What is a Good PSAT Score?

A good PSAT score can be hard to score, but is possible. Learn more about PSAT scores, percentiles, tips to get a good score and more.

Updated by Selva Kumar on 22nd October 2020

Most of the high school students take the PSAT in 10th or 11th grade and sometimes both. So you might face a question that what exactly is the PSAT, and what is considered to be a good PSAT score, and many more.

Good PSAT scores usually have a scaled score ranging between 950 to 1060, Math score of 500-550, and with reading and writing score of 500-550. If you achieve a score ranging on this scale, it signifies that you have scored above the average. 

Well in this article you will explore answers to most of the questions centering a good PSAT score.

What is the PSAT?

The PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test or Preliminary SAT, it is an institutionalized test conducted by the CollegeBoard every October, this is a multiple-choice test consisting of four sections: Two math sections, the Reading and writing test, and the language test with a total time limit of two hours and ten minutes.

This test is administered in order to give the students a taste of what the SAT will be like. It also has other benefits like 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, This scoring scale and SAT scoring scale differ slightly as SAT ranges from 400-1600.

The scoring method of this exam is so similar to that of the SAT. Here, the scores of Evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) and Math scores 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 total 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 across different dates. These scaled scores are derived from the raw scores.

These Raw scores are calculated by the number of questions answered correctly from each section (Math, Language, and EBRW; Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)

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 breakdown the three-section(Math, Language, and EBRW) area into further smaller sections.

PSAT Subscores

These subscores help you show the level of performance on the specific subject areas

The following table shows the subscores for the respective section area.

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 area of history, social studies, and science, these Cross-test scores are section based, and they range in a scoring scale of 8-38.

The Cross-test scores are classified into two types, that are as follows:

  • Analysis in Historical/Social Studies

  • Analysis in Science

What is an average PSAT score in 2020?

The average PSAT score ranges from 440-490 for each section of Math and EBRW (PSAT10) and 400-460 for each section of Math and EBRW (PSAT 8/9).

What is a Good PSAT Score in 2020?

In general, a “good score” differs based on the average, acceptance rate, and competition. So a good PSAT can be defined as a score that’s higher than the 75th percentile. This means if a student has scored higher than 75% of other PSAT test-takers, then it is considered to be a good score and a score above 90 percentile can be said as an outstanding number.

For students appearing for PSAT10, the 75th PSAT percentile may range from 530-540 on 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 may range from 940-950.

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

Good PSAT Scores For Juniors in 2020

For the year 2020, 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 2019

Note: PSAT/NMSQT scores 2020 will be tentatively announced in mid-December. 

Good PSAT10 Scores for Sophomores in 2020

The percentile for the PSAT10  section score is presented in the following chart.

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

PSAT8/9 Scores in 2020

The PSAT8/9 section score percentile is presented in the following chart

SourceCollegeBoard

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 highest/ perfect PSAT score is a total of 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. Fix a goal

It is good to have a goal, which helps you focus on your PSAT preparation without much stress and distraction. Knowing your end result and working would definitely make you understand where you went wrong if you are stuck and the reason if you succeed.

2. Just Practice

Be aware of your weaknesses and strengths and start working on them. Take a practice test and review, if you can't reach your goal, practice until you reach them from the current score.

3. Keep Guessing

Guessing might sometimes work. As there are no negative marks for wrong ones just try to attend each and every question. You might get it right.

4. Create a schedule

To keep your mind focused and to keep track of time, you should create a study plan, “Plan your study, study by your Plan”.

Conclusion

There is no shortcut to success. However, there are smarter ways to achieve it. It is highly recommended to scrutinize the information related to PSAT and stay updated on changes and amendments. By adhering to the aforementioned tips, we believe anyone can score a good PSAT score. Keep trying, keep hustling! All the best!

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