what is a good PSAT score

What Is A Good PSAT Score?- Everything You Need To Know.

What is a good PSAT score? 

PSAT scoring can be quite difficult. 

Each of the three examinations (Reading, Writing & Language, and Math) will yield a score between 8 and 38, while the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math assessments will yield scores between 160 and 760. 

Your two area scores are added together to determine your overall PSAT score, which has a range of 320 to 1520.

You will also be given subscores, which give a more detailed breakdown of your PSAT performance than your overall scores. 

Another feature provided by the test is that you can compare your PSAT scores to those of other high school juniors by looking at your percentile rating. 

In this article, we would learn what PSAT is about and how to get a good score.

Also check What Is A Good ACT Score?- Requirements And Tips.

What Is PSAT?

PSAT, Preliminary SAT is preparation for SAT. 

Every year, one person must take the PSAT, or Preliminary SAT in the tenth and eleventh grades to prepare themselves for the main SAT exam.

The exam lasts for two hours and forty-five minutes and assesses reading, writing, and math abilities.

Which Of The PSAT Should I Take?

People frequently use the terms Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) interchangeably. 

Today’s PSAT, however, consists of three examinations that take into consideration the knowledge a typical student will have learned via their curriculum. 

They are the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and the aforementioned PSAT/NMSQT.

PSAT 8/9

The PSAT 8/9 is available to students in the 8th and 9th grades, offering them a chance to start preparing for standardized tests early in their academic careers. 

The PSAT 8/9 test can be taken at any time from the fall to the spring, so there is no set date for it. 

It has a three-core knowledge test (reading, writing and language, and math), takes two hours and twenty-five minutes, and is graded on a range of 240 to 1440.


The PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT both have the same length (2 hours and 45 minutes), a similar number of questions (47 for Reading, 44 for Writing and Language, and 48 for Math), and the same scoring range (320–1520). 

The main distinction between the PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT is that the PSAT 10’s test material is tailored for students in the tenth grade, and it does not count toward National Merit Scholarship eligibility. 

Students take the PSAT 10 in the spring of their sophomore year.


The PSAT/NMSQT is only 15 questions shorter than the SAT (with 5 fewer questions in reading and 10 fewer in math), takes 15 minutes less time than the essay-free SAT, and is graded on a scale of 400 to 1600 points. 

The PSAT 10’s key distinction from the PSAT/NMSQT is that the latter is not utilized for college applications. 

When Does PSAT Take Place?

Every year, the PSAT is typically held in October. 

Does PSAT Matter In College Admission?

PSAT results are not taken into consideration by colleges when selecting applicants but there are two uses for the PSAT in terms of college admission. 

It first gives you a preview of your performance on the SAT. 

Second, you might be eligible for scholarships with a strong score.

PSAT is a fantastic bonus for you or your child. 

However, it shouldn’t be a cause of further stress; rather, it should serve as a reminder to study harder for the SAT.

A good GPA matters in college admission, find out What Is a Good GPA in College? Requirements And Tips.

What Is A Good PSAT Score?

Students who achieve a score of at least 1450 are considered to be in the top 1% of test takers, making them eligible for national merit scholarships. 

A score of 1360–1520 falls within the 99th percentile, which is considered outstanding.

Your objective scores will likely be lower than they would be in 10th or 11th grade because the PSAT is taken early in the freshman year. 

This is due to the fact that by the fall of your first year, you still haven’t completed any full high school courses. 

However, it’s possible that you’ve studied for the test and are prepared to take it. 

The good news is that you’ll have plenty of time to prepare before retaking the PSAT as a sophomore or junior. 

In light of this, we’ll choose the 70th percentile or better as our benchmark for good scores.

Why Should I Take PSAT?

The PSAT is taken by high school students for two main purposes.

First, it exposes students to standardized testing. 

PSAT test takers have greater exposure to the PSAT and SAT’s content and test-taking techniques.

Secondly, you may be better positioned to be eligible for National Merit Scholarships after taking the PSAT. 

The top 1% of test-takers in the eleventh grade are eligible to compete for $2,500 in scholarships as National Merit semifinalists. 

If you want your 11th-grade PSAT scores to stand out, you should take the test in your ninth or tenth grade.

1. PSAT is the prep for SAT

The PSAT is a great way to be ready for the SAT. 

It is less time-consuming than the SAT but yet has the same kinds of math, reading, and writing questions. 

However, there isn’t an essay component in it. 

Like the SAT, the PSAT compares your score to those of your classmates and peers around the nation.

2. PSAT qualifies you for scholarships

The National Merit Scholarship Program, among other scholarship programs, is one that you can potentially qualify for by taking the PSAT. 

The National Merit Scholarship program offers you the recognition that is a strong supplement to your college application materials aside from the potential for receiving college tuition.

Also see All You Need To Know About UNICAF Scholarship

3. PSAT helps you stand out

Numerous colleges buy lists of top-scoring pupils and encourage them to submit applications. 

If you do well on the PSAT, colleges may take notice of you and offer you little benefits like free meals during visits and discounted application fees.

Should My Child Take PSAT As A Freshman?

Yes, your child should take the test if they have their heart set on a National Merit Scholarship and desire extra PSAT prep.

Both the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall and the PSAT 10 in the spring are available to first-year students. 

Some institutions could encourage or mandate that students take the exam to get practice considering the high-stakes, timed tests they’ll encounter on the SAT. 

However, it is viewed as merely practicing at that early point in high school.

A PSAT 8/9, which is slightly shorter and easier in the material than the PSAT, is available from the CollegeBoard.

In general, your child should not focus on studying for a test that is not appropriate for their grade level during the fall of their freshman year. 

Instead, they should concentrate on their curriculum and get used to high school.

How Does PSAT Work?

Students have the option of taking the test once a year from eighth to eleventh grade. 

The PSAT 8/9 is given to students in eighth and ninth grades. 

The PSAT 10 and the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test are the other two practice exams offered by the College Board

The PSAT/NMSQT is available to sophomores in high school, but only juniors are qualified for score-related college scholarships.

The exam sections contain reading, writing, and language arts, as well as math. 

The majority of the questions are multiple-choice with a few write-in responses in the arithmetic section.

The math segment of the test consists of 48 questions in the disciplines of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry and is divided into two categories: calculator and non-calculator. 

The reading section’s 47 questions test readers’ knowledge of the language in context, reading comprehension, and analytical abilities. 

Similarly, the 44-question writing and language section evaluates vocabulary in context in addition to grammar and editing abilities.

In contrast to the SAT, where test booklets are not returned, PSAT test booklets are returned shortly after score results are made public. 

Reviewing missed questions allows students to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. 

Students can also get free individualized practice recommendations based on their test results if they link their College Board and Khan Academy accounts.

Check out the Most Popular University Subjects For Indian Students

Why Should I Aim For A High Score In PSAT?

A high PSAT score has advantages such as college scholarships and it will expose you to a lot of institutions.

How Is PSAT scored?

The PSAT scoring scale differs slightly from the SAT scoring scale, runs from 320 to 1520. The SAT has a 400 to 1600-point scale.

This exam’s scoring system is pretty comparable to the SAT’s.

The SAT’s composite score is calculated by averaging the results of the math and evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) sections.

As an illustration, a student might receive a composite score of 1080 if they receive 580 in the math component and 500 in the EBRW section.

The PSAT follows the same rules. 

Your composite score is calculated by adding the PSAT scoring ranges for each part. 

The maximum score for the PSAT is 1520.

All of these are scaled scores to maintain the test’s standards, which is why the PSAT scoring scale is established for 1520. 

The PSAT counts each point toward your overall score. 

Your scaled, or final score, which is based on your raw score and ranges from 160 to 760 for each section, is determined at the end. 

The range of your composite PSAT score, which combines your scaled scores from each section, is 320 to 1520.

There is no negative marking, like as the SAT, so you won’t lose points for giving a bad response or skipping a question.

Subscores and cross-test scores

In addition to the traditional Math and EBRW section scores, you will also receive subscores and cross-test scores. 

The four-section area of Math (including the no-calculator and calculator sections), Language, and EBRW is divided into these subscores, which are further divided into smaller sections.

Also check How To Check PSAT Scores

How The Different Types Of PSAT Are Scored

The PSAT 8/9 is scored on a somewhat different scoring scale than the PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, and SAT

The PSAT 8/9 is scored on a 240-1440 scale because its content is significantly less difficult. 

The College Board, the organization in charge of administering the PSAT 8/9, divides section scores between 6 and 36 into two scores between 120 and 720, one for Math and the other for Reading, Writing, and Language. 

This yields the test taker’s PSAT 8/9 score (called the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score). 

A composite score between 240 and 1440 is then calculated using the scaled scores put together.

The PSAT and PSAT 10 have the same scoring scales and a format that is comparable to the SAT, although their scoring systems are different. 

Student component scores in mathematics, reading, and writing & language range from 8 to 38. 

A scale from 160 to 760 points is used to scale the raw mathematics score. 

The average score a student receives in Reading, Writing, and Language is likewise scaled to fall within the same 160–760 range. 

The sum of these scaled ratings yields a composite score that can range from 320 to 1520.

A selection committee considers students’ three section scores on the 8-38 scale to determine if they are eligible for the National Merit. 

They do this by multiplying the raw score for each section by two and adding the results to create the Selection Index. 

The Selection Index lies between 48 and 228.

How To Get A Good PSAT Score: The Importance Of PSAT Percentage

The score, like with many other standardized tests, only has significance inasmuch as it reveals your percentile; in other words, scoring is relative to the greater population of high school students in the nation. 

A high score signifies that you performed better than the majority of high school students who took the exam that day. 

If your child achieved a score in the 50th percentile, it implies they outperformed 50% of all test-takers during the previous three years. 

Scores in the 50th percentile are considered to be “about average,” in the 75th percentile they are “solid,” in the 90th percentile they are “excellent,” and in the 99th percentile they are “amazing.”

What PSAT Score Qualify For Scholarships?

Whether your child’s PSAT score qualifies them for a National Merit Scholarship is another factor to consider when defining a “excellent” PSAT score. 

How do scholarships get given out by the National Merit Corporation?

The National Merit Scholarship Program has several levels of recognition: Recognition, Commended Students, Semifinalists, Finalists, and Winners. 

Out of the 1.5 million applicants, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation estimates that 50,000 students get recognized. 

A letter titled “Commended Student” is sent to about 34,000 of those students. 

Students that received commendations were among the top 3–4 percent of exam takers in their state. 

Although commended students are not allowed to move on in the competition, they may still be eligible for some scholarships.

The kids who score in the top 1 percent of test takers statewide, or roughly 16,000 of the 50,000 recognized students, continue in the battle to become Semifinalists.

After that, semifinalists who want to be considered for the finalist round must submit an application demonstrating their superior academic position. 

This comprises their grades, a list of the courses they have taken, a list of the courses they have planned to take in the future, and a principal’s recommendation. 

However, take note that the selection Index is actually used to determine who receives a National Merit Scholarship. 

The Selection Index is calculated by adding up the individual PSAT test scores and multiplying the result. 

This yields a range of possible scores for the Selection Index of 48 to 228. 

For instance, if your child received scores of 33, 29, and 31 in reading, writing, and language, respectively, their selection index would be 186.

See the 25 Best Left Handed Scholarships [2022]


Your priorities will influence what constitutes a “good” PSAT score. 

But ultimately, you should aim for a score in the 96th percentile or higher if receiving a scholarship is your objective. 

You can aim for the 90th percentile or above if you wish to stand out nationally on one more criterion.

The PSAT shouldn’t be stressful in the end. 

Treat the exam as practice, which is how it was meant to be used.

What Is A Good PSAT Score?: Frequently Asked Questions

What PSAT score is required for Harvard?

The average PSAT score of Harvard admitted students was between 1420 and 1520 (or 210-238 on the old scale).

Is 1300 a good PSAT score?

Yes, 1300 is a good PSAT score.

For a junior, a composite score higher than 1150 is considered good, 1000 or 1010 is considered OK, and 1280 or more is considered excellent.

Is 1080 a good PSAT score?

Yes, students who took the PSAT in the 11th grade and received a score between 1080 and 1190 will be among the top 25 percent of test takers.

What is a good PSAT score for a junior?

A score in the 75th percentile or higher on the PSAT is considered to be a respectable score for junior year. 

Do Ivy League schools look at PSAT?

Students who want to enroll in extremely selective institutions, such as MIT, Stanford, and Ivy League colleges, should aim for a PSAT score in the 99th percentile, which starts in the low 1400s.

Do universities look at PSAT scores?

PSAT results are not taken into account by colleges when selecting applicants but National Merit Scholarships and several private scholarships are given based on PSAT scores. 

Also, your PSAT performance aids in concentrating your SAT study strategy.

Does a 1400 PSAT qualify for National Merit?

Yes, anyone who has a PSAT score of 1400 or higher meets the requirements to be a semifinalist for a National Merit Scholarship.

What is the average PSAT score for 11th graders?

Most test takers receive scores in the range of 920 on the PSAT scale (the halfway point between 320 and 1520). 

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