The PSAT is a standardized test administered to students in the 11th grade or younger to assess intellectual abilities and determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship award. Understanding how to analyze your PSAT score can help you discover how you performed compared to others and whether you may be eligible for the honor.
Additionally, the PSAT is an excellent way to practice for the SAT. Although the PSAT is slightly less complex than the SAT, it includes similar reading, writing, and mathematics material. After taking the PSAT, you can use the PSAT to SAT conversion table to determine how your scores will project to the SAT.
After gaining a deeper understanding of your SAT performance, you can use this information wisely. It can be beneficial in terms of determining what to study to increase your score. Additionally, it might assist you in deciding if you should prioritize studying for the SAT and ACT.
Below, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about PSAT scores. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the test, how to calculate a PSAT score using a PSAT calculator, and convert your PSAT score to SAT using a conversion chart. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.
What is the PSAT?
The PSAT, also known as the Preliminary SAT, is a practice version of the SAT exam. Students can only take the PSAT once per year. Many of them took the test in the 10th and 11th grades. If students score high on the PSAT in their junior year, they may qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.
The National Merit Scholarship itself is a $180 million merit scholarship available to the best American students every year. This scholarship provides almost 10,000 scholarships to students based on their outstanding abilities, skills, and accomplishments. Each year, the top 50,000 scorers on the PSAT get commendation letters from the National Merit Program.
Meanwhile, the PSAT lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The test assesses the students’ reading, writing, and mathematics abilities. However, the highest possible score in the PSAT is 1520, which is different from the SAT.
What is tested in PSAT?
There are four sections to the PSAT, including Evidence-Based Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (calculator allowed).
The Evidence-Based Reading section of the PSAT will test the examinee’s ability to read a short excerpt, think critically about its main ideas and key details, and answer related questions. The questions will test concepts such as the command of evidence, words in context, and analysis in historical or social studies and the sciences.
On the other hand, the Writing and Language section of the PSAT will assess students’ ability to identify and correct grammatical errors and revise words and phrases to improve the text.
Then, there are two parts to mathematics in the PSAT: one allows calculators, and one does not. Both sections contain multiple-choice questions covering the digits 0-9, decimal points, and a fraction or division bar. Some questions have two related parts where information from the first part is used to answer the question from the second part.
How is the PSAT scored?
Each correct answer from the PSAT counts as one point to the raw score. Since there is no penalty for guessing in the PSAT, students should answer each multiple-choice question even if they have to guess.
Next, their raw scores will be converted to scaled scores. The scaled score will range from 160 to 760 for each section. These composite scores are the combinations of the scaled scores from each section. In other words, the composite scores will range from 320 to 1520.
In addition to the scaled scores, test-takers will receive three PSAT scores, 2 cross-test scores, and 7 subscores. Test scores for Reading, Writing and Language, and Math will range from 8 to 38, and these scores will be used to calculate the Selection Index of students for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
The College Board, which administers the test, employs a technique called “equating” to ensure that scores are scaled equitably and that there is no advantage to taking the PSAT on a specific day. In other words, students can compare their scores with those of someone who took the test on a different day. Additionally, the correct answer choices are dispersed to answer A-D are equally likely.
When can I access my PSAT score?
You can access a report on your PSAT score online from December 10-12 each year. Some schools may hand out and explain these score reports to their students during the school day, while others may mail them directly to parents.
In either case, if you have any queries about your PSAT score report, you should contact your counselor. While your counselor may send you a paper copy of your PSAT score report, you will want to access it online to get the most out of your results.
This online report will summarize your performance with your test scores. Additionally, you’ll be able to drill down and determine your specific performance on individual questions, which are classified according to their complexity and topic.
What is a good PSAT score?
That is location-dependent. You want to achieve a high PSAT score since it will help you qualify as a National Merit Commended Scholar or Semifinalist. However, each state accepts a specific number of kids; thus, the cutoff in your state depends by how other children in your grade perform.
Your counselor can assist you in learning more about the previous year’s cutoffs for your state, but even that information is not predictive, as student performance varies year to year.
How to calculate PSAT score?
You can use a 3-step PSAT calculator to calculate your PSAT score.
First, determine your raw scores.
Your raw Reading score will be out of 47 points. Using your practice test’s answer key, add up all of the correct answers you earned on the Reading section to get your raw Reading score.
Next, your raw Writing score will be out of 44 points. The Writing answer key is located next to the Reading answer key. Once again, add up all of your correct answers on your test’s answer key to get your raw Writing score.
Finally, tally your correct answers on the No Calculator and Calculator subsections to calculate your raw Math score. Then, combine these two scores to get your total raw Math score.
Second, convert to scaled scores.
Scaled scores are the final section scores you’ll receive on the PSAT. These scores use a scale of 160-760, with each accounting for half your total PSAT score. Raw-score-to-scaled-score conversions vary slightly with each PSAT due to differences in equating formulas. Therefore, individual students may use different conversion charts to convert their PSAT scores.
Finally, combine for total scores.
Once you have your individual Reading and Writing test scores, combine these scores to get a total EBRW test score on a scale of 16-76. Finally, multiply this sum by 10 to get your scaled EBRW score. Then, add your EBRW section score to your Math section score to get your total PSAT score out of 1520.
Can you convert PSAT to SAT?
You can forecast your score using the PSAT to SAT conversion table. Calculate your SAT score using this chart based on your PSAT score. Note that the scores in this table are for the PSAT/NMSQT, not for other exam variants. And once you have verified your score, do not forget to apply for this $2K No Essay Scholarship, which is open to all high school seniors!