What Is a Good PSAT Score? And Importance | Turito (2023)

What is a Good PSAT Score?

In this article, we’ll learn about what is a good PSAT score. Let’s begin with the PSAT overview.

PSAT is an abbreviation for the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test, often known as the Preliminary SAT. Every October, the CollegeBoard administers an established test. In October, the test is usually given once on a weekday during class and once on a Saturday.

What is the PSAT?

The exam is multiple-choice and divided into four sections:
● Evidence-Based Reading
● Language and Writing
● Maths (with the calculator)
● Maths (no calculator)

Students get three hours to finish their PSAT, which includes a break. The PSAT is essentially an SAT preparation exam. This test is given to pupils to prepare them for the SAT. It also decides who is eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSC).

Which PSAT should you take Based on your Grade?

People frequently confuse the PSAT with the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT/PSAT), which is typically administered in the fall of a student’s junior year.

The PSAT, on the other hand, is now a set of three examinations that account for the degree of information that a normal student will have gained during their education. The PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and the aforementioned NMSQT/PSAT are the three examinations.

(Video) PSAT® Scores: What do They Mean?

PSAT 8/9: The PSAT 8/9 is given to 8th and 9th students, offering them the chance to prepare for future standardized examinations early in their academic careers. The PSAT 8/9 does not have a set date because it is accessible from autumn through spring.

The PSAT 8/9 assesses three key areas of knowledge (Reading, Writing and Language, and Maths), lasts twenty minutes less than the NMSQT/PSAT (2 hr 25 mins), and is graded on a range of 240-1440.

PSAT 10: The PSAT 10 has the same structure as the NMSQT/PSAT—both exams are 2 hours and 45 minutes long, have the same number of questions (47 for Reading, 44 for Writing and Language, and 48 for Maths), and are evaluated on the same 320-1520 point range.

The key distinction between the PSAT 10 and the NMSQT/PSAT is that the subject matter assessed is gearedtowardr 10th-grade students, and your PSAT 10 score will not qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT 10 is given to sophomores in the spring of their sophomore year.

NMSQT/PSAT: Except for more advanced topic content and the opportunity to apply for a National Merit Scholarship, the NMSQT/PSAT and PSAT 10 are essentially identical in terms of time, format, and score. The NMSQT/PSAT is only 15 questions shorter than the SAT (with 5 fewer questions in Reading and 10 fewer in Maths), 15 minutes shorter than the essay-less SAT, and is evaluated on a 400-1600 point scale.

(Video) My Insane SAT Score Progression! #shorts

The second major distinction between the PSAT 10 and the NMSQT/PSAT is that the PSAT 10 is not used in college applications. A stellar performance that wins consideration for a National Merit Scholarship, on the other hand, will spark the curiosity of numerous colleges.

Scores for Subscores and Cross-Tests

In addition to the existing Maths and EBRW section scores, you will be awarded subscores and cross-test scores. These subscores subdivide the four-section area (Maths (both non-calculator and calculator portions), Language, and EBRW) into smaller areas.

Subscores on the PSAT

The table below shows the subscores of each PSAT section, with scores ranging from 1 to 15 for each subscore:

For Maths● Heart of Algebra

● Problem Solving and Data Analysis

● Passport to Advanced Maths

For EBRW● Command of Evidence

● Words in Context

● Expression of Ideas

● Standard English Conventions

Scores on the PSAT Cross-Test

The cross-test results indicate your level of performance in history, social studies, and science. Cross-test scores vary from 8 to 38. Cross-test scores are divided into two categories:
● Analysis in Historical/Social Studies
● Analysis of Science

What is an Appropriate PSAT Score for a Sophomore?

A “good” PSAT score for a sophomore is greater than the 75th percentile. This implies you outperformed 75% of the other sophomores who took the PSAT. For sophomores, the 75th percentile score on each section is roughly 520-540, for a total of 1060.

A PSAT score of “OK” for a sophomore is greater than the 50th percentile, which means you scored the same as or higher than half of the test takers. A good result, on the other hand, is higher than the 90th percentile, or 90 per cent of test-takers.

(Video) Everything you need to know about the PSAT!

This figure depicts the minimum section and aggregate scores required to achieve the 50th, 75th, 90th, and 99th percentiles on the 2020 PSAT:

PSAT Percentage (10th Grade)Maths scoreEBRW scoreComposite score

According to this logic, a good PSAT score for a sophomore is one that is greater than 1060, an OK score is greater than 920, and an exceptional score is greater than 1180.

Importance of Good PSAT Scores for Sophomores

Your sophomore-year PSAT results aren’t as crucial as your junior-year PSAT scores, which will allow you to compete for National Merit, but they’re still valuable. You may use your sophomore PSAT results to predict how well you will perform on the PSAT next year and the SAT later on.

This might help you determine how much studying you’ll need to accomplish to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship and/or reach your SAT score targets.

How does PSAT Scoring Work?

  • On each of the three exams, you will earn an 8 to 38. (Reading, Writing & Language, and Maths)
  • You will also earn a score for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math, ranging from 160 to 760.
  • Your overall PSAT score, which is derived by putting your two area scores together, will range from 320 to 1520.
  • You will also be assigned a subscore ranging from 1 to 15 in the following categories: Evidence Command, Words in Context, Idea Expression, Standard English Conventions, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Maths.

Ranges of PSAT Score + Percentages

1. Best PSAT Results

These PSAT results will place you in the top 10% of all PSAT test-takers.

  • Maths scores on the PSAT: 620+
  • Best PSAT reading & writing scores: 620+
  • Best PSAT scores overall: 1210-1520

2. PSAT Results that are Competitive

These PSAT scores will place you in a highly competitive admissions position (top 25 per cent of all PSAT test-takers)

  • PSAT maths competitive scores: 560-610
  • PSAT competitive reading and writing scores: 560-610
  • Competitive PSAT overall scores: 1070-1200

3. Excellent PSAT Results

These high PSAT scores will put you ahead of the pack (50 per cent or above), but they will not be as helpful when applying to highly competitive schools and scholarships.

  • PSAT math scores of 500-550
  • PSAT writing and reading scores of 500-550
  • PSAT overall scores: 950-1060

4. PSAT Scores Below the Average

These results may be sufficient for admission to a wide range of college programs, but they will be below average compared to the testing population.

(Video) What is the average 11th grade PSAT score?

  • PSAT math score below the average: less than 500
  • PSAT writing and reading scores below the average: below 500
  • Average overall PSAT scores: 950 or lower

What does a Good PSAT Score in 2021 Look Like?

A PSAT score higher than the 75th percentile is considered to be an excellent score. A score higher than the 75th percentile indicates that the student outperformed 75% of other PSAT exam takers. Scores over the 90th percentile are regarded as exceptional. Scores between 1070 and 1200 correspond to the 75th percentile or better.

The 75th PSAT percentile for students taking the PSAT10 may range from 530-540 in each component, for a total score of 1070. For kids taking the PSAT 8/9, the 75th percentile on each part may range from 460-480, with a composite score between 940 and 950.
The good PSAT scores for juniors, sophomores, and freshmen are shown in the tables below.

Good PSAT Scores in 2021 for Juniors (Grade 11)

The following chart depicts an abbreviated version of the good PSAT score for juniors:

PercentageMaths ScoreEBRW ScoreComposite Score
99 (best)750-760730-7601460-1520







Sophomores with High PSAT10 Scores in 2021

Are you a sophomore in high school asking, “What is a Good PSAT Score for a sophomore?” The percentiles for the PSAT10 section scores are shown in the chart below.

PercentileReading and Writing ScoreMaths ScoreComposite Score












What constitutes a good PSAT score? Above the 75th percentile is excellent, while above the 50th percentile is satisfactory. There is no quick fix for success. There are, however, wiser methods to accomplish this. It is very advised that you explore PSAT facts and understand its scoring mechanism.

Make sure you are also aware of any modifications or adjustments. We think that by following the aforementioned suggestions, anyone may achieve a decent PSAT score. Continue to try!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is PSAT?

The PSAT is essentially an SAT preparation exam. This test is given to pupils to prepare them for the SAT. It also decides who is eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSC).

2. Is 850 a good PSAT score?

No, according to this logic, a good PSAT score for a sophomore is one that is greater than 1060, an OK score is greater than 920, and an exceptional score is greater than 1180.

(Video) PSAT Prep: How is the PSAT Scored?

3. Is a 1200 PSAT score well?

Yes, a good PSAT score for a sophomore is greater than 1060.


Is a good PSAT score important? ›

The PSAT won't count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship . Some of the highest scoring students may win scholarship money, so while you shouldn't stress out about the PSAT, you certainly shouldn't ignore it either.

What is an impressive PSAT score? ›

The average PSAT/NMSQT score is about 920. A score between 1210 and 1520 puts you in the top 10% of test takers. The PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT are very similar tests, so your score on the PSAT/NMSQT can give you an idea of how you'll do when you take the SAT.

What PSAT score qualifies for National Merit? ›

To be competitive for National Merit Semifinalist status, students need to score about 1400 on the PSAT in less competitive states like Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota . . . or about 1470 on the PSAT in more competitive states like Connecticut or New Jersey.

What is the top 1% on the PSAT? ›

The data above tells us that the top 1% of test takers—about 16,000 juniors—scored between 1460 and 1520. Contrary to what many believe, you do not need a perfect PSAT score to get into the 99th percentile.

Does a 1400 PSAT qualify for National Merit? ›

Practically speaking, this means that anyone who qualifies as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist (PSAT scores of 1400/1520 and up, depending on the state of residence) should be able to easily achieve a confirming score (SAT scores as low as 1320/1600, and ACT scores as low as 26/36), especially given multiple ...

Do colleges care about you PSAT score? ›

College Board does not send PSAT/NMSQT scores to colleges. These scores are not intended to be part of college admission decisions.

What is a good PSAT score for Ivy League? ›

If your ultimate goal is to attend an elite university, then you should know that a good PSAT score for Ivy League admission is to be in the 99th percentile or higher. In other words, if your main priority is getting into the Ivy League, you should aim for a composite PSAT score anywhere between 1280 and 1520.

What PSAT score is National Merit 2023? ›

To state the obvious, some of the 50 U.S. states are obviously far more competitive than others—and colleges will keep this in mind during the admission process. The main qualification for National Merit is a high PSAT score (out of 1520). Thus, a high SAT score (out of 1600) will in most cases serve the same purpose.

What percentile is best for PSAT? ›

What Are Good PSAT Scores For Each Section Of The Exam
  • “Outstanding” – 99th+ percentile. EMRW: 610-720. Math: 580-720.
  • “Great” – 90th percentile. EMRW: 520-530. Math: 500-510.
  • “Solid” – 75th percentile. EMRW: 470-480. Math: 460.
  • “Average” – 50th percentile. EMRW: 410-420. Math: 410.
Nov 7, 2022

What PSAT score can get you a scholarship? ›

Out of 50,000 recognized students, around 34,000 fall into this category. For the 2022 scholarship cycle, the national minimum qualifying score was 207.

Can you get a merit scholarship from the PSAT? ›

Students who plan to spend five years in grades 9 through 12 before entering college full time can participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program if they take the PSAT/NMSQT in the third year of high school and again in the fourth year.

What is considered a good PSAT score for a sophomore? ›

What Is a Good PSAT Score for a Sophomore Based on Percentiles?
PercentileTotal ScoreEvidence-Based Reading and Writing Score
75 (good)1060540-550
50 (median)920470
4 more rows

Does the PSAT matter in 11th grade? ›

Students should be sure to take the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade if they are interested in qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship or any other scholarships offered through the test.

What percentile qualifies for National Merit? ›

Each year, NMSC recommends the top 1% of junior semifinalists for a scholarship, meaning you'll typically have to score in the 99th percentile. Of those students, fewer than 8,000 will receive a scholarship. NMSC uses the Selection Index score to choose scholarship semifinalists.

What is a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›

The average PSAT 10 score is around 920. A score between 1210 and 1520 places you in the top 10% of test takers.

What does a 1420 on the PSAT mean? ›

To begin with, the PSAT score range is from 320 to 1520.

The average PSAT score is around 920 (460 in Math and 460 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing), while an outstanding PSAT score (one that will qualify you as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist) is between 1420 and 1480.

What happens if you get a 1500 on the PSAT? ›

In 2022, a PSAT score of 1500-1520 would be considered an exceptionally strong score for any student. This score should place a student in the 1st percentile of all test takers, meaning that students scoring in this range have performed better than 99% of students who take this test.

What is a good PSAT score for a junior? ›

Like freshman and sophomore year, a good PSAT score junior year can be defined as a score at or above the 75th percentile. For high school juniors, based on data from test takers during the 2020-2021 school year, a “good” score in the 75th percentile is a 1150.

Does the PSAT affect your GPA? ›

Your PSAT scores won't get you into college or affect your GPA. But if you're a junior, high scores on the PSAT can earn you scholarship dollars, including a National Merit Scholarship.

Is it okay to not do well on the PSAT? ›

You definitely want to keep PSAT scores in perspective. A low score will not be seen by colleges, so even if you don't perform well you haven't hurt your chances of getting into a top college or university.

Does Harvard look at PSAT? ›

Harvard will not care about your PSAT score, since the only standardized tests used in the admissions process are the SAT and ACT.

What PSAT scores do colleges look for? ›

Colleges do not look at PSAT scores when making admissions decisions. But the PSAT serves two purposes in college admission. First, it gives your child a glimpse of how she'll do on the SAT. Second, a high score can qualify her for scholarship money.

Does PSAT matter in 10th grade? ›

If your child is in 10th grade, they can benefit from taking the PSAT 10 in several ways. It identifies their academic strengths and weaknesses early in high school, when there's plenty of time to improve before college. It lets them know which Advanced Placement (AP) courses they're most likely to do well in.

How do I get a National Merit Scholarship? ›

United States high school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary S A T/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which serves as an initial screen of over 1.5 million entrants each year, and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

What is a semi finalist on the PSAT 2023? ›

Semifinalists are the highest scorers on the PSAT in their state, and qualifying scores can vary from year to year. For example, in Maine, a score of 221 would have qualified as a Semifinalist last year, but you'd need a 215 in the 2022-2023 cycle to meet the cutoff.

How many times can you take the PSAT for National Merit? ›

How many times can I take the PSAT/NMSQT? Students can take the PSAT up to three times during high school. It is only offered once per year, but a student can take advantage of the test in the freshman, sophomore, and junior years. However, the score will only count for scholorships during the junior year.

What does a 1010 PSAT score mean? ›

Generally, the above 50th percentile (above 1010 percentile score) is a good PSAT score. This because it shows your score above most students who attended the exam. But that doesn't mean the 50th percentile is better for you; in your case, it may be 90 or 70.

How much does PSAT score improve? ›

This means that if you got a 150 on the PSAT, you can expect to get 150 x 10 + 139 = 1639 on the SAT. Remember to multiply your PSAT score by 10 to get the SAT equivalent, then add 139. What does this mean? It reflects that scores for students go up generally because they're learning more in school.

Is the PSAT harder than the SAT? ›

The PSAT is slightly less challenging than the SAT because it is designed to be a practice test. As a precursor exam, the PSAT will introduce students to the subject matter and test structure of the SAT. The PSAT is a shorter test as well, with fewer questions. The SAT is 15 minutes longer.

How many times can you take the PSAT? ›

Most students take the PSAT/NMSQT once—in 11th grade. They can take it up to three times in high school but only once a year. Scholarship programs only look at the junior year PSAT/NMSQT score.

Should I take the PSAT twice? ›

However, a common (and recommended) option for students is to take the PSAT twice;once in 10th grade, and again in 11th grade. If you take the PSAT twice, you'll get great practice in 10th grade, and you can use your 11th grade PSAT score as part of your eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Does PSAT matter as sophomore? ›

Your counselor can also help you find practice tests (many are online) and give you some helpful hints about test-taking strategy. And remember: PSAT scores from your sophomore year don't count toward National Merit Scholarship eligibility, but PSAT scores from your junior year do count.

Is 1000 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›

A combined score of 1000 is approximately the national average, which represents the 50th percentile (students who score 1000 score right in the middle, with 50% of the people scoring higher and 50% of the students scoring lower).

Is 990 a good PSAT score for a sophomore? ›

According to this approach, an average score higher than 1060 indicates a decent PSAT score for a sophomore, above 920 indicates an OK score, and beyond 1180 indicates an excellent score.

Can you retake PSAT for National Merit? ›

Qualifying for National Merit Scholarship Program

While sophomores can take the PSAT, they must retake the test during their junior year to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Is being a National Merit Scholar a big deal? ›

Gaining recognition as a National Merit Semifinalist is a prestigious achievement to include on college applications, and many colleges and corporate sponsors offer special scholarships to these students, even if they don't become finalists.

What GPA do you need for national merit scholarship? ›

National Merit Semi-Finalist and Finalist students take their academics seriously. You must maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA to qualify for the application process and maintain that GPA throughout your four years of high school.

How rare is National Merit Scholarship? ›

National Merit Scholarship requirements are based on a student's PSAT/NMSQT. Students usually take this exam in their junior year of high school. Each year, 1.5 million students enter the competition to become National Merit Scholars. Of these students, approximately 7,500 will receive National Merit Scholarships.

What PSAT score should an 11th grader have? ›

According to this chart, a good PSAT score for a junior is a composite score higher than 1150, an OK score is one higher than 1000 or 1010, and an excellent score is anything higher than 1280.

Is 970 a good PSAT score? ›

A good PSAT score is a composite score of 1070 or higher, which puts you in the top 25% of all PSAT test takers. PSAT scoring can be pretty complex, so it's important to understand how it works.

Does it matter if you get a bad PSAT score? ›

Your acceptance or rejection into college is much more dependent on the SAT or ACT , so the short answer is “no,” colleges don't care at all about the PSAT. An abysmal score on the PSAT will not have any direct effect on your chances of getting into a college.

Is the 10th grade PSAT important? ›

If your child is in 10th grade, they can benefit from taking the PSAT 10 in several ways. It identifies their academic strengths and weaknesses early in high school, when there's plenty of time to improve before college. It lets them know which Advanced Placement (AP) courses they're most likely to do well in.

What grade does the PSAT matter in? ›

The PSAT/NMSQT is designed for 10th and 11th graders. Some schools offer the PSAT 8/9, which tests the same skills as the PSAT/NMSQT, but in ways that are appropriate for earlier grade levels. Check with your child's school counselor to see if your school offers the PSAT 8/9.

What PSAT do you need for Harvard? ›

But those averages can change depending on the college you're hoping to apply to. For example, the average PSAT score by Harvard admitted students was between 1420 and 1520 (or 210-238 on the old scale). That's a high goal to aim for, to be sure.

Does Harvard care about PSAT scores? ›

Harvard also uses PSAT scores to identify promising students from across the U.S. to invite to apply. When you take the PSAT in your junior year, you will be in the running to be named as a National Merit scholar.

Do colleges look at sophomore PSAT? ›

In general, colleges do not see your PSAT scores, even if you qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Does PSAT 10 qualify for National Merit? ›

Interested students should see their counselor at the beginning of the school year to make arrangements to take the PSAT/NMSQT at the school in the fall. Note: The PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 will not be considered for entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program.


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