What's a Good PSAT Score?

See the latest national data for PSAT scores

Female student taking test
Peter Cade / Getty Images

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, but what's a good PSAT score? How do you know if yours is up there? Here are the averages, based on the October 2016 administration.

Please note that students have the possibility of earning a 320 - 1520 as an overall score, and between a 160 - 760 on both the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections.

The overall score is simply the sum of the two section scores. 

2016 PSAT Score Averages for 10th graders

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 468
  • Math: 464
  • Total Score: 933

2016 PSAT Score Averages for 11th graders

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 507
  • Math: 502
  • Total Score: 1009

Selection Index Scores for 2016

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 score range from 8–38. And the sum of those scores multiplied by 2, 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 for 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

Since 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.

If you took the PSAT in 2014, using the prior version of the PSAT exam instead of the current version of the test, then the scores you see below will look remarkably different from the scores being given currently. 

On the old version of the test, you'd receive a score for each section – Critical Reading, Math and Writing. Those scores ranged from a 20 on the lowest end to an 80 on the highest end, which directly correlated to the old version of the SAT's score range of a 200 on the lowest end to an 800 on the highest end.

Average 11th grade PSAT Scores for 2014:

  • Critical Reading: 46.9
  • Math: 48.6
  • Writing: 45.3

Average 10th grade PSAT Scores for 2014:


mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "What's a Good PSAT Score?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-psat-score-3211714. Roell, Kelly. (2017, August 24). 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 May 20, 2018).