What's a Good PSAT Score?

See the latest national data for PSAT scores

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If you have taken the new PSAT that first launched in October 2015, you may be wondering how your scores stack up compared to the rest of the country. On your score report, you'll see your scores and percentiles. Your determination of a "good" score might be different than someone else's definition, depending on whether you want your future SAT score to get you admission or a scholarship to a school or qualify you for a National Merit Scholar award.

Please note that students have the possibility of earning a 320–1520 as an overall score and between a 160–780 on both the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections. The overall score is simply the sum of the two section scores. 

2017 PSAT Scores for 10th Graders

The percentile for the PSAT user is the score where you land in comparison to others who took the test. If you scored in the top 10 percent of test-takers, your score will be in the 90th percentile. The mean of the 2017 sophomores was 935.

50th percentile

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 470 (52nd percentile)
  • Math: 460 (51st percentile)
  • Total Score: 920

76th percentile

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 540 (75th percentile)
  • Math: 530 (77th percentile)
  • Total Score: 1060

90th percentile

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 610 (91st percentile)
  • Math: 590 (91st percentile)
  • Total Score: 1180

2017 PSAT Scores for 11th Graders

Because the test is competitive among all the test-takers in the grade who take it, the top 10 percent of students in one grade won't necessarily be the same as another. Here are the scores for 2017 juniors. Their mean score was 1014.

50th percentile

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 510
  • Math: 500 (52nd percentile)
  • Total Score: 1010

75th percentile

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 590 (77th percentile)
  • Math: 570
  • Total Score: 1150

90th percentile

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 650
  • Math: 640
  • Total Score: 1280

Selection Index Scores

Also listed on your PSAT score report is your Selection Index (SI). Along with your overall section scores, you'll receive individual test scores for Reading, Writing and Language, and Math, so you can see how you've fared on those tests individually. Those scores range from 8–38. The sum of those scores multiplied by two is your Selection Index score. 

For example, if you scored an 18 on Reading, a 20 on Writing and Language, and a 24 on Math, your Selection Index score would be 124 because 2(18+20+24) = 124.

The Selection Index score is important because the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) uses it to single out particular students to receive recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. That's why you'll see the PSAT written as PSAT/NMSQT. The "NMSQT" part stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. While the PSAT is not a factor in college admissions decisions (the SAT is), it is an important exam for strong students who might qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. This is one reason why the PSAT matters.

PSAT Scores VS. SAT Scores

Because the PSAT is designed to demonstrate how you could possibly fare on the real SAT, it's a good idea to ask yourself, "What's a Good SAT score?" The PSAT is an important test for qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship, but it won't get you into college. If your PSAT score is well below the national averages, then now is the time to prepare for the SAT. Your SAT score (among other things like GPA, extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, etc.) determines your acceptance into universities and qualification for scholarships.

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Roell, Kelly. "What's a Good PSAT Score?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-psat-score-3211714. Roell, Kelly. (2020, August 27). What's a Good PSAT Score? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-psat-score-3211714 Roell, Kelly. "What's a Good PSAT Score?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-psat-score-3211714 (accessed March 26, 2023).

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