The PSAT Test is used to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships to high-achieving students. One of the most common questions that students have about the PSAT is, “What is a Good PSAT score?” Generally, a PSAT Score of above 1070 is considered to be a Good Score as it places you in the top 75th percentile. Other factors also matter while mapping the Good PSAT Score such as cutoff score, grade level, etc.
PSAT or Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test is the test you take before the SAT. In a lot of ways, this test can help you prepare for your college admissions. It is administered by College Board and is also commonly known as the Preliminary SAT. Other than preparing the students for SAT, this test also paves the way for scholarships through National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSC).
What is PSAT Test?
PSAT is a multiple-choice test for students in grades 8-10. This test has 4 sections modeled on SAT but it does not have the optional essay section. If you are thinking SAT has 3 sections, not 4, you are right. The PSAT also has 3 main sections but its math section is divided into two parts, so officially it has four sections but if you count the subjects, they are only 3. The sections are:
- Writing and Languages
- Math – with calculator
- Math – without a calculator
The PSAT has 3 levels according to grades. Let’s find out more about them.
1. PSAT 8/9
This level is for students in grades 8 and 9. The curriculum is set according to their level of learning and with the aim to prepare them for upcoming standardized tests. PSAT 8/9 has 3 sections Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. Test duration for this level is 2 hours 25 minutes. It is conducted all through the autumn and spring sessions.
2. PSAT 10
As the name suggests, PSAT 10 is for students in grade 10. It is given to students in the spring of their sophomore year. This level covers Reading, Writing, Language, and Math and is quite similar to the third level, NMSQT/PSAT. However, this level does not qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship.
This is the topmost level that is taken before taking the SAT. It has the same format as the PSAT10 but this test’s scores are considered for the National Merit Scholarship and help students in their college admissions. Also, the number of questions in each section of NMSQT/PSAT is more as compared to the PSAT10. Therefore, the evaluation scores are also higher.
Ground Rules for PSAT Scoring
- Every section is scored between 8-38 marks.
- Evidence-based reading and writing section and math section are scored between 160-760.
- The overall PSAT score ranges between 320-1520.
- The final score is calculated by adding two area scores together.
Sub-Scores and Cross-Tests
The PSAT test scores include the sub-scores and the scores for cross-tests. The sub-scores are obtained by dividing the main sections into sub-sections. For example, the Math section is divided into sub-topics like Heart of Algebra and Problem Solving and Data Analysis.
Similarly, the Reading and Writing sections are divided into sub-topics like Words in Context and Expression of Ideas. All these sub-topics are scored between 1-15.
Cross-test scores come from the tests in subjects like social studies and science. Cross-test scores go from 8 to 38 and they also have sub-scores. All of these are vital for a good PSAT score.
What Constitutes the PSAT Good Score?
|Score Type||Math||Reading and Writing||Overall|
|Below Average Scores||Below 500||Below 500||950 or below|
So, to answer the question in the title, a good PSAT score is anywhere between 500-550 in the subjects and a total between 950-1000. This score puts you ahead of the 50% of students taking PSAT. But 50th percentile may not be the best number for scholarships and associated competitive programs. To stay way ahead of others and to realistically benefit from the PSAT test, you must get scores that fall in the category of Best and Competitive Scores.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is considered a good PSAT score?
A good PSAT score can vary depending on individual goals and aspirations. Generally, a good score is one that places you in the top percentile of test-takers, indicating strong performance compared to your peers.
Can PSAT scores qualify for the National Merit Scholarship?
Yes, the PSAT/NMSQT serves as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation establishes cutoff scores by state to determine semifinalists and finalists. Students who score in the top 1% to 3% of test-takers in their state have a chance of becoming National Merit Semifinalists.
How are PSAT scores reported?
PSAT scores are reported on a scale ranging from 320 to 1520, with subsection scores ranging from 160 to 760. Additionally, percentile ranks are provided to indicate how your score compares to other test-takers.
How can I improve my PSAT score?
Improving your PSAT score involves a combination of preparation and practice. Familiarize yourself with the test format, content, and timing. Use official practice materials, such as the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide, and consider utilizing online resources and study guides. Practice answering different question types and review your mistakes to identify areas for improvement.
How can I interpret my PSAT percentile rank?
Percentile ranks indicate the percentage of test-takers who scored lower than you. For example, if your percentile rank is 85%, it means you scored higher than 85% of test-takers. Higher percentile ranks generally indicate stronger performance.