Understanding PSAT Results





Importance of PSAT Results for Students

PSAT is taken by many high school students each year for identifying their preparedness for the SAT and for applying for the National Merit scholarships.

What Is PSAT Result?

The result is the score you achieve after appearing for the test. The raw scores are computed first. The raw score is a calculation of the scores you achieve in the Critical Reading sections, Writing Skills section, and the Math section. The score is then mapped on the PSAT scale to arrive at your score. This is your final result.

Your score report includes a comparison of your score against other students who took the test. So if you are a junior, your scores will be compared with other juniors. If you are a sophomore, your score will be compared with other sophomores. If your percentage is higher than the others, you can expect to be a semi-finalist (provided you fulfil other criteria, such as consistent academic performance, nationality and so on) for the scholarship program.

Significance of PSAT Results

There is a popular notion that this test is not very important when considering college admission. In fact, the test or rather the result, is an all-important result that affects your college education, both directly and indirectly. The result influences your college education directly in terms of the scholarship you receive for your college education so that you do not need to take loans from banks and pay them off after college. It is also called the PSAT/NMSQT test because the National Merit Scholarship Corporation uses the this result to qualify students for the various scholarship programs.

Other than applying for the scholarship programs, your result helps you identify your academic abilities and your overall preparedness for the SAT test.

Where to See Your PSAT Result?

You can expect to see your result in December. In December, your school will receive your PSAT/NMSQT Score Report. The school provides you the score report along with your test book. Your score report includes the following information:

  • Critical Reading scores
  • Math scores
  • Writing Skills scores
  • Score ranges
  • National percentiles
  • Selection Index (critical reading + mathematics + writing skills scores)

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) uses the Selection Index as a qualifying criterion to screen the large number of applicants to its scholarship competitions. The PSAT result also includes the correct answers to questions, the answers you gave in the test and the difficulty level of each question, which are available online. If you do not receive your score report by mid-January, you must see your school counselor. It does not provide duplicate copies of score reports but your school will have a copy.

Thus, if you are in school and still have time to prepare for the test, you must be focused and prepare accordingly so that you get more than the average score. Taking the test has numerous benefits. It is important because you receive feedback about your critical academic skills, that is, your strengths and weaknesses in academic areas. When you prepare for this test, you also indirectly prepare for the SAT. This helps you in the end when you will prepare for the SAT because by then you will have covered most portions. You can also start getting ready for college because as part of your preparation, you will need to look up colleges you are interested in and the kind of scores colleges expect. Last and most importantly, your score helps you to enter scholarship competitions.