PSAT Average Score

What Are Average PSAT Scores for Top Universities?

The PSAT is a standardized test conducted in high schools. It is an important test for gaining scholarships for college education. The PSAT is synonymous with the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Many students appear for the test every year in the bid to win scholarships for their higher education. Thus, you need to ensure that you appear for the test early enough so that you can spend more time to build on your strengths and weaknesses. The PSAT average score will help you determine the score you need to achieve in order to be successful in PSAT. The PSAT average score will also help you to understand your position among other students who have appeared for the PSAT.

The PSAT Test

The PSAT test comprises three sections and assesses the following areas:

  • Critical Reading Skills
  • Mathematics Problem-Solving Skills
  • Writing Skills

The skills that are assessed are skills that you have learned and developed over your school years. There is no specific format that you need to follow to develop these skills. However, there are subject areas that you can study and prepare for the test. For example, you can brush up your grammar and vocabulary or Math concepts and formulae. Preparing these will help you hone your skills in answering the questions.

Average PSAT Scores

The PSAT average score is computed based on the countrywide results of students. The Mean Score is the score reported from a group. The PSAT average score is also computed based on the number of juniors or sophomores appearing for the test. The PSAT/NMSQT College Readiness Benchmark is based on the score in each section. A student should meet or exceed the College Readiness Benchmark scores in order to be considered adequately prepared for college. The College Readiness Benchmark is not reported in the student score reports. The following table lists the average scores you must aim for in each section in the PSAT/NMSQT test:


10th Grade

11th Grade

Critical Reading






Writing Skills



Composite Score



One of the most frequently asked questions is whether your PSAT scores can be used to estimate your SAT scores. The PSAT questions are designed deliberately to resemble the SAT test. Even the score scale is similar: the PSAT scale ranges from 20-80 whereas the SAT scale ranges from 200-800. However, time plays an important factor in determining how well you do in the final SAT test. For example, if you are a junior appearing for the PSAT, you will have approximately six to seven months to appear for the SAT test. If you are a sophomore, the duration between the PSAT and SAT is longer. Thus, sophomores have more time to prepare for the SAT test, which directly influences their SAT scores.

PSAT Scores

The PSAT scores are calculated on the basis of a raw score. The raw score is the score you have achieved in each section. One point is allotted for every correct response. 1/4th of a point is deducted for every incorrect response. No marks are awarded or deducted for blank answers or for incorrect answers to grid-in questions. Thus, your total raw score is calculated as:

Critical Reading Section Score + Math Section Score + Writing Skills Score

The raw score is converted to a score that is calculated on a scale of 20 to 80. The conversion process is a statistical procedure known as Equating. Equating the scores adjusts the differences in difficulty, irrespective of possible influencing factors, such as the level of difficulty of the test conducted (whether the test was conducted in the current year or a previous year), students who took the test (whether juniors or sophomores), and so on.

Studying your Scores

The PSAT average score report presents a standard view of your academic skills, irrespective of the area where you stay, the school you have attended, or any other comparison. The PSAT average score report also helps you to compare your performance to other students across the country that are considering college education and have appeared for the PSAT/NMSQT.

You can use the various tools available to study and understand your PSAT scores. For example, the PSAT/NMSQT Skills Insight tool is a new tool that shows you how your PSAT/NMSQT scores are related to the college readiness skills. These skills are also measured in the SAT test. The Skills Insight tool also provides suggestions you can use to improve your skills where you have not performed particularly well. The tool also provides sample questions you can use to practice and enhance your skills. However, it is recommended that you use the practice questions after you have prepared/studied for the test. For more information about the Skills Insight tool, see

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