Are you a sophomore taking the PSAT? Discover what constitutes a "good score" for 10th graders taking the test in our guide.
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Updated November 7, 2022
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- For most students, a good PSAT score is above the 75th percentile, or a 1060.
- Sophomores can raise their scores by taking the PSAT again in their junior year.
- The PSAT is a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Many high school students take the PSAT/NMSQT — short for the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test — to prepare for the SAT. The top junior test-takers can also qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which awards college scholarships to high-achieving students.
Clearly, a good PSAT score can open several doors. Sophomores who take the test can use it as practice for the real deal the following year.
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But what is a good PSAT score for a sophomore? And should you even take the PSAT as a sophomore?
What Is a Good PSAT Score for a Sophomore Based on Percentiles?
In most cases, a good score for the PSAT is in the 75th percentile or above for both 10th and 11th graders. A score in the 50th percentile is right at the median, meaning you did better than half of all test-takers. The more test-takers you did better than, the more impressive your score will be.
For sophomores who took the PSAT in 2021, a total score of 1060 (out of 1520) landed them in the 75th percentile.
In many cases, PSAT scores can predict SAT scores. You can use the PSAT as a learning experience, working on sections you struggle with to ultimately score better on the SAT.
|Percentile||Total Score||Math Score||Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score|
Source: College Board
What Are Good PSAT Scores for Sophomores Based on Academic Benchmarks?
The College Board, the group that administers the PSAT and SAT, offers academic benchmarks to predict future college performance among test-takers. Students who score in the green range have a 75% chance to earn at least a "C" grade in a first-semester college course in the same subject.
Students who score in the yellow range are within one year of academic growth of earning a "C" grade. Students in the red are more than a year away from getting a "C" in a first-semester college course.
High school sophomores should aim for a 430 in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section and a 480 in the Math section to reach a "good" benchmark.
|Evidence-Based Reading and Writing||Math|
|Exceeds benchmark (green)||430-760||480-760|
|Within one year of academic growth (yellow)||410-420||450-470|
|Below benchmark by more than one year of academic growth (red)||160-400||160-440|
Source: College Board
What Will Be on Your PSAT Score Report?
Your PSAT score report will include both raw and scaled scores for the Math and EBRW sections. You will also receive subscores and cross-test scores. In most cases, you'll get your scores around eight weeks after the test.
The first item you'll likely encounter on your PSAT score report is your section scores for both Math and EBRW. These scores added together equal your total PSAT score out of 1520. Each section is scored on a scale of 160-760.
Test scores are used to determine the section scores you see earlier in the report. Each section is scored on a scale of 8-38.
On your PSAT score report, you will see two cross-test scores, each ranging from 8-38:
- Analysis in History/Social Studies
- Analysis in Science
These are not separate sections; rather, questions from both cross-test scores appear on all sections of the PSAT.
PSAT subscores, ranging from 1-15, reflect how you performed on specific types of skills on all sections of the test. Below are the seven subscores and which sections they appear on:
- Command of Evidence (Reading, Writing and Language)
- Words in Context (Reading, Writing and Language)
- Expression of Ideas (Writing and Language)
- Standard English Conventions (Writing and Language)
- Heart of Algebra (Math)
- Problem-Solving and Data Analysis (Math)
- Passport to Advanced Math (Math)
Selection Index Scores
The Selection Index applies only to juniors. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation uses the Selection Index to determine which test-takers qualify for National Merit Scholarships.
The Selection Index ranges from 48-228. To calculate the Selection Index, add together your test scores for Math, Reading, and Writing and Language, then double that score. The score you need to qualify for a scholarship depends on the state you live in.
Which PSAT Test Should Sophomores Take?
Sophomores can choose between two types of PSAT tests: the PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT, which is the test discussed in this article. The PSAT 10 is designed specifically for sophomores, so the PSAT/NMSQT may be slightly more rigorous and challenging.
Most test-takers should plan on taking the PSAT/NMSQT their sophomore year. While you can't qualify for the National Merit Scholarship in 10th grade, you can gain valuable experience to prepare for your junior year when you can qualify for the scholarship.
If you don't have much experience with standardized testing, the PSAT 10 may be a better option, as it can ease you into standardized testing and familiarize you with the process.
Can Sophomores Qualify for a National Merit Scholarship?
The National Merit Scholarship Program is only open to high school juniors. So even if you score well on the PSAT as a sophomore, you will not be eligible for the program.
Nevertheless, taking the test your sophomore year can provide you with useful practice for the following year. The PSAT/NMSQT also offers excellent preparation for the SAT, which you might take during your junior or senior year.
Frequently Asked Questions About the PSAT
Do colleges see your PSAT scores?
In general, colleges do not see your PSAT scores, even if you qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. In most cases, only you and your high school receive your score reports and see your PSAT scores.
When are PSAT scores released?
Most years, the College Board releases PSAT scores around eight weeks after you take the test. This date usually falls sometime in December, since the PSAT is administered each year in October.
How many times do you take the PSAT?
Many students only take the PSAT once during the fall of their junior year. While you can only take the test once per year, you can take the PSAT up to three times in total. College preparatory schools often have their students take the test in their sophomore and junior years. Note that only your junior-year score counts for National Merit Scholarships.
When do you take the PSAT?
Most students take the PSAT during the fall of their junior year. Some students take the test in the fall of their sophomore year. The PSAT is administered every year in October at many high schools around the U.S. This year's testing dates are October 12 (primary test day), October 15 (Saturday test option), and October 25 (alternate test date).
The average PSAT 10 score is around 920. A score between 1210 and 1520 places you in the top 10% of test takers. The PSAT 10 and the SAT are very similar tests, and your score on the PSAT 10 can give you an idea of how you'll do when you take the SAT.What is the PSAT score range for 10th grade? ›
The ranges reported for each assessment reflect grade-level appropriateness within the common scale. Thus, while the total range for the SAT is 400–1600, the total range for the PSAT 10 is 320–1520.Is 1000 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›
A combined score of 1000 is approximately the national average, which represents the 50th percentile (students who score 1000 score right in the middle, with 50% of the people scoring higher and 50% of the students scoring lower).Does PSAT matter sophomore year? ›
Do I (does my sophomore) need to take the PSAT? No. The PSAT (whether you're a sophomore or a junior, in fact) is not required, and deciding not to take it will not have any negative effects on your college admissions decisions.What is the average PSAT score for a 15 year old? ›
The PSAT scores scale makes it so that most test takers score around 920 (the halfway point between 320 and 1520). And the data backs this up: the average PSAT scores are 920 for 10th graders and 1010 for 11th graders.Do 10th grade PSAT scores matter? ›
It identifies their academic strengths and weaknesses early in high school, when there's plenty of time to improve before college. It lets them know which Advanced Placement (AP) courses they're most likely to do well in.Do colleges look at 10th grade PSAT? ›
College Board does not send PSAT/NMSQT scores to colleges. These scores are not intended to be part of college admission decisions.Is 1030 a good PSAT score for a 10th grader? ›
For 10th grade students taking the test (either the PSAT 10 or the PSAT/NMSQT): 99th percentile and above (“outstanding”): 1370–1520. 90th percentile (“great”): 1170. 75th percentile (“solid”): 1050.What is a perfect PSAT score? ›
Notice that the highest total score a student could achieve on the PSAT is 1520. The highest total score a student could achieve on the SAT is a 1600.What is the minimum PSAT score for National Merit Scholarship? ›
To be competitive for National Merit Semifinalist status, students need to score about 1400 on the PSAT in less competitive states like Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota . . . or about 1470 on the PSAT in more competitive states like Connecticut or New Jersey.
A score in the 75th percentile is considered the benchmark — usually an 1150 overall. The top 1% of junior test-takers become semifinalists for National Merit scholarships.Does a 1400 PSAT qualify for National Merit? ›
Practically speaking, this means that anyone who qualifies as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist (PSAT scores of 1400/1520 and up, depending on the state of residence) should be able to easily achieve a confirming score (SAT scores as low as 1320/1600, and ACT scores as low as 26/36), especially given multiple ...What PSAT score can get you a scholarship? ›
|STATE||SELECTION INDEX SCORE|
Can sophomores qualify for National Merit recognition? No. Even if your scores are high enough, you will not be eligible for National Merit as a sophomore unless you will be graduating a year early.Is 1040 a good PSAT score? ›
According to this chart, a good PSAT score for a junior is a composite score higher than 1150, an OK score is one higher than 1000 or 1010, and an excellent score is anything higher than 1280.Is 1100 a good PSAT score for 10th grade? ›
A good PSAT score is a composite score of 1070 or higher, which puts you in the top 25% of all PSAT test takers.What percentile is best for PSAT? ›
- “Outstanding” – 99th+ percentile. EMRW: 610-720. Math: 580-720.
- “Great” – 90th percentile. EMRW: 520-530. Math: 500-510.
- “Solid” – 75th percentile. EMRW: 470-480. Math: 460.
- “Average” – 50th percentile. EMRW: 410-420. Math: 410.
What is this? Your child's percentiles can give you a good idea of how well they did on the PSAT freshman and sophomore year. For high school freshmen, based on data from test takers during the 2020-2021 school year, a “good” score in the 75th percentile is between 990-1000.Which PSAT qualifies for National Merit? ›
The 2022 Preliminary S A T/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) is the qualifying test for entry to the 2024 National Merit Program.What is a good PSAT score for Ivy League? ›
The definition of a “good” PSAT score depends on your goals. If you're aiming at an Ivy-League or highly-competitive school, we know that you'll need SAT scores that are at least 1450 (that's the 25th percentile) in order to have a shot, and at least 1550 (that's the 75th percentile) to be a strong applicant.
Generally, the above 50th percentile (above 1010 percentile score) is a good PSAT score. This because it shows your score above most students who attended the exam. But that doesn't mean the 50th percentile is better for you; in your case, it may be 90 or 70.Do sophomores get scholarships from PSAT? ›
The National Merit Scholarship Program is only open to high school juniors. So even if you score well on the PSAT as a sophomore, you will not be eligible for the program. Nevertheless, taking the test your sophomore year can provide you with useful practice for the following year.Does the PSAT matter for scholarships? ›
The PSAT won't count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship . Some of the highest scoring students may win scholarship money, so while you shouldn't stress out about the PSAT, you certainly shouldn't ignore it either.Does the PSAT affect your GPA? ›
Your PSAT scores won't get you into college or affect your GPA. But if you're a junior, high scores on the PSAT can earn you scholarship dollars, including a National Merit Scholarship.What is a good score for a 10th grader? ›
Again, research has found that the average ACT score for sophomores is 18 points. Anything above that would be considered great for a 10th grader. In percentile terms, if you are able to score a 24, then you'd already rank higher than over 75 percent of other sophomore scores.How is the PSAT 10 broken up? ›
On the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT, 60 minutes is allotted for reading, 35 for writing and language, and 70 for math. These test-takers will see 47 questions or tasks in reading, 44 in writing and language, and 48 in math.What is 97th percentile PSAT score? ›
A very good PSAT score is in the 93rd percentile among users, and the 97th percentile nationally. These percentiles are equivalent to a 1400 on the SAT. If you're a junior this amounts to about a 1330 on your PSAT. If you're a 10th grader, then ideally we want to see you at 1300.What's the lowest PSAT score? ›
While the SAT is scored in a range of 400–1600, the PSAT is scored in a range of 320–1520.What PSAT score is National Merit 2023? ›
To state the obvious, some of the 50 U.S. states are obviously far more competitive than others—and colleges will keep this in mind during the admission process. The main qualification for National Merit is a high PSAT score (out of 1520). Thus, a high SAT score (out of 1600) will in most cases serve the same purpose.Is 1030 a good PSAT score for a freshman? ›
1200 is a good PSAT score as a freshman. A composite score above 1170 is considered excellent.
They also have to do really, really well on the PSAT. The top 3-4% of scorers are named Commended Scholars—an impressive distinction to put on college applications. The top 1%, or about 16,000 students across the country, are named National Merit Semifinalists.How to convert PSAT score to National Merit Score? ›
To calculate the PSAT National Merit Score, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation adds the scores from each section test and multiplies the total by two. Your PSAT Selection Index score determines your National Merit eligibility.How rare is National Merit Scholarship? ›
National Merit Scholarship requirements are based on a student's PSAT/NMSQT. Students usually take this exam in their junior year of high school. Each year, 1.5 million students enter the competition to become National Merit Scholars. Of these students, approximately 7,500 will receive National Merit Scholarships.What does a 1220 PSAT score translate to? ›
|PSAT Score||Predicted SAT Score|
Any PSAT score in the range of 1450-1500 is also a tremendous achievement, and an early indication that a student is academically prepared to pursue applications to top-ranked universities and colleges in the US. If you score between a 1400 and a 1450 you should also be proud.What does a 1420 on the PSAT mean? ›
To begin with, the PSAT score range is from 320 to 1520.
The average PSAT score is around 920 (460 in Math and 460 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing), while an outstanding PSAT score (one that will qualify you as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist) is between 1420 and 1480.
The scholarship program uses 11th graders' PSAT scores to select 50,000 high-scoring students. Fewer than 1 in 3 of those students will go on to become a scholarship finalist. And only half of finalists become National Merit Scholars.Does Harvard look at PSAT? ›
Harvard also uses PSAT scores to identify promising students from across the U.S. to invite to apply.What grade does the PSAT matter in? ›
The PSAT/NMSQT is designed for 10th and 11th graders. Some schools offer the PSAT 8/9, which tests the same skills as the PSAT/NMSQT, but in ways that are appropriate for earlier grade levels. Check with your child's school counselor to see if your school offers the PSAT 8/9.What is a 990 PSAT score? ›
|Converted Total Score||10th Grade||11th Grade|
What's a good PSAT score? Students and families often ask us this question. Any score above 1010 is above-average, and a score above 1450 is a top-tier score that makes students competitive for big scholarships and admission to elite colleges.Is 770 a good PSAT score for a sophomore? ›
Based on that reasoning, a good PSAT score for a sophomore is a composite score higher than 1060, an OK score is one higher than 920, and an excellent score is anything higher than 1180.Is 1470 a good PSAT score for a sophomore? ›
The average PSAT score is around 920 (460 in Math and 460 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing), while an outstanding PSAT score (one that will qualify you as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist) is between 1420 and 1480.What PSAT score do you need for merit scholarship? ›
To be competitive for National Merit Semifinalist status, students need to score about 1400 on the PSAT in less competitive states like Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota . . . or about 1470 on the PSAT in more competitive states like Connecticut or New Jersey.What PSAT score do you need for Ivy League? ›
If your ultimate goal is to attend an elite university, then you should know that a good PSAT score for Ivy League admission is to be in the 99th percentile or higher. In other words, if your main priority is getting into the Ivy League, you should aim for a composite PSAT score anywhere between 1280 and 1520.What is an impressive PSAT score? ›
The average PSAT/NMSQT score is about 920. A score between 1210 and 1520 puts you in the top 10% of test takers. The PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT are very similar tests, so your score on the PSAT/NMSQT can give you an idea of how you'll do when you take the SAT.Is 1060 a good PSAT score for a freshman? ›
What is this? Your child's percentiles can give you a good idea of how well they did on the PSAT freshman and sophomore year. For high school freshmen, based on data from test takers during the 2020-2021 school year, a “good” score in the 75th percentile is between 990-1000.What score do colleges want on PSAT? ›
Any PSAT score in the range of 1450-1500 is also a tremendous achievement, and an early indication that a student is academically prepared to pursue applications to top-ranked universities and colleges in the US. If you score between a 1400 and a 1450 you should also be proud.Is 1150 Good on PSAT sophomore? ›
A score in the 75th percentile is considered the benchmark — usually an 1150 overall. The top 1% of junior test-takers become semifinalists for National Merit scholarships.What is 99th percentile on PSAT? ›
Using 2021 statistics from the CollegeBoard, we've listed total score ranges/cutoffs for the top percentiles. For 10th grade students taking the test (either the PSAT 10 or the PSAT/NMSQT): 99th percentile and above (“outstanding”): 1370–1520. 90th percentile (“great”): 1170.
While the SAT is scored in a range of 400–1600, the PSAT is scored in a range of 320–1520.