PSAT Score Interpretation

What Do PSAT Scores Represent

About the PSAT Scores:

This is a competitive exam for the students to get ready for the SAT and it is usually taken by eleventh-graders. The scores you receive in this examination will also decide whether or not you are eligible for the scholarship programs granted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The score is given in a percentile basis. The test has three sections namely the Critical Reading, the Math and the Writing Skills sections. Interpretation involves in postulating your score in these three sections. Your score will be marked on a scale of 20 to 80 in these three sections. The total score that can be achieved is 240, your percentile ranking will be calculated on a scale of 60 to 240, where 60 is the minimum and 240 is the maximum marks you will score.

What Are the Information Reflected Through Your PSAT Score?

There are several processes of interpreting the scores. Each of these processes seeks to portray a particular aspect of the test-taker. Following are three ways in which specific features about your score are exhibited:

  • Selection Index (SI): It shows whether you are eligible for the NMSC (National Merit Scholarship Corporation) programs. Only the eleventh-grader test-takers are eligible for the NMSC programs. The Selection Index is the sum total of the scores received in the three sections of the test. The average SI for the year 2010 was 141 (47 in CR+ 49 in M and 45 in W). The minimum SI of a test-taker is 201. This is the cut-off score for being eligible in the NMSC competition. Hence, it is important that you have a higher SI in order to have hope of getting a scholarship.

  • Percentile Ranking: this is perhaps the most important aspect. The percentile score provides you the score rank or the rank at which your score lies. It is equal to a grade level based on your score in the test. In order to understand the percentile scoring, you need to understand that your score is being compared with that of others who sat for the same edition of the test. Your percentile ranking being at 56 means, you have done better than 55 other test-takers while you are behind 44 other test-takers. A better way to understand the percentile ranking is to imagine you standing in a line of 100 test takers. If you have a percentile ranking of 56, then you are standing in front of 55 other test-takers while you are behind 44 test-takers who scored more than you. The percentile ranking reflects your SAT readiness and your deserving qualities for scholarships.

  • Another process is the usage of score ranges. The score ranges, calculated based on your test score shows your possible performances in future test. It shows how much your score may fluctuate if you take the test again and again.

An important thing to note about the percentile ranking is that, if you take the test in your eleventh grade, you will receive a junior percentile while if you are taking it below the eleventh grade or even younger, you shall receive the sophomore percentile. The score shows your capability to get scholarships for college courses and your ability to take SAT. Score interpretation helps you gauge your skill and seeks to give you a picture of your performance in the competitive exams.