The PSAT is considered a practice test of the SAT. The PSAT’s act as a base for the national merit scholarship test that US citizen students are eligible to take.
If you receive a high score on the PSAT in your junior year, you will be one of the eligible students to acquire a portion of the $180 million that is usually awarded. Like the SAT’s, the PSAT’s also have two major sections, math and evidence-based writing and reading for which each of the sections have multiple-choice questions.
Unlike the SAT’s, the duration of this exam is only 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Furthermore, The usual cost of the PSAT is covered by the high school, however, a fee of $16 is paid for the textbooks addition to any possible costs for the administration of the test. As for international students, the fees vary depending on their region.
In order to secure a spot in the 99th percentile, which is a top category that makes you eligible for the scholarship, a composite score of between 1370-1520 is preferred. Each section has a maximum of 760 points and the score of the total test is awarded out of 1520 points only.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the PSAT’s are only administered once a year in October, usually, from the 9th through the 11th grade. As you may know, the SAT is majorly taken to assess the readiness for your undergraduate admissions.
While the PSAT score is not directly used for the admission process, it acts as a primer for your SAT score. As the SAT is highly crucial to undergraduate admissions, it can give you good practice before attempting the SAT and help you familiarise with the content.
Maybe you’ve taken the test recently and you want to know whether your PSAT score is ‘good’ or not. Or perhaps you’re yet to take the test and want to know what score to aim for. Either way, we’ve got you covered.
What is the average PSAT score?
In 2021, the average PSAT score was found to be around 950, which would equal to a score of approximately 475 overall for the reading and math sections.
What is considered a good score in the PSAT?
A good score in the PSAT is highly dependent on your requirements. Generally, a PSAT score of the 75th percentile or above could be considered as a good score. A score above the 75th percentile indicated that the student scored higher than 75% of other test takers.
This is usually between 1070 and 1200. Scores beyond the 90th percentile are known to be exceptional. For PSAT 10, The 75th PSAT percentile could range from 530-540 in either of the sections, or a total score of 1070.
For students appearing for PSAT 8 or 9, the 75th percentile may be from 460-480 on either of the sections, or a total score ranging from 940 and 950.
If you were to secure a spot in the 99th percentile, it gives you the added benefit of receiving a scholarship which can help reduce your financial burden greatly.Not only can you receive a scholarship from College Board, but also from universities.
Certain universities and colleges also take a look at your PSAT score to see if you could qualify for any scholarships or just to be a part of their student population in general. While it may not contribute to your applications significantly, every little thing counts.
However, I wouldn’t recommend getting too worked up about the PSAT. While it helps prepare you for the SAT, it does not account to your college applications. So, if you didn’t do so well on the PSAT, you shouldn’t have to worry.
There are, however, many ways by which you could improve your PSAT score.
Some of them include:
Practice, practice, practice!
The best and most efficient way to increase your PSAT score is by taking up practice tests. Once you have familiarized yourself with the content in both math and English, it is time for you to take your pencil and start shading in some answers.
When you do this, you start to understand the type of questions that could come your way and the way the PSAT is structured. It also allows you to identify your weaknesses so that you could focus on them more and turn them into strengths.
Furthermore, practicing the PSAT allows you to become more time-efficient and tells you which areas you need to spend more time focusing on.
Especially, when it comes to the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, it can be a little difficult to finish it within the time constraint. Hence, practicing allows you to be better, even if it is only by a minute each time you take it.
Discover your weaknesses
Don’t spend time learning and practicing the topics that you are already familiar with. Especially when it comes to the math section, most of the topics have already been dealt with at school.
Therefore, to allocate your time efficiently, focus on the topics or sections that you struggle with most, whether it be algebra or the history text in reading.
Improve your vocabulary
In order to tackle the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, you must ensure that you build your vocabulary each day as much as possible. Usually, students use flashcards to learn the meaning of 5 or 10 new words each day and apply them in a real-life setting.
This will save time when it comes to comprehension as you will understand the text much better. Make sure that you start to improve your vocabulary way in advance of your test in order to retain that memory and understand the different vocabulary better.
Overall, what is a good PSAT score? Ultimately, it only depends on you. So, if you didn’t get a higher score than your peers, it doesn’t matter. As long as your score meets your requirements, you have nothing to worry about!