– Roughly 3.5 million students take the PSAT every year.
– The PSAT mirrors the SAT because the PSAT is a practice SAT test.
If you’re in high school and plan to take the SAT to go to college after graduation, you’ll probably need to take the PSAT before taking the SAT.
What is the PSAT?
Although the PSAT means Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, it is essentially a practice test for the actual SAT. The PSAT mirrors the SAT exam when it comes to content, structure, and scoring, so you’ll be able to get a sense of how the SAT exam is. The exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You can only take the PSAT once a year; so many high school students take the test in both 10th and 11th grade. The PSAT is also used as a test for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
What is Tested on the PSAT?
The PSAT measures what you have learned in high school as well as what you will need to succeed in college. It also tests your skills and knowledge in reading, writing, and math.
- Evidence-Based Reading
This section will test your ability to read a passage, think critically about its main idea and key details and to answer related questions. You’re given 47 questions for this section.
- Writing and Language
This section tests your ability to identify and fix grammatical errors as well as to revise words and phrases that improve the text. This section includes 44 questions.
There are two math sections on the PSAT. One section allows you to use a calculator and the other section does not. Both sections are multiple-choice that give 4 answer choices as well as short answer grid-in questions. There are a total of 47 questions within both sections.
How is the PSAT Scored?
The PSAT is scored on a scale of 320 to 1520. You earn one point for each question answered correctly and you do not lose nor gain points for questions that are answered incorrectly or questions that are skipped.
Your scores are broken down into two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and then Math. You’re given a raw score for both sections of the test. This raw score is the number of questions that you answered correctly. These raw scores are then converted into scaled scores that range between 160 and 760, with 760 being the highest score possible in each section.
The raw scores from both sections are then added together to get your total PSAT score. You will receive a total score ranging between 320 and 1520. You’ll also receive a percentile score. This percentile score will show where you range among other test-takers. For example, if you receive a percentile score of 60%, that means you did better than 60% of other students who took the PSAT.
What is a Good PSAT Score?
A good PSAT score really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, what college you eventually want to go to and a few other factors.
The average PSAT score is 460 in each section (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math). This will give you a score of 980. This score will put you roughly in the 50th percentile rank.
Your score on the PSAT determines how well you will do on the SAT as well as whether or not you qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.
How Do You Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship?
The qualifying score for the National Merit Scholarship solely depends on what state you live in. Each state has a preset number of Semifinalists and a specific cutoff score for that year. Each state looks at your Selection Index score (the total sum of your section scores) to determine if you qualify for the scholarship or not.