What Is A Good PSAT Score for 10th Grade Students (2023)

The most common question oncePSATscores are released is always “what is a good PSAT score and do you have any PSAT Tips?”

TheCollege Board, makers of the PSAT, SAT, and AP exams releases the data online in December, along with a number of charts and graphs, with apaper version of your scores coming a few months later. Unfortunately, the score report chart the College Board provides is nearly as confusing as the test!Let me help you understand what is considered a good PSAT score.

After this explanation, come back and read thetop three strategies to improve your PSAT score.

Before you continue, please let me remind you that the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a multiple-choice exam that tests reading and writing skills, math reasoning skills. Your section scores are added up to form your total score (often called your composite score), and you are then, if you score high enough, make you eligible for National Merit Scholarships. There is a score range along with other factors like high school grades that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation factors in and decides if you will become a National Merit Scholar (usually for students around the 99th percentile).

Tests taken in your sophomore year do not count and must be taken in your junior year.

Finally, you must remember that a high PSAT score (nor SAT scores orACTscores, for that matter) are not tests of your intelligence and/or your future happiness! Please have the proper perspective about your scores before moving on.

First, take the PSAT/NMSQT. After you have been notified, to view your PSAT Score Report, you will need to log on to the College Board’s website to view the scores.

PSAT Sign In

What Is A Good PSAT Score for 10th Grade Students (1)

After sign in, you will be taken to your results page:

What Is A Good PSAT Score for 10th Grade Students (2)

The welcome screen will your three main PSAT scores: theTotal Score, theEvidence-Based ReadingandWriting Score, and theMath Score. Though the PSAT/NMSQT gives many other sub-scores, for most students and parents, these are the three numbers you will be most concerned with.

TheTotal Scorerepresents theEvidence-Based Reading and Writing Score plus the Math Score. This is the number that most people will remember 10 years from now and the one you will tell your friends about.

TheEvidence-Based Reading and Writingscore is a combination of two sections, theReading Test and The Writing and Language Test (these numbers represent your section score). TheReading Testchallenges students’ ability to read extended passages and answer questions based on their critical reading skills. TheWriting and Languagesection requires students to identify grammar errors in a multiple-choice format primarily looking for the ability to recognize errors in grammar, punctuation, and usage.

TheMath Scoreis a combination of two math sections:CalculatorandNo Calculatorsections.

These two sections both are math-based but the No Calculator section challenges problem-solving skills more than the Calculator section. Both tests require knowledge of math fundamentals, Algebra I and II, and very basic trigonometry.

There is no pre-calculus or calculus required on either test.

PSAT scoring is the same as the SAT. The test score on the PSAT is different than the SAT, but the reading and writing section and each math section are the same as the SAT. Consider taking the PSAT as a risk-free way of getting an SAT score.

In a very real sense, taking the PSAT is a free way of getting a sense of what your SAT scores would be, and serves as a great way to get in some SAT prep time.

To view a sample of the PSAT,click here.

What Do These Score Mean

Each section of thePSAThas a score range from160 to 760and a combined score from320 to 1520. For comparison, the redesignedSAThas a section score range from200 to 800and a combined score from400 to 1600.

While people may commonly refer to the combined score, converting this combined score to arelative percentileis a much more useful number to use.

The relative percentile allows students to understand how their scores compare to other student scores.A combined score of1000is approximately thenational average, which represents the50thpercentile (students who score1000score right in the middle, with50% of the people scoring higher and50% of the students scoring lower).A combined score of900is the 31st percentile, (students scored higher than 31% of the people but unfortunately,69% of the students scored higher).

On the other end of the spectrum, a score of1220is the85thpercentile (students scored higher than 85% of the people and only 15% of the students scored higher).

For college admissions, these numbers are very important. In a recent survey by the College Board of American colleges, 85% of the schools found test scores to be a key factor in determining admissions.

With college admissions becoming more and more competitive, the emphasis on test scores has increased.

National Merit Scholarship

For 11th graders, thePSATalso represents a chance to be considered for theNational Merit ScholarshipProgram (the different from the College Board).The top 50,000 scorers on the PSAT are recognized by the National Merit program and sent letters of commendation. Approximately 10,000 students will share $45 million in scholarship money ($2,500 a year scholarships).

Students in their junior year who take the PSAT are the only ones eligible for National Merit Scholarships.

College and Career Readiness Benchmarks

The College Board has determined that students are considered college and career-ready when their section scores meet theverbal and math benchmarks. Their studies have determined that students who score at or above the benchmark score will have a 75% chance of earning a C in the corresponding course.For example, a math score of a 510 will meet the standard and therefore gives a student a 75% chance of earning a C in a credit-bearing college math course.

A score of 460 will meet the standard and give a student of 75% chance of earning a C in a credit-bearing course in history, literature, or writing class.

What Do I Do Now

The PSAT section score, total score (composite score), and score range found on the PSAT Score Report provide you with an early indicator if you are college and career-ready. Other factors such as persistence, desire, and family support can be every bit as important as a test score. The test scores do often reveal weaknesses that should not be overlooked.

While the College Board is comfortable stating that a benchmark score will yield a 75% chance at a C, as a parent, I am looking for better odds.

While it should be said that a higher score does not guarantee success, it does often make things easier when students get to college.

If the Evidence-based Reading and Writing scores are near the benchmark, congratulations!However, is this enough? With the great costs involved in college, you may want better than a 75% chance at a C average? If so, you may want to investigate ways to improve critical reading and writing skills.

For those of you that are concerned that school and the Common Core aren’t doing enough to prepare students for college, here is aninteresting articleabout what college professors think.

PSAT Tips and Strategies


  • Read and read a lot.Don’t just read for pleasure, however. Make certain to stop and question what is occurring in the story, how the characters interact, and what the author is setting up that is not clearly stated.
  • Write about your experiences. Daily writing is one way to improve. Be careful, however. Practice makes permanent, not perfect. If you reinforce a bad habit daily, it will be very challenging to change. As you write, continue to edit and improve your work. Periodically show this work to someone who will be able to edit for content and grammar. It can be difficult to ask people to read your writing, but this is a necessary step in order to improve.
  • Don’t over practice on test materials! Too often students will work on sample practice tests and get frustrated that they did not improve. Those practice tests are measuring fundamental skills, so why not practice and master the fundamentals.


  • Know the fundamentals. Nearly 40% of the test is based on elementary and algebra I skills. If there are any weaknesses in these areas, the PSAT, SAT, and ACT will exploit them.
  • Learn to reason! The No Calculator section does not contain much difficult math, but it does contain very difficult and challenging reasoning questions. If reasoning questions are very difficult, then practice by working on logic games.Sudoku, New York Crossword puzzles, and chess are all great ways to improve reasoning skills.
  • Master advanced math skills.The redesigned PSAT and SAT have put a greater emphasis on algebra II and trigonometry. In order to get top math scores, students need to understand this subject matter very well.

Watch our videos on our YouTube channel for other information about the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Find great test-taking tips as well!

If you are still asking yourself what is a good PSAT score for a 10th grader, you are desperate to be a National Merit semifinalist or finalist, or if improving these skills is too difficult on your own, contact me. I have 30 years of experience in teachingPSAT, SAT, and ACT prepas well as most other academic subjects in school.

You can reach me by email at [emailprotected] or 844-56-GENIUS.


Question: Is 930 a good PSAT score?

Answer:First thing to realize is that you can only compete against yourself on the PSAT (or SAT for that matter). To say that you are going to get a 1200 or 1350 on the PSAT is like telling yourself how much money you will make when you grow up. The PSAT for sophomores is a way to get yourself exposed to college prep standardized testing. If you got a score below theCollege and Career Readiness Benchmarks, then you may want to do a bit more work on your fundamentals. The current benchmarks are for 10th graders 430 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 480 for Math.

For 11th graders, the benchmarks are 460 for the verbal section and 510 for the math section (the expectation is that PSAT scores for sophomores will be lower than juniors).

Question:Does a 1040 PSAT score translate to a 920 on SAT scoring charts?

Answer:Score conversion is a hotly debated topic. The College Board changed the scoring for the PSAT to use the same scale as the SAT. Unfortunately, the scores don't exactly line up. I have seen students score a sophomore get a 1040 PSAT score and go on to get a 1050 on PSATs in the 11th grade then 920 on SATs in the future. As much as they would like to say that it is consistent, I'm afraid it isn't that way.


What is an okay PSAT score for a sophomore? ›

A result superior to the 90th percentile, or 90% of test takers, is considered outstanding. 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.

Is 1030 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›

For 10th grade students taking the test (either the PSAT 10 or the PSAT/NMSQT): 99th percentile and above (“outstanding”): 1370–1520. 90th percentile (“great”): 1170. 75th percentile (“solid”): 1050.

Is 1060 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›

For most students, a good PSAT score is above the 75th percentile, or a 1060.

Is 770 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›

A good PSAT score is a composite score of 1070 or higher, which puts you in the top 25% of all PSAT test takers.

Do colleges look at 10th grade PSAT? ›

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

Do 10th grade PSAT scores matter? ›

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 PSAT score is required for Harvard? ›

PSAT Averages

This would put you squarely in the 50th percentile of scoring. 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).

What is the minimum PSAT score for National Merit Scholarship? ›

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 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 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 is the average PSAT score for a 15 year old? ›

The PSAT scores scale makes it so that most test takers score around 920 (the halfway point between 320 and 1520). And the data backs this up: the average PSAT scores are 920 for 10th graders and 1010 for 11th graders.

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 ...

What is a scholarship worthy PSAT score? ›

Commended students meet the national minimum qualifying score. 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.

Is 97th percentile PSAT 10 good? ›

An "OK" PSAT score is one higher than the 50th percentile, which means you scored the same as or higher than half of all other test takers. An excellent score is a score in the 90th percentile or higher (although a 90th percentile score still isn't high enough to qualify for National Merit, as we discuss more below).

What is the 99th percentile score on the PSAT? ›

The 99th percentile for the PSAT is 690 for evidence-based reading and writing and 720 for math, yielding a total score of 1410. The 99th percentile is somewhat misleading, however, since there are several levels of 99+ percentiles as well, and those overall scores are higher.

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.

Do sophomore PSAT scores matter? ›

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 the PSAT a big deal? ›

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.

Is 900 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›

A combined score of 900 is the 31st percentile, (students scored higher than 31% of the people but unfortunately, 69% of the students scored higher).

Which PSAT qualifies for National Merit? ›

The 2022 Preliminary S A T/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) is the qualifying test for entry to the 2024 National Merit Program.

Which PSAT counts for National Merit? ›

Only your junior year PSAT counts toward National Merit distinction and scholarships, though taking the PSAT as a sophomore or freshman can be good practice, especially if you're aiming for top scores. Students who achieve top scores may receive recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Does PSAT affect 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.

What's the lowest GPA Harvard accepted? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

What is 97th percentile on PSAT? ›

A very good PSAT score is in the 93rd percentile among users, and the 97th percentile nationally. These percentiles are equivalent to a 1400 on the SAT. If you're a junior this amounts to about a 1330 on your PSAT. If you're a 10th grader, then ideally we want to see you at 1300.

How to convert PSAT score to National Merit Score? ›

The Selection Index is a weighting of your PSAT component scores to determines the level of your recognition within the initial stages of the National Merit program. How is the Selection Index calculated? The Selection Index is double the sum of your Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test Scores.

What percent of PSAT takers get National Merit? ›

They also have to do really, really well on the PSAT. The top 3-4% of scorers are named Commended Scholars—an impressive distinction to put on college applications. The top 1%, or about 16,000 students across the country, are named National Merit Semifinalists.

How much scholarship can I get from PSAT? ›

The National Merit Scholarship awards $2,500 to each National Merit Scholar. Every year, around 7,500 high school juniors receive a National Merit Scholarship. In addition to a National Merit Scholarship, students with qualifying PSAT scores can receive merit scholarships offered by businesses and colleges.

Does Harvard accept PSAT? ›

Selection Process

We evaluate all information submitted—including transcripts, counselor reports, and your GPA—when considering your application. You are welcome to submit PSAT, SAT, or ACT test scores, but they are not required.

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 is the highest score someone has gotten on the PSAT? ›

Students receive a scaled score ranging from 160 to 760 for each of the sections, with 160 being the lowest possible score and 760 being the highest possible score. The two scaled scores are added together to get the student's total PSAT score, with a total score range from 320 to 1520.

What is the highest PSAT score in the US? ›

While the SAT is scored in a range of 400–1600, the PSAT is scored in a range of 320–1520.

Is 1150 a good PSAT score 10th grade? ›

A score in the 75th percentile is considered the benchmark — usually an 1150 overall. The top 1% of junior test-takers become semifinalists for National Merit scholarships.

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? ›

Any PSAT score in the range of 1450-1500 is also a tremendous achievement, and an early indication that a student is academically prepared to pursue applications to top-ranked universities and colleges in the US.

Is 1350 PSAT bad? ›

Excellent PSAT Scores: 1170-1350

10th-grade students who scored between 1170 and 1350 on the PSAT test fall within the top 10% of all test takers.

Do scholarships look at PSAT? ›

The PSAT gives you an opportunity to understand the standardized test experience. Your scores will not be sent to colleges and do not impact your high school grades. You should still take this test seriously: PSAT scores determine your eligibility for National Merit Scholarships.

What SAT score do you need to get merit scholarships? ›

So you're probably wondering, What's a good SAT score for scholarships, and how can I find them? The short answer is that you should aim for an SAT score between 1200 and 1600 if you want to secure some scholarships based on merit–and the higher within that range you score the more money you're looking at.

How do you qualify for a scholarship on the PSAT? ›

In order to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, a student must: 1) take the PSAT/NMSQT during his or her 3rd year (junior year) of high school 2) be enrolled as a high school student (traditional or homeschooled) and plan to enroll in college full time by the fall after his or her high school ...

Is 770 a good PSAT score for a sophomore? ›

Based on that reasoning, a good PSAT score for a sophomore is a composite score higher than 1060, an OK score is one higher than 920, and an excellent score is anything higher than 1180.

What is a good PSAT score for a 14 year old? ›

A good PSAT score is considered to be anything above a 1280*. A score of 1280 puts a student in the 95th percentile, meaning they scored higher than 95% of other students who took the test. This score is also above the average score, which is a 920.

Is a 920 a good 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 score do colleges want on PSAT? ›

Any PSAT score in the range of 1450-1500 is also a tremendous achievement, and an early indication that a student is academically prepared to pursue applications to top-ranked universities and colleges in the US. If you score between a 1400 and a 1450 you should also be proud.

What is a bad PSAT score? ›

What's a Good 2020 PSAT Score Based on Percentiles?
PSAT PercentileMath ScoreTOTAL Score
50th (Good/Average)490-5001010
25th (Below Average)420-430860
10th (Poor)380-390750
1st (Poorest)300 and below630 and below
3 more rows
Sep 16, 2020

Do PSAT scores matter? ›

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.

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 930 a good PSAT score for a junior? ›

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.

What is a good PSAT score for scholarships? ›

Any score above 1010 is above-average, and a score above 1450 is a top-tier score that makes students competitive for big scholarships and admission to elite colleges. However, the full definition of a “good PSAT score” is a little more complex, so we wrote this thorough guide.

What is the max PSAT score? ›

While the SAT is scored in a range of 400–1600, the PSAT is scored in a range of 320–1520.


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