So you took the PSAT and got your scores back. Congratulations! Now you’re probably wondering: What is a good PSAT score? In short, PSAT scores range from 320 to 1520. The average PSAT score is around 920 (460 in Math and 460 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing), while an outstanding PSAT score (one that will qualify you as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist) is between 1420 and 1480.
The PSAT is very similar to the SAT in terms of content and skills measured, although it’s a little easier. The main purpose of the PSAT is to help students get an assessment of their SAT readiness and college readiness.
Based on your PSAT score, you may be curious about whether you should go on to take the SAT or the ACT. We’ve created this quiz to help you decide! Once you’ve taken the quiz, read on to learn more about your PSAT score and what it means.
Table of Contents
- What Is the PSAT?
- How Is the PSAT Scored?
- What Is an Average PSAT Score?
- What Is a Good PSAT Score?
- PSAT Scoring vs SAT Scoring
- A Final Word on PSAT Scores
What Is the PSAT?
The Preliminary SAT, or PSAT, is a test administered by the College Board, sponsor of the SAT, that most students take in October or November during their junior year of high school, and possibly during freshmen or sophomore year.
To talk about the PSAT, it makes sense to first talk about the SAT. This is a test many have heard of, usually with a little touch of fear. To prepare students for the rigors of the SAT, and to provide a possible scholarship, the College Board designed a slightly easier and shorter version of the SAT. This is called the PSAT, or the preliminary SAT.
How Is the PSAT Scored?
The PSAT is graded on a scale of 320 to 1520, while the SAT is scored on a 400-1600 point scale. The College Board has deliberately made this scale similar but not identical to the SAT scoring scale. PSAT scores start and end lower specifically because the PSAT is just a little bit easier than the SAT.
What Is an Average PSAT Score?
What Is a Good PSAT Score?
With the PSAT scoring scale set 80 points lower, the score you get on the PSAT will be–in theory–about the same as the score you’d get on the SAT. A 1300 on the PSAT is meant to be the same as a 1300 on the SAT, for instance. At the higher end of the scale, exact equivalency is less clear. If you get a perfect 1520 on the PSAT, you might be able to get a perfect 1600 on the SAT. Since the PSAT doesn’t go above 1520, a perfect PSAT score indicates an ability to get 1520 or higher on the SAT. Whether or not you do well on the PSAT, you should still study for the SAT.
Still, there are some decent ways to guess what is a good PSAT score good in relation to a university’s SAT requirements. To see if your PSAT score is a good as it relates to possible SAT scoring, check the SAT score requirements at schools you plan on applying to. If your PSAT score is the same as the required SAT score–or higher than it– your score on the PSAT could be considered “good.”
PSAT Scoring vs SAT Scoring
|Reading & Writing Score Range||160 to 760||200 to 800|
|Math Score Range||160 to 760||200 to 800|
|Total Score Range||320 to 1520||400 to 1600|
The reason the PSAT is scored out of 1520 instead of 1600 is because it is an easier test. The idea is that you’ll be able to better predict your SAT scores using your PSAT results this way.
Although, honestly, this probably creates more confusion than it is worth. And I am willing to bet if you score a perfect 1520 on the PSAT, you sure are going to set your sights higher for the SAT!
How Will PSAT Scores Compare to My SAT Scores?
How well you do on the PSAT is a strong indicator of how you might perform on the SAT. But be forewarned– there is not a 100% correspondence between PSAT and SAT scores, nor is there any official chart of PSAT/SAT equivalencies.
What PSAT score do I need for a National Merit Scholarship?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict given that varies by state and changes from year to year. Recently, state cut-offs for semi-finalists have varied from around 1420 to 1480 (we’re estimating because the NMS translates these onto their own 228 point scale—on that scale, it’s between 214 to 223).
Should I submit my PSAT scores to colleges?
Nope! Schools are interested in your SAT scores, not your PSAT scores. However, getting a National Merit Scholarship is impressive—and taking the PSAT is likely to improve your score on the SAT, so there’s a double benefit!
A Final Word
Before you take the test, make sure you know what’s on the PSAT. Then, review as much as you can in the time you have left and take at least one practice test. And with that done, you’ll be on your way to a perfect score!
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About Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. LinkedIn
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