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.

Updated by TCM Staff on 24th July 2021

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

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. 

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 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).

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 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 2021?

The average composite PSAT score for 2021 is around 950, which would equal to a score of approximately 475 overall for the reading and math sections. 

What is a Good PSAT Score in 2021?

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 student scored higher than 75% of other PSAT test takers. Scores above the 90th percentile are considered outstanding. Scores between 1070 and 1200 are consistent with scores in the 75th percentile or higher. 

For students appearing for PSAT10, the 75th PSAT percentile may range from 530-540 in each section, or a composite score of 1070. For students appearing for PSAT 8/9, the 75th percentile may range from 460-480 on each section, or a composite score between 940 and 950.

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

Woman with headphones doing PSAT

 

Good PSAT Scores For Juniors (Grade 11) in 2021

An abridged version of the PSAT score for high school juniors is presented in the following chart:

Percentile

Math Score

EBRW Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

750-760

730-760

1460-1520

90 

(Excellent)

640

650-660

1290

75 

(Good)

570

590

1150-1160

50 

(Average/decent)

490

510-520

1010

To know more - PSAT percentile for 2020-2021

Good PSAT10 Scores for Sophomores in 2021

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.

10th Grade

 

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Math

Section Score

Percentiles

Percentiles

Nationally Representative Sample

PSAT/NMSQT

Nationally Representative Sample

PSAT/NMSQT

760

99+

99+

99+

99+

750

99+

99+

99+

99+

740

99+

99+

99+

99

730

99+

99+

99

99

720

99+

99+

99

99

710

99

99

99

99

700

99

99

99

98

690

99

98

98

98

680

98

98

98

98

670

98

97

97

97

660

97

96

97

97

650

97

95

96

96

640

86

94

96

96

630

95

93

95

95

620

93

92

95

94

610

92

90

94

93

600

90

89

92

92

590

89

87

91

91

580

87

85

89

89

570

85

82

86

87

560

82

80

84

85

550

79

77

82

82

540

76

74

79

80

530

73

71

76

77

520

70

68

72

74

510

66

64

69

71

500

63

61

66

68

490

59

58

62

65

480

56

55

57

61

470

53

52

52

56

460

49

48

49

52

450

46

45

46

48

440

43

42

40

44

430

39

39

36

40

420

36

35

31

36

410

32

32

26

31

400

28

29

23

27

390

24

25

19

22

380

21

22

15

18

370

17

18

12

15

360

13

15

10

12

350

10

12

7

9

340

7

9

5

7

330

5

6

3

6

320

3

4

2

4

310

2

3

2

3

300

1

2

1

2

290

1-

1

1

2

280

1-

1

1-

1

270

1-

1

1-

1

260

1-

1

1-

1

250

1-

1-

1-

1

240

1-

1-

1-

1

230

1-

1-

1-

1-

220

1-

1-

1-

1-

210

1-

1-

1-

1-

200

1-

1-

1-

1-

190

1-

1-

1-

1-

180

1-

1-

1-

1-

170

1-

1-

1-

1-

160

1-

1-

1-

1-



Source - CollegeBoard

Percentile

Reading and Writing Score

Math Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

720-760

730-760

1450-1520

99

(Excellent)

690-710

650-660

1340-1370

75

(Good)

540

530

1070

50

(Average)

470-490

470-480

940-970

25

(Low)

400

410

810

 

Person writing a test

PSAT8/9 Scores in 2020

The PSAT 8/9 section score percentiles are presented in the following chart:

8th Grade

9th Grade

Evidence-Based

Reading and

Writing

Math

Evidence-Based

Reading and

Writing

Math


Section Score

Percentiles

Percentiles

Percentiles

Percentiles

Nationally

Representative

Sample

PSAT

8/9

User

Nationally

Representative

Sample

PSAT

8/9

User

Nationally

Representative

Sample

PSAT

8/9

User

Nationally

Representative

Sample

PSAT

8/9

User

720

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

710

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

700

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

690

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99

680

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99

670

99+

99+

99+

99+

99+

99

99

99

660

99+

99+

99+

99+

99

99

99

99

650

99+

99+

99+

99

99

99

99

98

640

99

99

99

99

99

98

99

95

630

99

99

99

99

98

98

98

98

620

99

99

99

99

97

97

98

97

610

99

96

99

95

96

96

97

97

600

98

98

99

95

95

95

97

96

590

96

97

99

95

94

94

96

96

580

97

96

99

95

93

92

95

95

570

96

95

98

97

91

90

94

95

560

95

94

98

96

89

88

92

92

550

94

90

97

96

87

86

90

91

540

92

91

96

95

85

84

85

85

530

91

90

94

93

82

83

85

86

520

89

88

93

92

79

79

83

84

510

86

86

91

90

76

76

80

81

500

84

84

88

85

73

73

77

78

490

81

82

85

85

69

67

74

74

480

78

79

83

82

66

67

69

71

470

74

77

79

79

62

64

65

67

460

71

74

75

76

59

61

60

63

450

67

71

69

72

55

57

55

52

440

63

67

63

68

51

54

49

55

430

58

64

58

64

47

50

44

50

420

54

60

53

59

42

47

39

45

410

49

56

50

55

38

43

35

42

400

44

51

46

50

33

39

32

38

390

39

47

38

44

29

35

27

33

380

33

42

30

39

25

31

21

28

370

27

37

26

33

21

27

18

24

360

22

32

22

28

17

23

15

21

350

17

27

19

24

13

19

12

17

340

13

22

16

20

10

15

10

15

330

9

17

13

16

7

12

8

12

320

6

13

11

14

4

9

6

10

310

4

9

8

10

3

6

4

7

300

3

7

6

8

2

4

3

6

290

2

5

5

6

1

3

2

5

280

1

3

3

5

1-

2

2

4

270

1

3

2

4

1-

1

1

3

260

1

2

2

3

1-

1

1

2

250

1-

2

2

3

1-

1

1

2

240

1-

1

1

2

1-

1

1-

1

230

1-

1

1

1

1-

1

1-

1

220

1-

1

1-

1

1-

1-

1-

1

210

1-

1

1-

1

1-

1-

1-

1

200

1-

1-

1-

1

1-

1-

1-

1

190

1-

1-

1-

1

1-

1-

1-

1-

180

1-

1-

1-

1

1-

1-

1-

1-

170

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

160

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

150

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

140

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

130

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

120

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

1-

 

Source - CollegeBoard

PSAT8 

Percentile

Math Score

Reading and Writing Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

650-720

650-720

1300-1440

99

(Excellent)

580-640

610-640

1190-1280

75

(Good)

460-470

480

940-950

50

(Average/decent)

400-420

420-430

820-850

25

(Low)

370

370

740

PSAT 9 for Freshmen

Percentile

Math Score

Reading and Writing Score

Composite Score

99+

(Best)

680-760

670-760

1350-1520

99

(Excellent)

640-670

640-660

1280-1330

75

(Good)

500

520-570

1020-1070

50

(Average/decent)

450

440-460

890-910

25

(Low)

390

380-390

770-780

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+

1440 and above

Top 1%

Sophomores

99+

1450 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 to keep track of time, you might consider creating a study plan.

Conclusion

What’s a good PSAT score? 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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