What is a Good PSAT Score? All Your Questions Answered

A good PSAT score can be hard to achieve, but it’s possible. Learn more about the max PSAT score, what is a good PSAT score, what is the average PSAT score, and more.

TCM Staff

16th July 2022

  • The PSAT is a preparatory test that can give students an idea of how they’ll perform on the SAT
  • PSAT results can help determine which AP classes a student should take if any
  • The composite PSAT score is the combination of the reading and writing section and the math section, each scored between 160 and 760
  • Scoring in the 75th percentile means hitting the “benchmark” of a good PSAT score
  • The top 1% of junior PSAT takers enter the semifinals for the National Merit scholarships

Most high school students take the PSAT in Grade 10 or 11, or sometimes twice, once in each grade.

What is the Highest GPA
What is the Highest GPA

Overall, good PSAT scores are usually between 950 to 1060. A good PSAT math score is between 500-550, and a good reading and writing score is between 500-550. If you achieve a score ranging on this scale, you’ve done better than the average test taker. However, the benchmark, which is around the 75th percentile, changes depending on the testing class’s percentile scores.

You might wonder, what is the average PSAT score anyway? What is a good PSAT score for a sophomore, or for a junior? Is there a PSAT max score? We’ll explore those PSAT topics and more in this article. 

What is the PSAT?

PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test or Preliminary SAT. It is an institutionalized test conducted by the CollegeBoard every October. Usually, the test is offered once on a weekday during class time in October, and again on a Saturday. The test is multiple-choice and consists of four sections: 

  • Evidence-Based Reading
  • Writing and Language
  • Math (with a calculator)
  • Math (no calculator)

Students have a total of 3 hours to complete their PSAT, a timeline that includes a break. 

The PSAT is essentially a practice SAT test. This test is administered with the purpose of preparing students for the SAT test. Additionally,  it determines eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program(NMSC).

PSAT grading doesn’t occur for a very long time, considering the 2022 PSATs have yet to occur. Students can sit for their PSATs on the following test days:

  • Primary: Wednesday, October 12, 2022
  • Saturday: October 15, 2022
  • Alternate: Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Also read: What is a Good SAT Score?

How is the PSAT Scored?

The PSAT scoring scale ranges from 320-1520, which slightly differs from the SAT scoring scale. The SAT scoring scale ranges from 400 to 1600.

The scoring method of this exam is quite similar to that of the SAT. 

For the SAT, the scores of the evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) section and Math section are added together in order to arrive at the composite score.

For example: A student scores 580 in the Maths and 500 in the EBRW section, which would equate to a composite score of 1080.

The same applies to the PSAT. The PSAT score range for each section is added up, and the resulting number is your composite score. In the PSAT, the highest score possible is 1520.

The reason for the PSAT scoring scale being set out for 1520 is because all of them are scaled scores for maintaining the standard of the test. Each point, or correct answer, on the PSAT contributes to your raw score. Your scaled, or final score, is derived from your raw score and ranges between 160 and 760 for each section. Your composite PSAT score is a combination of your scaled score from each section and ranges between 320 and 1520.

Just like the SAT, there is no negative marking, which means you won’t lose marks for wrong answers or skipping the question.

Subscores and Cross-Test Scores

You’ll be given subscores and cross-test scores in addition to the already existing Math and EBRW section scores. These subscores break down the four-section (Math (both the no-calculator and calculator sections), Language, and EBRW) area into further smaller sections.

PSAT Subscores

The following table shows the subscores of each PSAT section, which range in score from 1-15 for each subscore:

For EBRW

  • Command of Evidence
  • Words in Context
  • Expression of Ideas
  • Standard English Conventions

For Math

  • Heart of Algebra
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis
  • Passport to Advanced Math

PSAT Cross-Test Scores

The cross-test scores show your level of performance in the areas of history, social studies, and science. Cross-test scores have a score range of 8-38.  

Specifically, cross-test scores are classified into two types:

  • Analysis in Historical/Social Studies
  • Analysis in Science

What is the Average PSAT Score for 2022?

Although the data on PSAT percentiles for 2022 is yet to be released, we can look at 2021’s data to make an estimate.

  • In the 10th grade, the 50th percentile is a score of 920, roughly translating to a score of 460 on each section.
  • In the 11th grade, the 50th percentile is between 950-960, roughly translating to a score of 475-480 on each section.

What is a Good PSAT Score in 2022?

It’s safe to say that a PSAT score that’s higher than the 75th percentile is a good score. A score higher than the 75th percentile means that the student scored higher than 75% of other PSAT test-takers. Scores above the 90th percentile are considered outstanding — a PSAT high score if you will. 

Because the official 2022 percentiles have yet to be released, the data below is taken from CollegeBoard’s 2021 percentiles. You can find the grade 8/9 percentile scores here, and the grade 10/11 percentile scores here.

The PSAT scoring chart below looks at the 75th percentile scores for each grade, considering both composite scores and individual section scores. The 8th and 9th grade scores use the PSAT8/9 scores, while the 10th and 11th grade scores reflect those of both the PSAT10 and PSAT/NMSQT.

Grade

Composite Score

EBRW Score

Math Score

Grade 8

910-920

460-470

450-460

Grade 9

990

500-510

490

Grade 10

1060

540-550

520

Grade 11

1150-1160

590-600

560-570

The following tables show the PSAT percentile and scores for juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. 

Good PSAT Scores For Juniors (Grade 11) in 2022

As the 2022 PSATs have yet to occur, these percentiles reflect the scores from last year’s examinations.

Percentile

Math Score

EBRW Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

750-760

730-760

1450-1520

90 

(Excellent)

660

630-640

1280-1290

75 

(Good)

590-600

560-570

1150-1160

50 

(Average/decent)

510-520

490-500

1010

To know more - PSAT percentile for 2021-2022

Good PSAT10 Scores for Sophomores in 2022

Are you a high school sophomore wondering, “What is a good PSAT Score for a sophomore? The percentiles for the PSAT10 section scores are presented in the following chart.

As the 2022 PSATs have yet to occur, these percentiles reflect the scores from last year’s examinations.

Percentile

Reading and Writing Score

Math Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

720-760

740-760

1430-1520

99

(Excellent)

700-710

710-730

1370-1420

75

(Good)

540-550

520

1060

50

(Average)

470

450-460

920

25

(Low)

390

390-400

790

Source - CollegeBoard

PSAT8/9 Scores in 2022

The PSAT 8/9 section score percentiles are presented in the following chart. As the 2022 PSATs have yet to occur, these percentiles reflect the scores from last year’s examinations.

PSAT8 

Percentile

Math Score

Reading and Writing Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

650-720

680-720

1290-1440

99

(Excellent)

620-640

610-670

1210-1280

75

(Good)

460-470

450-460

910-920

50

(Average/decent)

390-400

400

790-800

25

(Low)

340-350

350-360

700

PSAT 9 for Freshmen

As the 2022 PSATs have yet to occur, these percentiles reflect the scores from last year’s examinations.

Percentile

Math Score

Reading and Writing Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

680-720

720

1350-1440

99

(Excellent)

650-670

670-710

1280-1340

75

(Good)

500-510

490

990

50

(Average/decent)

420-430

420-430

850-860

25

(Low)

360-370

370

730-740

What is a Good PSAT Score for the National Merit Scholarship?

The following chart can help identify a good PSAT score for the National Merit Scholarship.

Grade

Percentile

Composite score

Category 

Juniors

99+

1450 and above

Top 1%

Sophomores

99+

1430 and above

Top 1%

What is the Perfect PSAT Score?

The PSAT max score is a total 1520 composite score. To achieve this score, the candidate must secure 760 in both sections of Math and EBRW.

You may also read - Highest PSAT score

How to Get a Good PSAT Score?

Here are some tips to help you achieve a good PSAT score,

1. Pick a Goal

It is good to have a goal, which helps you focus on your PSAT preparation without much stress and distraction. 

2. Just Practice

Be aware of your weaknesses and strengths, and start addressing them. Take a practice test and review. If you can't reach your goal, practice until you get closer and closer.

3. Keep Guessing

Guessing might sometimes work. As there are no negative marks for wrong answers, it’s worth trying your luck instead of leaving the question blank. 

4. Create a Schedule

To keep your mind focused and track time, you might consider creating a study plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between the PSAT10 and the PSAT/NMSQT?

The PSAT10 and the PSAT/NMSQT are essentially the same test as they cover the same subjects and are the same length. They are also typically about the same in terms of difficulty. However, the main difference you’ll see is that the PSAT10 is geared more toward 10th-grade students. Another distinction is the testing schedule, where the PSAT10 is typically offered in the spring of each year, and the PSAT/NMSQT occurs during the fall. Despite the PSAT10 being geared toward 10th graders, sophomores can take the PSAT/NMSQT if they choose (for SAT prep or preparation for taking the PSAT/NMSQT during their junior year).

During a student’s junior year, the NMSC (National Merit Scholarship Corporation) uses the PSAT/NMSQT scores to determine which students deserve one of its prestigious scholarships. The top 1% of test-takers are eligible, although not all will receive a scholarship.

Should my child take the PSAT as a freshman?

The PSAT8/9 is geared more toward 8th and 9th graders. However, freshmen can also take the PSAT10 or PSAT/NMSQT should they choose. Some schools may even encourage their students to take the PSAT as practice for their SATs and to help them determine which AP subjects to take during their high school careers.

The PSAT8/9 is somewhat easier and slightly shorter. It is typically taken for practice. Your child should take the PSAT if they are extremely motivated to get into a highly selective school, or if they’d like to figure out which AP subjects to choose. Otherwise, it’s okay to skip the PSATs as a freshman — especially since freshman year is when students are still adjusting to high school.

Does the PSAT matter in college admissions?

College admissions officers do not look at your PSAT scores for admissions. In fact, colleges do not get your PSAT score unless you choose to send it to them. However, taking the PSAT can translate into scholarship money, if you do well enough.

Do colleges care about your PSAT score?

Not particularly! Unlike your SAT scores, your PSAT scores do not get sent to colleges automatically. They’re not part of admissions processes or decisions. However, you can take the PSAT to prepare yourself for the test your colleges probably will care about — the SAT.

Which PSAT scores are most important?

Your scaled total score and your scaled section scores give you the best idea of how you’ll fare when you take the SAT. You can consider those scores, in particular, to help you more effectively prepare for taking the SATs when the time comes.

Conclusion

What is a good PSAT score in 2022? Above the 75th percentile is great, and above the 50th percentile is good. 

There is no shortcut to success. However, there are smarter ways to achieve it. It is highly recommended to research PSAT information and learn about its scoring model. Make sure you also stay up-to-date on any changes or amendments. By adhering to the aforementioned tips, we believe anyone can score a good PSAT score. Keep trying!

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