College students’ scores on the PSAT, or the Preliminary SAT, don’t have an effect on faculty admissions choices – however that does not imply the take a look at ought to be ignored.


Apart from clocking in at quarter-hour shorter – 2 hours and 45 minutes with out breaks – there are few variations between the PSAT and SAT. The similarities are deliberate, in order that the PSAT can function a follow software for the precise examination. College students can turn out to be acquainted with the take a look at construction and achieve a greater understanding of which faculty placement examination is a greater match for them: the SAT or ACT.

Although college students should not cram for it, there may be incentive to earn excessive marks on the PSAT, together with eligibility for faculty scholarships, Superior Placement programs and School Board Nationwide Recognition Applications, which establish academically distinctive college students who’re African American, Hispanic American, Latinx or Indigenous, or attend college in a rural space or small city.

“The take a look at ought to feel and appear very acquainted” to content material discovered within the classroom, says Priscilla Rodriguez, vice chairman of school readiness assessments on the School Board, the group that develops the PSAT and different standardized exams and curricula. “It is actually not meant to be a pressure-filled expertise.”


PSAT Construction

College students have the choice to take the take a look at yearly from eighth to eleventh grade. Eighth and ninth graders take a model often called the PSAT 8/9. The 2 different preliminary exams within the School Board’s suite of assessments embrace the PSAT 10 and the PSAT/Nationwide Advantage Scholarship Qualifying Take a look at. Each exams are open to highschool sophomores, however solely juniors are eligible for score-related faculty scholarships as a part of the PSAT/NMSQT.

The timed sections cowl three topic areas: studying, writing and language, and math. Most questions are multiple-choice, aside from just a few write-in solutions within the math part.

Divided into two elements – calculator and non-calculator – the mathematics part consists of 48 questions within the areas of algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The 47-question studying part evaluates studying comprehension, vocabulary in context and analytic abilities. Equally, the 44-question writing and language part assesses vocabulary in context together with grammar and modifying abilities.

PSAT take a look at booklets are given again shortly after rating reviews are launched, not like the SAT during which booklets should not returned. College students can evaluate missed questions and establish strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, if college students hyperlink their School Board and Khan Academy accounts, they’ll obtained personalised follow suggestions based mostly on their scores without charge.

“While you’re studying those you bought fallacious, you are clearly going to be taught from among the ones you bought proper which may have been accidentally,” says David Staples, an SAT and ACT instructor at Kaplan, which supplies take a look at prep and personal tutoring.


Every PSAT part is scored on a 160 to 760 scale, which equates to a possible whole rating vary of 320 to 1520. The studying part and the writing and language part are mixed to create the EBRW rating, or evidence-based studying and writing. Each appropriate reply counts as one level towards a uncooked rating – which is transformed to the scaled rating – with no penalty for fallacious solutions or skipped questions.

A scholar’s rating report can even embrace a take a look at rating for every part, which is on a scale of 8 to 38. The Nationwide Advantage Scholarship Company, or NMSC, makes use of these numbers for its personal scale – the choice index – to find out scholarship finalists.

As per the newest knowledge from the School Board, the primary chart beneath displays percentile rankings based mostly on whole scores of highschool juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 in 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Percentiles change barely yearly based mostly on the scores of scholars.

Percentiles exhibit how a scholar’s rating compares to his or her friends. A rating within the fiftieth percentile, 1010, is taken into account common. College students who scored at the least a 1450 fall within the high 1% of take a look at takers, which may put them within the working for nationwide benefit scholarships, Staples says.

Complete Rating



1490-1520   99+
1360-1480   95-99
1280-1350   90-94
1230-1270   85-89
1190-1220   80-84
1160-1180   75-79
1130-1150   70-74
1100-1120   65-69
1070-1090   60-64
1040-1060   55-59
1010-1030   50-54

Moreover, if college students’ PSAT part scores meet sure benchmarks, they’re thought-about on monitor for “faculty and profession readiness,” in line with School Board knowledge. As an illustration, college students in eleventh grade should rating at the least a 460 on the mathematics part and 510 for EBRW to be thought-about on monitor. The chart beneath makes use of shade classes to point out how college students’ part scores evaluate to the designated grade-level benchmarks.

“I do not assume there’s such a factor as a ‘unhealthy rating’ as a result of everybody can enhance at these exams,” says Susan Powers, founding father of Woodlands Take a look at Prep in Texas, which supplies one-on-one take a look at preparation and educational tutoring.

Purple (requires greater than 1 yr of educational progress to achieve the benchmark)
Yellow (more likely to attain benchmark inside 1 yr of educational progress)
Inexperienced (meets or exceeds benchmark)
Purple (requires greater than 1 yr of educational progress to achieve the benchmark)
Yellow (more likely to attain benchmark inside 1 yr of educational progress)
Inexperienced (meets or exceeds benchmark)

Purple (requires greater than 1 yr of educational progress to achieve the benchmark)


Yellow (more likely to attain benchmark inside 1 yr of educational progress)


Inexperienced (meets or exceeds benchmark)

Proof-Primarily based Studying and Writing Part Scores   160-420   430-450   460-470
Math Part Scores   160-470   480-500   510-760

Advantages of Excessive Marks

Incomes a excessive rating on the PSAT does include advantages, like faculty scholarships.

To be eligible for the extremely aggressive Nationwide Advantage Scholarship Program – which consists of nationwide benefit scholarships, corporate-sponsored benefit scholarships, corporate-sponsored particular scholarships and college-sponsored benefit scholarships – college students should take the PSAT/NMSQT of their junior yr and get a high rating on the take a look at.

Winners of the nationwide benefit scholarships obtain a one-time cost of $2,500, whereas the corporate-sponsored scholarships supply renewable awards as much as $10,000 a yr.

There are 8,500 awards obtainable, but round 1.5 million take a look at takers are screened. To slender down the finalist pool and decide excessive scorers, the NMSC makes use of the choice index – a 48 to 228 scale.

To calculate the choice index, the sum of every scholar’s studying, writing and language, and math take a look at scores are doubled. If a scholar obtained an ideal rating of 38 in all sections, for example, the choice index rating can be 228. Qualifying scores differ by state and territory however ranged between 207 and 224 for the 2022 competitors.

Past scholarships, the School Board provides Nationwide Recognition Applications to award educational honors to eligible underrepresented college students and join them with schools throughout the nation. To qualify, a scholar should take the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 and rating within the high 10% by state, in line with the School Board. There isn’t a scholarship hooked up to the award.

Highschool college students can be really useful for sure AP lessons, which may result in faculty credit score, based mostly on their PSAT scores.

“Your PSAT shouldn’t be the place your story ends,” says Jed Applerouth, founder and president of Applerouth Tutoring. By way of follow and learning for the SAT, “you may decide up very significant beneficial properties, so do not be defeated.”

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