Depending on the date of your test, scores from the October PSAT will hit student accounts on November 6th or 16th. You can access your scores by logging into your Collegeboard account. Here’s what you need to know about these reports:
PSAT scores range from 320-1520 in total, and 160-760 in each section. Note that unlike the SAT, these scores stop short of 1600. That’s because the tests are designed to vertically align. In other words, Collegeboard designed the test and scoring system so that a student’s score on the PSAT represents what they’d likely score on the SAT if they took it that same day. Note that at the tippy top range of the PSAT, scores may not vertically align because the SAT’s most difficult content does not appear on the PSAT. A student answering every question correctly on the PSAT has a decent chance of securing those last 80 points were they to take the SAT on that same day.
The total score, Reading & Writing score, and math score each has an accompanying percentile ranking. This represents the percentage of 11th graders from the past three years who scored at or below your score. If 100 students took the test and stood in line from highest to lowest score, the percetile ranking represents the number of students who would be standing behind you in line.
High school juniors who take the PSAT are eligible for National Merit Scholarships, which annually recognize about about 50,000 students as either semifinalists or commended scholars. Qualification is determined by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) Selection Index score. These scores range from 48 to 228 and are calculated by doubling the Reading & Writing score, adding the math score, then dividing that sum by 10.
Unfortunately for most of our students, New Jersey is one of the toughest states to qualify for NMSC honors, with students needing an average score of 223 (The highest possible score is 228) to qualify for semifinalist.
Many students who take the PSAT will soon take the SAT or ACT or opt not to test at all. This is a difficult decision, so we recommend that all students take a mock ACT for comparison. The Collegeboard and ACT collaborated on a concordance table that is useful in comparing the scores from the diagnostics. Likewise, Compass publishes a nifty chart that helps make the decision between the SAT and ACT.
We love helping with this decision, so if you have questions, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss!