PSAT scoring – What is a good PSAT score?

Dec 23, 2021 | Turito Team USA


PSAT is an abbreviation for 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 Exactly 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).

Based on your grade, which PSAT should you take?

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.

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 geared for 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/PSATand 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. 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 in 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 percent of test-takers.

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 score EBRW score Composite score
99% 710-760 700-760 1370-1520
90% 580-590 610 1180
75% 520 540-550 1060
50% 450-460 460-470 910-920

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.

What Is the 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 a score ranging from 8 to 38. (Reading, Writing & Language, and Maths)
  • You will also earn a score for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, as well as 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 percent 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 percent 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 when compared to the testing population.

  • 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:

Percentage Maths Score EBRW Score Composite Score
99 (best) 750-760 730-760 1460-1520


640 650-660 1290


570 590 1150-1160


490 510-520 1010

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.

Percentile Reading and Writing Score Maths Score Composite Score


720-760 730-760 1450-1520


690-710 650-660 1340-1370


540 530 1070


470-490 470-480 940-970


400 410 810


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!

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