What is a Good PSAT Score for a Freshman? | Turito US Blog (2023)

Good PSAT Score for a freshman If you plan on getting a high Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) score your junior year, you may choose to take the PSAT as a freshman for preparation. Taking the PSAT in 9th grade will let you identify your present level of performance and determine how you might improve in the future.

As a freshman, you have the option of taking the PSAT/NMSQT, which is given to 11th students, or the PSAT 8/9, which is given to 8th and 9th graders. The score ranges for these two examinations are comparable yet somewhat different. This post will go through the scoring and percentages for both so you know what a decent PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 8/9 score as a freshman would be.

How Is the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) Calculated?

The PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) and (PSAT) 8/9 have different score methods, although they match up very well overall. Let’s have a look at both of them.

The PSAT/NMSQT yields two scaled scores ranging from 160 to 760. One is for maths, while the other is for reading and writing simultaneously. When you combine these scaled scores, you receive a composite Preliminary SAT (PSAT) score range of 320 to 1520.

(Video) What's a Good PSAT® Score? Updated for 2022-2023!

The PSAT 8/9 is lowered by 80 points, resulting in a total score of 240 to 1440, or 120 to 720 for each component. It has been reduced to compensate for the fact that it is a significantly simpler test than the PSAT/NMSQT. While a perfect score on PSAT 8/9 is impressive, it does not correspond directly to a perfect score on the PSAT/ NMSQT.

Similarly, the PSAT/NMSQT scored 80 points lower than the SAT, with a score range of 400 to 1600, to compensate for its slightly less difficult topic. Imagine the score ranges as a slide, with the SAT at the top, the PSAT/NMSQT immediately below, and the PSAT 8/9 beneath.

When calculating your final marks, the College Board considers everyone’s performance on a particular administration. It awards a % to your scores once they have been estimated. To provide an example, if you scored in the 75th percentage, you performed at or above the level of 75% of other test-takers. The remaining 25 percent of test-takers scored higher than you.

We can address our initial question about a good PSAT score for a freshman by looking at how scaled scores are converted into percentages. Then, objectively, we may look at whose PSAT score is greater than the bulk of other test-takers. For example, is your score higher than normal, or did you fall short of the halfway point?

(Video) What's a Good PSAT® Score! UPDATED 2021

PSAT percentages and Scores
We’ll look at the statistics for both exams because freshmen can take either the PSAT/NMSQT or the PSAT 8/9. We can determine what constitutes a solid score on any exam for a freshman by looking at how results fall into percentages. First, let’s look at the Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/NMSQT percentage chart.

Percentage Chart for the PSAT/NMSQT
Because most PSAT/NMSQT test takers are juniors, followed by sophomores, the College Board does not issue statistics on exclusively freshmen’s scores and percentages. Instead, showing statistics on how scaled scores convert to percentages combines all children in the 10th grade and younger. So don’t be concerned if you believe you are scoring below average. The bulk of pupils included in these statistics has a full school year ahead of them.

What Is a Good PSAT/NMSQT Score for a Freshman?

Because freshman year is an early time to take the PSAT, your goal scores will probably be lower than they would be in 10th or 11th grade. This is because you still haven’t taken any full high school coursework by the fall of your freshman year. But perhaps you’ve done your homework and are ready to take the test. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of time to study before taking the PSAT again as a sophomore or junior. Keeping this in mind, we’ll define good scores as being in the 70th percentile or higher. These are the section and aggregate PSAT/NMSQT scores you would need to attain to be in these higher-than-average percentages:

Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/NMSQT percentageEBRW ScoreMath ScoreComposite Score
99% (Top)700-760710-7601360-1520
90% (Excellent)610580-5901170
75% (Good)5405201050
50% (Okay)460460920

A Preliminary SAT (PSAT) score for freshmen in the 50th percentile would be around 460 on average. To achieve an above-average score, you must earn 470 or better in EBRW and Maths.

(Video) How to Score a 1450+ on the PSAT®

Percentage Chart for the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) 8/9
The information in the chart below is based exclusively on the results and percentages of 9th graders who took the PSAT 8/9 in the autumn of 2020. Keep in mind that the PSAT 8/9 score range is 240 to 1440 or 120 to 720 for each component.

What Is a Good PSAT 8/9 Score for Freshmen?

Unlike the PSAT/NMSQT data, this data is exclusively based on 9th graders. Thus, it should provide a more accurate picture of what you’d need to score on the PSAT 8/9 to perform above average. This figure depicts the scores required to place in the 50th, 75th, 90th, and 99th percentages on the PSAT 8/9 for 9th graders:

Preliminary SAT (PSAT) 8/9 percentageEBRW ScoreMaths ScoreComposite Score
99% (Top)680+680+1350+
90% (Excellent)5705501110
75% (Good)500490990
50% (Okay)420420850

This data on scores and percentages may be used to create goals for whichever exam you choose to take as a 9th grader. But how will you get to your desired scores? It all depends on how much you plan ahead of time. Continue reading for some pointers on how to prepare for the PSAT in the run-up to freshman year.

How to Prepare for the PSAT as a First-Year Student

Defining your goal scores is one of the first stages in preparing for the PSAT. What are your objectives? At this point in your schooling, what do you want to achieve? I propose taking a timed PSAT practice exam to find this out. Score your exam and determine where you are today and where you may improve.

With its novel concepts and problems, the Maths part may be extremely difficult for many freshmen. To prepare, look for PSAT practice tools and either self-teach or be tutored on the new ideas and terminology you’ll need to know. In addition, you may tailor your studies to your specific needs by identifying your areas of strength and weakness.

(Video) What's a Good PSAT® Score?

Official PSAT practice exams and sample questions are the most accurate representations of what you’ll encounter on the actual test. You may also prepare by using earlier practice tests and SAT practice tests, as the examinations will be fairly similar. When you score them, note any errors you made and any queries you have.

Taking the time to comprehend and rectify your errors fully is the greatest method to ensure that you answer similar questions correctly the next time. Because the PSAT is a nationwide standardized test, the question categories often remain consistent from test to test. You can get a strong familiarity with regularly asked questions by thoroughly studying question types and formats. You could even come to believe that your official PSAT is quite similar to the practice exams you’ve already taken.

The PSAT score for freshmen is difficult because of its substance, sophisticated question phrasing, and severe time constraints. You may increase your ability to answer questions fast and effectively by time yourself while you practice. You may experiment with tactics such as speed reading and skimming for crucial text and learning how to detect and correct grammatical rules quickly.

While there may be some subjects that you haven’t covered in school yet, all of this learning will at the very least improve your test-taking abilities. In addition, you’ll improve your ability to work swiftly under time constraints, employ time-saving tactics such as the process of elimination, and deal with the stress of taking College Board examinations.
Even if you decide not to take the PSAT as a freshman, it’s a good idea to start early with a PSAT practice exam to measure your ability, organize your study schedule, and become comfortable with the test.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is PSAT?

PSAT is a practice version of the SAT. The highest performers on this exam are entitled to earn scholarships. The Preliminary SAT, also known as PSAT, is taken once every year. Many students take the test in 10th grade and 11th grade. It is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and tests reading, writing skills, and math.

2. When is PSAT?

The PSAT is usually held in October every year. The College Board anticipates three dates in 2022. Primary: October 12, 2022. Weekend: October 15, 2022. Alternate: October 25, 2022.

(Video) What's a Good PSAT® Score?

3. What is a good PSAT score?

Students who score at least 1450 are listed in the top 1% of test-takers, making them competitive for national merit scholarships. 99th percentile and above is outstanding, which means a 1360—1520 score.

4. Is 1250 a good PSAT score for a freshman?

Because freshman is an early time to take the PSAT, the goal scores will be lower than in 10th or 11th grade. Since it is 90th percentile, it is excellent even though it is not a top score.

5. Is 1200 a good PSAT score as a freshman?

Anything above the 75th percentile is ranked as good. 1200 is a good PSAT score as a freshman. A composite score above 1170 is considered excellent.


What is a good PSAT score for freshmen? ›

Anything above the 75th percentile is ranked as good. 1200 is a good PSAT score as a freshman. A composite score above 1170 is considered excellent.

What is the PSAT score range for 9th grade? ›

PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 Scores

Thus, while the total range for the SAT is 400–1600, the total range for the PSAT 8/9 is 240–1440.

Is 950 a good PSAT score for a freshman? ›

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

Does PSAT matter for freshman? ›

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.

Does the 9th grade PSAT matter? ›

Taking the PSAT in 9th grade will help you identify your current scoring level and figure out how you can improve for the future. As a freshman, you can choose between two tests: the PSAT/NMSQT that 11th graders take or the PSAT 8/9, a version of the test specifically geared toward 8th and 9th graders.

Do colleges look at 9th grade PSAT? ›

College Board doesn't send PSAT 8/9 scores to colleges. These scores are not intended to be part of college admission decisions.

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

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 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).

Do colleges look at PSAT scores? ›

Colleges Don't Receive Scores

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

Is a 900 bad on the PSAT? ›

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). On the other end of the spectrum, a score of 1220 is the 85th percentile (students scored higher than 85% of the people and only 15% of the students scored higher).

Is C usually the correct answer? ›

Myth 2: C is the best guess letter and is right more often than any other letter. C or H are right (and wrong) as often as any other answer choice. The only guess letter you don't want to use when you are completely guessing is E or K because they only show up on the math test.

Is C the most common answer? ›

Every answer choice on the SAT will have a statistically even distribution of 1 in 4 for each answer choice letter, A, B, C, or D. In other words? There is no most common answer on the SAT. Ultimately, guessing C (or any letter!) will give you the correct answer only a statistical 25% of the time.

Why is C always the answer? ›

The idea that C is the best answer to choose when guess-answering a question on a multiple choice test rests on the premise that ACT answer choices are not truly randomized. In other words, the implication is that answer choice C is correct more often than any other answer choice.

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.

Is 1140 a good PSAT score for 9th grade? ›

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 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.

Does your PSAT score 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.

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 ...

How much can you raise PSAT score? ›

Some students will go up more than that but an increase of 110 points would be very realistic if a student listened to our audio lessons, worked through the practice questions and watched the video explanations of the questions they got wrong.

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 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.

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 the lowest GPA accepted at Harvard? ›

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 the lowest GPA admitted to Harvard? ›

Continue to work hard, take difficult classes, and show your passions outside of school! To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .

Does Harvard look at freshman grades? ›

To put it bluntly, yes, colleges do look at freshman year grades on your college application. However, if a student doesn't receive her best grades during her first year of high school, all is not lost.

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.

What does your PSAT score say about you? ›

Your PSAT score report will provide a percentile that compares you to everyone else who took the PSAT that year. The percentile represents the percentage of students who scored equal to or lower than your score. For example, if you're in the 80th percentile, you scored the same as or better than 80% of all test-takers.

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 is a top 1% PSAT score? ›

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. In fact, you can miss up to 60 points and still get in the top 1%!

How bad is a 920 PSAT score? ›

Average PSAT Scores: 920-1050

10th-grade students who scored between 920 and 1050 on the PSAT test will fall within the top 50% of all test takers.

Should you guess B or C? ›

Most people (and tutors) tell students that, if they have no idea on a question, to just guess answer choice “C” — the middle answer on most multiple choice tests.

What letter to pick in multiple choice? ›

It's best to pick one letter and guess with the same letter throughout the test. It statistically improves the chances of guessing more right. Remember, “When in doubt, pick C!” It doesn't have to be C. It just has to be the same letter every time.

What letter is most common in multiple choice? ›

In multiple-choice questions, first, B and E are the most likely answers in 4- and 5-option questions, respectively and, second, same answer is least likely to be repeated in the next question.

Is a 910 PSAT score bad? ›

Based on 2021 PSAT data, the average PSAT score for a 10th grader, or the 50th percentile score, is 910. The average section scores are 460-470 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 450-460 for Math.

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.

Is 1150 a good PSAT score for a junior? ›

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.


1. What is a good 2020 PSAT score?
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3. What Do You Need To Know About The PSAT?
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4. How to Win a National Merit Scholarship | PSAT Tips
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5. What's a Good SAT® Score? Updated for 2022-2023!
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