What is a Good PSAT Score?

Good PSAT Score

After taking your PSAT test, the most logical thought you should be having is how are they graded and what is a good score? Having a great PSAT score means your on the right path but what else does it mean?

Generally, PSAT scores range from 320 to 1520, so the average PSAT score should be around 920. This is a good score but you should want to get higher. Scoring high on the PSAT lets you know you can score higher on the SAT.

Getting a 920 score is:

  • 460 points in Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing
  • 460 points in Math

If you are set on qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, then you should be aiming to have a PSAT score of between 1420 and 1480.

The scoring method used in PSAT is quite complex.

How the PSAT is Scored

You may be asking what is the PSAT score range. The range is 320 to 1520 points.

The  Reading, Writing / Language, and Math, sections of the test will be given a raw score. You take the raw score and convert them to a scaled score. The scaled score is usually between 160 to 760.

The great thing about the PSAT scoring scale is it will help with predicting your SAT score.

Alongside your overall PSAT scores, you will also receive subscores that offer a profound examination of your general PSAT performance. The exam also provides candidates with a percentile ranking, allowing you to compare your performance with other students who sat for the test.

The main advantage of getting a good PSAT score is to qualify for a competitive scholarship, but even so, you should know that different scholarship programs have different qualification scores.

Taking the PSAT provides you with a great chance of qualifying for multiple scholarship programs, including the most notable National Merit Scholarship Program.

Besides putting you in a position to qualify for a competitive scholarship program, PSAT can also be the perfect preparation for the SATs and even help you score high on the SAT.

Is 850 a Good PSAT Score?

With the new scoring system, a PSAT score of 850 will put you in 50 percentile, which is not outstanding, but it means you have performed above average.

An 850 PSAT is not a score that will help you qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. It will also limit the available pool of other academic scholarship programs.

What is a good PSAT score? The score you really need to get is an 1180 or better.

What is the Average PSAT Score?

An average PSAT score is in 50 percentile, which represents an “Ok”. This is a score between 910 and 920, which is a 470 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 460 in Math.

An average PSAT score will still not be enough to qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship.

High school sophomores average a 934 score on the PSAT.

High school juniors average a 1014 score on the PSAT.

What is a Good PSAT Score to Qualify You for the National Merit and Why?

The National Merit Scholarship Program gifts monetary scholarships to around 8,000 students from schools all over the United States each year based on their academic achievements.

For a student to qualify, he or she must enter the program from the beginning, which is by receiving excellent scores on the PSAT, a standardized test given to students in the 11th grade.

In order for you to proceed to semifinalist status and beyond in the National Merit Scholarship program, you will need a PSAT score that is within the top 1 percent of all scores in your state.

But the exact score you will need to meet depends on your state and also the year.

After sitting for your PSAT, you will be given a score report containing your test scores out of 1520. While this score will give you a hint of your qualification, it doesn’t affect your eligibility for National Merit.

This is because the National Merit takes into consideration your reading, writing, and math subscores from the test, then they add them up and multiply them by factor 2. The resulting score will fall between 48 and 228, and it is your Selection Index (SI).

Your Selection Index enables the National Merit to compare your performance to other students who also took the test within your test as well as throughout the country.

If you meet the year’s set SI cut off and other eligibility requirements, you will be able to proceed in the program competition. Note that SI cutoff changes each year and varies by state.

The first round of selection is usually by SI and includes the top 3 to 4 percent of scorers on the PSAT, so if you are among this group, you will enter into the National Merit Scholarship Program. But that is not all, as you will be taken through further levels of completion before you become a National Merit Scholar.

If you fall within the 3 to 4 percent group and fail to proceed in the competition, you will be referred to as Commended Student, which on its own, it is an honor.

About 16,000 students will be considered semifinalists and are usually part of the top 1 percent of scorers on the year’s PSAT, thus will continue in the competition.

Just like Commended Students, Semifinalists are also selected based on their SI, with the cutoff varying from state to state as well as year to year.

For you to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program, you will need to have a good PSAT score, which is around the 90th percentile, which is a score of around 1180.

Is PSAT Easier than the SAT?

There are not many differences between PSAT and SAT, and even when it comes to the level of difficulty, the two are almost identical. However, the main difference is that the SAT is a bit longer and compels the students to move more quickly in the math tests.

For this reason, the SAT is meant to test student’s mental endurance as well as speed, a little more than the PSAT.

The PSAT is usually easier than the SAT. Nevertheless, both tests assess similar skills, which are writing, reading and language, and math, and the test questions found in each section are formatted along with similar guidelines.

In a broader view, PSAT might appear harder because it contains fewer questions, meaning the curve is a bit difficult. With PSAT, you don’t have too much room for error, and if you miss too many questions, you are definitely out of the contention for National Merit.

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How is PSAT Scored?

Remember, you are looking at what is the PSAT score for you to get into a college or to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.

PSAT scoring scale is 320 to 1520 in a 10-point increment. This means that the minimum score you can get is 320 while the maximum score is 1520.

The PSAT scoring scale differs with SAT slightly, which is usually between 400 and 1600.

Your total PSAT score is arrived at by combining your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math scores.

Both EBRW and Math have a score range of 160 to 760, with each section contributing half of your total score. For example, 500 scores on EBRW and a 600 on Math would result in a total PSAT score of 1100.

For the maximum score to be 1520, the score is scaled, which means they are converted from raw scores – the same as the number of questions you get correctly, using a distinct equating process.

PSAT Scoring VS SAT Scoring

As we have mentioned numerous times already, the PSAT is scored on a scale of 320-1520, while the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600.

In EBRW and Math on PSAT, each is scored on a scale of 160-760. But on SAT, each section is scored on a slightly broader scale of 200-800. In most instances, your PSAT score will directly predict your SAT score.

To learn more check out what is the SAT.

What is a Good PSAT Score for a Freshman?

If you want to have a high PSAT score in your junior year, then it is important that you take the PSAT as a freshman and as a sophomore for practice. Taking the test in your 9th and 10th grade will help you assess your capabilities and figure out areas to improve.

As a freshman, there are two PSAT tests that you need to choose from; the PSAT/NMSQT, which is for 11th graders, or the PSAT 8/9, a version of PSAT designed for 8th and 9th graders. These two tests are slightly different.

Freshman year is still early to take the test, and therefore, your target shouldn’t be too high.

With this in mind, an excellent score for a freshman is in the 70th percentile or higher, which translates to a composite score of 1020-1030.

What is a Good PSAT Score for a Sophomore?

Taking PSAT as a sophomore is one of the greatest ways to prepare for the SAT because it gives you essential experience in test-taking as well as give you a clue of what’s to come in the exam.

Based on reasoning, a good score for a sophomore in PSAT is a composite score above 1050-1060.

What is a Good PSAT Score for a Junior?

In general, a good PSAT score is one that is above the 75th percentile. This means you have scored higher than 75 percent of other students.

For junior, to reach a 75 percent means a score of around 570 to 590 in all the sections, or about a composite score of 1150.

Taking PSAT as a junior is essential and you shouldn’t take it until later in your academic year.

Some of the scholarship opportunities include:

  • The National Merit Scholarship Program is available to all PSA takers
  • National Achievement Scholarship Program for Black American High School students
  • National Hispanic Recognition Program, which was created to recognize the brightest Hispanic/Latino students.


You should know what is a good PSAT score after reading our article. We also gave you an idea of the scores you should be getting by grade.

When you receive your score, the largest number is a scaled score and ranges from 320 and 1520. It is your overall PSAT score.

Half of this score comes from the Math section and the other half comes from your Reading and Writing and Language sections put together.

Once you have your score high enough it will help you get into the college you want to go to. A high score can also help with scholarships and grants.

To score high on your SAT or ACT you need an awesome training program and the best program is at Magoosh.

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