What does your PSAT score mean for the SAT or ACT?

What Does Your PSAT Score Mean for the SAT or ACT?

The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, is mostly a practice version of the SAT, but it can also lead to more money for college through the National Merit Scholarship Program. In addition to using your PSAT score to compete for scholarships, many students use their PSAT performance to predict their score on the SAT and the ACT. You can also think of the PSAT as a diagnostic exam for the SAT or ACT; you can use your results and score report to construct a study plan.

[ RELATED: How Long Should I Study for the SAT? •  ACT Tips, Study Plans, and Practice ]

How is the PSAT Scored?

Here’s what to expect when you receive your PSAT score report:

  • Your score report will be available about 4-6 weeks after your test day and will provide detailed information about your scores, percentiles, and more.
  • You will receive a score ranging from 160 to 760 on each of the two sections (Reading & Writing and Math)
  • Your overall PSAT score will range from 320 to 1520 and is calculated by adding your two section scores together.
PSAT Scoring Guide

[ KEEP READING: What’s a Good PSAT Score? ]

Is the new Digital PSAT scored the same way as the paper-and-pencil PSAT?

As of fall 2023, all test-takers will take the new digital version of the PSAT on a laptop or tablet at their local testing centers. The PSAT score scale will be the same as the old paper-and-pencil version. Your composite PSAT score will continue to be on a scale from 320 to 1520. The only change on your PSAT score report is that there will be no reading and writing subscores because those two sections have merged into one section. Moving forward, PSAT score reports will also be delivered faster. Taking the Digital PSAT is great practice for the Digital SAT, getting you used to the new test format. 

[  LEARN MORE: College Board Going with Completely Digital SAT ]

How to Use Your PSAT Score to Predict Your SAT Score

The PSAT is created and administered by College Board, the maker of the SAT. Since it is considered to be a Preliminary SAT, your score on the PSAT is meant to be a solid predictor of how well you would do on the SAT if you took it on the same day. But there are a couple of caveats.

  • The maximum score on the PSAT is 1520, whereas the top score on the SAT is 1600. So, a score of 1100 on the PSAT, for example, is a good indicator that you would score 1100 on the SAT if you took it on the same day. However, because the SAT covers a higher level of content than the PSAT, scores above 1520 cannot be predicted — the PSAT does not test content that makes up those 80 points.
  • Typically, there are at least a few months between when students take their PSAT and SAT. You can use this time to identify your areas of opportunity from your PSAT score report or an SAT Practice Test, and prep accordingly for the SAT. With dedicated SAT prep, you are likely to improve on your PSAT performance when you take the SAT.

How to Use Your PSAT Score to Predict Your ACT Score

The ACT is scored completely differently from the SAT or PSAT. There are 4 multiple choice sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) that all have scores provided separately on a scale of 1–36. You will also receive a composite score between 1–36.Unlike the ACT, the SAT and PSAT do not include a Science section. However, the ACT’s Science section primarily tests your reading comprehension and data analysis skills, not your outside science knowledge, so your performance on PSAT Reading questions may give you insight into how you would do on ACT Science.

In 2018, the ACT and College Board released a concordance for SAT and ACT scores, establishing a relationship between scores on the two tests. Since you can use your PSAT score to predict your SAT score, you can also now predict your ACT score. We’ve used information from the concordance to predict ACT scores using PSAT scores below. Remember, the maximum score you can get on the PSAT is 1520, so ACT scores above 34 cannot be predicted because, like the SAT, the ACT tests a higher level of content than the PSAT.

ACT Score to PSAT Score Conversion

See how your PSAT score correlates to an ACT score.

  • 09  →  590 – 610
  • 10  →  620 – 640
  • 11  →  650 – 680
  • 12  →  690 – 720
  • 13  →  730 – 770
  • 14  →  780 – 820
  • 15  →  830 – 870
  • 16  →  880 – 910
  • 17  →  920 – 950
  • 18  →  960 – 980
  • 19  →  990 – 1020
  • 20  →  1030 – 1050
  • 21  →  1060 – 1090
  • 22  →  1100 – 1120
  • 23  →  1130 – 1150]
  • 24  →  1160 – 1190
  • 25  →  1200 – 1220
  • 26  →  1230 – 1250
  • 27  →  1260 – 1290
  • 28  →  1300 – 1320
  • 29  →  1330 – 1350
  • 30  →  1360 – 1380
  • 31  →  1390 – 1410
  • 32  →  1420 – 1440
  • 33  →  1450 – 1480
  • 34  →  1490 – 1520

Using your ACT score prediction and your PSAT score report or an ACT Practice Test, you can identify areas of opportunity and come up with an ACT study plan.

PSAT Preview Quiz

How would you do on the PSAT?