840 or lower may be considered low scorers nationwide.
If the weight of the SATs’ score is comparatively less for a college, the admissions’ panel may look thoroughly into other aspects such high school GPA, the subject’s list of high school, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, admissions’ interviews, and personal essays. A low score might not get your application even selected even if all other credentials are in place.
Also, highly competitive colleges turn away applicants with scores within their predetermined average ranges. So, it is always advisable to aim for a SATs’ score in the top 50% of all admitted students and within the middle 50% range.
If your scores are in the lower half of a selective college’s score range, it can dramatically lower your chances of getting through. For instance, if the school’s admission rate is 10%, and your SATs’ score is in the 25th percentile for that school, your chances drop to almost nil. Conversely, if you are looking to get into a local university, low or average SATs’ score won’t be a problem.
Lastly, as mentioned above, the SATs’ score is just one of the criteria for many good colleges. Most of them are also looking for well-rounded students. A lot of admissions’ counselors want to make sure that the students can handle the workload during their tenure. They might also look for students who have experience in community service and leadership responsibilities, apart from maintaining a good GPA.