What is a good PSAT score? (2023-2024)
A good PSAT score is a composite score of 1070 or higher, which puts you in the top 25% of all PSAT test takers. PSAT scoring can be pretty complex, so it’s important to understand how it works. After taking the PSAT, you will receive a score ranging from 8 to 38 on each of the three tests (Reading, Writing & Language, and Math) as well as a score ranging from 160 to 760 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and for Math. Your overall PSAT score will range from 320 to 1520 and is calculated by adding your two area scores together. This article breaks down the PSAT score ranges so you can review PSAT score percentiles and see what a good PSAT score is.
PSAT POP QUIZ: How would you do on the PSAT?
Why to take the PSAT
The PSAT/NMSQT stands for the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and is taken in high school, usually during a student’s sophomore or junior year. Below, we list four reasons why students should take the PSAT.
RELATED READING: How to Become a National Merit Scholarship Finalist
How PSAT Scoring Works
- You will receive a score ranging from 8 to 38 on each of the three tests (Reading, Writing & Language, and Math)
- You will also receive a score ranging from 160 to 760 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and for Math
- Your overall PSAT score will range from 320 to 1520 and is calculated by adding your two area scores together
- You will also receive subscores ranging from 1 to 15 in the following areas: Command of Evidence, Words in Context, Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math
PSAT Score Ranges + Percentiles
Below are PSAT scoring ranges and percentiles from 2022.
GOOD TO KNOW: What does your PSAT score mean for the SAT or ACT?
THE NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM AND THE PSAT
The top 50,000 scorers on the PSAT are recognized by the National Merit Program and sent letters of commendation. More than 10,000 of these students share more than $47 million in National Merit Scholarship money. Only juniors who take the PSAT are eligible for National Merit Scholarships. The top 16,000 scorers become semifinalists, and approximately 15,000 semifinalists become finalists. Finally, almost 7,500 National Merit finalists receive National Merit Scholarships, with each award being up to $2,500 a year toward a college education. Many high scorers who don’t receive National Merit Scholarships are awarded merit scholarships from the schools to which they apply based on their high scores. Whether you qualify as a Commended Student, a Semifinalist, a Finalist, or a full-fledged National Merit Scholar, it’s definitely worth noting this achievement on your college applications.
WHAT PSAT SCORE DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP FINALIST?
The PSAT score needed to be a National Merit Scholarship finalist depends on the state in which you live. Each state has a preset number of Semifinalists, and once scores come in for students, that determines the cutoff score for that year in that state. For example, if you live in California, you would need to have a Selection Index score of 220 in order to qualify as a Semifinalist. If you live in West Virginia, you would have to score a 207. The Selection Index score is calculated by doubling the sum of your Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores. In addition to varying by state, this number can vary by year. Regardless of the exact cutoff for your state, all of the students who qualify earn high scores—less than the top 1% of high school students advance to become Semifinalists.
To calculate your Selection Index, you will need to add your 3 test scores together and double it. The College Board also includes this on your report if you’re eligible.
For more information on the National Merit Scholarships and Special Scholarships, visit www.nationalmerit.org.