PSAT Percentiles

PSAT Percentiles and How They Are Used

PSAT is an entrance test timed for two-hours and ten-minutes. It consists of three sections which are the Math section, the Critical Reading section and the Writing Skills section. All the three sections put together test your aptitude and your English language proficiency. The maximum score on which the PSAT paper is evaluated is 240. Each section individually is scaled on a score range of 20-80 points. Hence, the scores of PSAT usually lie in the range of 60-240. The sum of the score you obtain in all the sections individually is referred to as the Selection Index and is considered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to filter you for the first round of the scholarship competition. However, there are other methods of representing your scores in the PSAT. They are the PSAT percentiles and grade average apart from the scores and the Selection Index.

PSAT Percentiles

Basically, percentile scoring means that the percentage of students whose obtained scores fall below a specified score. The score reports that include the PSAT percentiles will help you analyze and compare your scores with respect to other test takers of the same grade who have taken the PSAT. If you take the test in the junior year of your high school, then you receive junior PSAT percentiles. The followingexample clearly explains to you about the PSAT percentiles.

Considering 100 students along with you have taken the test, you will receive your PSAT percentiles based upon the scores of all those students. If you receive a score of 51 percentile, then it means that you are the 52 person in the whole of 100 students who have appeared the test. You stand in the 49 position from the top percentile scorer in the considered 100 students. This means that you are top of 50 students who will have their PSAT percentiles below you. For a more detailed explanation regarding the scores of PSAT, you can visit the following link which contains the Score Report Plus.

PSAT Percentile Analysis

To provide a better understanding for all the students, the College Board has posted a comparison of PSAT percentiles of juniors and sophomores on their official website. You can follow the following link to view that document.

On the above mentioned page, you will find the comparison of students’ performance with respect to each section. You can even know the mean scores and the standard deviation of the scores obtained by the students who took the PSAT/NMSQT in the year 2004. The PSAT percentiles that you find on the above mentioned page are given based upon scores obtained by a sample of junior students and sophomores in all the three sections.

How Are the PSAT Percentiles Used?

The PSAT percentiles are primarily used to obtain a relative comparison of your scores with those of the others who have attempted the PSAT. However, the relative comparison of scores depends upon which grade you belong to. If you are a junior, then your PSAT percentiles reflect the score comparison only with those of all the eleventh-graders who take the test along with you. The PSAT percentiles of all the students belonging to tenth grade or younger would reflect the score comparison with those of the tenth grade test takers. This way, you can have a clear understanding of the competition that you have to face. This will help you understand where your performance stands.

The following link leads you to the page titled “Understanding 2010 PSAT/NMSQT Scores”. It is an official guide to understand the 2010 PSAT score report analysis. This document will help you know about all the crucial points that you must know to understand the PSAT scores. Also, this will help you to estimate your abilities and to chalk a better preparation plan depending upon your target score.

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