PSAT Selection Index

Utility of Selection Index of Your PSAT Score Report

What Is the Selection Index in PSAT?

The PSAT is scored on a scale of 20 to 80 in each of its three sections. The sections are Critical reading, Mathematics and Writing Skills. Selection index is used to evaluate your eligibility for the National Merit Scholarships Corporation (NMSC) Programs. This examination is also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test helps students to achieve scholarships or fee-waiving programs, in order to reduce the high cost of education in colleges. Only the 11th grader test-takers are eligible for National Merit Scholarship. In order to choose the deserving candidates for the national scholarship program, the selection index is used. Based on your selection index, a percentile score is created which is based on the performance of the college-bound juniors, who took the test in the previous year.

How Is Your Selection Index Calculated?

It is calculated by summing up the total marks you scored in each of the section. For example, if you score 65 in Critical Reading, 72 in Mathematics and 80 in Writing Skills, then your selection index is 217 (65 + 72 + 80). The index is calculated on a scale of 60 to 240. This range represents the least (60) and the maximum (240) scores, a test-taker can get. Having a score index of 201 and above makes you eligible for the competition for national scholarships and related programs. The index decides your probability to be selected for national merit scholarships. As there are millions of test-takers who score more than the cut off marks of 201 each year, taking the percentile makes the selections easier. The percentiles provide you an idea about how well you did in the test. This percentile is calculated only when your performance is compared with the other college–bound juniors who took the test in the previous year.

What Good Does the Selection Index Serve You?

The selection index has its own range of uses and values and they are as follows:

  • The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) uses the selection index as a primary tool to sieve the test-takers who are eligible for the scholarship programs and have the privilege to compete for the scholarships.

  • A test-taker’s response on the four entry items of the answer sheet also determines his entry for the scholarship competition. The student’s selection index reflects his Score Report Plus and the Rooster of Student Scores and Plans.

  • The selection index varies in each year and is fixed at a lower level than score fixed for the test-takers to qualify as the semi finalists of the scholarship programs in their respective state. Those who have high selection index, get to be in the group of Commended Students. In April of the junior year, about 2/3rd of the 50000 test-takers, i.e. 34000 test-takers are sent the Letter of Commendation. Commended Students are those who receive scholarships in account of their exemplary performance in the test.

  • The average selection index is 141 for the eleventh grade. However, in order to secure the scholarships, you have to score more than the minimum marks of 201 and try to reach the 99th percentile.

The above article is a general discussion about the selection index and its utility in the career plans of the test-takers. It defines the concept of the selection index and portrays its importance in a test-taker’s score report.