Are you taking the PSAT or have taken the PSAT and wondering what a good PSAT score is? A good PSAT score will vary depending on your definition and goals.
We cover everything PSAT score related below. Find out what score you should be aiming for, information about average scores, and how the exam is scored. To begin practicing for this exam, use our free PSAT practice exam.
PSAT Score Range
It is best to understand the PSAT score range before determining what a good score is. The PSAT is scored on a scale from 320-1520.
The highest PSAT score you can get is 1520.
What is a Good PSAT Score?
A good PSAT score is a 460+ on the reading and writing section and a 510+ on the math section. These scores were derived from the CollegeBoard’s Grade-Level Benchmarks. This system uses 3 benchmarks to group student’s scores. Those 3 benchmarks are:
- Green: Section score meets or exceeds expectations.
- Yellow: Section score is within 1 year of academic growth of expectations.
- Red: Section score is below the benchmark by 1 year of academic growth.
11th Grade PSAT Score Benchmarks
|Reading & Writing||160-420||430-450||460-760|
PSAT Scores and National Merit Scholarships
Some student’s definition of a good PSAT score may be defined as a high enough score to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. If this is the case, you will need to score in the top 1% of students.
To score in the top 1% of students, you will typically need to score a 1370+.
NMSC Selection Index
It is important to note that the National Merit Scholarship uses a separate score called the NMSC Selection Index.
You will see this score on your official score report. This score is calculated by doubling your reading and writing score and adding that to your math score. After finding the sum, divide that number by 10 and you will arrive at your NMSC Selection Index Score.
The NMSC Selection Index Score is on a scale from 48-228. Each state has different criteria for qualifying students, but it typically ranges from 209 to 222 (Source).
Qualifying for a National Merit Scholarship is no small task. Scoring in the top 1% requires a ton of practice and preparation. You can practice for the exam by using our PSAT practice test.
PSAT Score Percentiles
As stated above, a score in the top 1% is important for qualifying for a National Merit Scholarship. PSAT score percentiles will vary slightly each year.
Review the table below for a breakdown of PSAT scores and what percentile they put you in.
|680 or Lower||1|
What is the Average PSAT Score?
The average PSAT score is 950. A score of 950 puts you right in the 50th percentile of all test-takers. This means that 50% of test-takers scored better than you, but also, 50% of test-takers scored worse than you.
How is the PSAT Score Calculated?
Your total score is on a scale from 320-1520. Your total score is the sum of your 2 section scores:
- Reading & Writing
Each of those 2 sections are scored on a scale from 160-760. Both sections are equally weighted when it comes to calculating your total combined score.
Do Colleges Use Your PSAT Scores?
No, colleges do not use your PSAT scores. Your PSAT scores will not be sent out to colleges and will not be used as part of the college admissions process. The 2 main purposes of the PSAT are to prepare you for the SAT and to qualify you for National Merit Scholarships.
PSAT Score FAQs
What is the highest PSAT score?
The highest total PSAT score you can receive is 1520. The highest section score you can receive is 760 on each of the 2 sections.
Is the PSAT scored the same as the SAT?
The PSAT is scored on a scale from 320-1520. The SAT is scored on a scale from 400-1600. While the 2 exams are very similar, they are scored on a different scale. In general, you will need to score about 60 points higher on the SAT to rank in the same percentile as the PSAT.
Is it bad if I got a poor score on the PSAT?
The PSAT is used as a preparation exam for the SAT. If you scored bad on the PSAT, it really is not a big deal. You can use your poor score as motivation to learn and study harder in preparation for the SAT.
The only downfall of scoring poorly on the PSAT is that you will not qualify for any National Merit Scholarships. It is important to remember that the PSAT is not used by colleges in the admissions process.