Score PSAT

How to Understand PSAT Scoring

Many high school students take the PSAT each year to determine their preparedness for the SAT test. The PSAT differs from the SAT in many ways. For example, the test duration of the PSAT is shorter compared to the SAT test. Moreover, the objective of the score PSAT is different to that of the SAT. The score PSAT is important for achieving the National Merit Scholarships. On the other hand, the SAT scores are considered for college admissions. Scores in PSAT range on a scale of 20 to 80, whereas the SAT score range is 200 to 800.

Sections in PSAT

The PSAT tests your skills in the following areas:

  • Critical Reading: This section tests how well you can synthesize information to answer questions. It also tests your knowledge of vocabulary and your ability to use it appropriately.
  • Math and problem solving: This section tests your inference and problem solving capabilities.
  • Writing Skills: This section assesses your knowledge of writing strategies, restructuring paragraphs and sentences, and recognizing language and structural errors.

Scoring in PSAT

There are two steps for computing the score PSAT:

  1. A raw score PSAT is calculated wherein each correct answer is awarded one point. ΒΌ of a point is deducted for every incorrect answer for multiple-choice questions. No points are deducted for unanswered questions or for incorrect answers to grid-in questions.
  2. The raw score is then mapped and converted to the equivalent score PSAT scale. The scale ranges from 20 to 80. Equating the scores regulates the differences in difficulty level and makes it possible to compare scores.

PSAT Scores for Each Section

PSAT scores include the PSAT College Readiness Benchmark. The benchmark is the minimum score that a student must meet or exceed in each of the sections in order to be considered ready for college education. However, the PSAT Benchmark results are not reflected in the student score report. The Benchmark scores are only included in the reports for educators, the Summary of Answers and Skills (SOAS) Report, and College-Bound Junior and Sophomore Summary Reports.

The PSAT College Readiness Benchmark is as follows:


10th Grade

11th Grade

Critical Reading






Writing Skills



Composite Score



It is important that you try to answer correctly the easy questions first so that you do not miss time by tackling the difficult questions first. The average score you can achieve in each section is 50. It is always best to aim for more than 50 in each section to get a head start over other students. Anything less than this number means that you will need to work hard if you want to achieve a scholarship or get admission to a good college.

Achieving a Good PSAT Score

A high score PSAT is easy if you have been diligent in studying through school. However, it is important to remain focused and prepare until you have appeared for the SAT test. Make sure that you have a strong foundation in Math and Grammar and that you know all the concepts and formulae. Build your vocabulary as much as you can so that you learn to recognize root words and types to be able to answer questions. Practice as much as you can under test conditions so that you learn to adhere to the time limit.

It is always best to target scores that are more than the Readiness Benchmark scores. You must aim to begin your preparation much in advance of the test so that you are aware of the test pattern and the types of questions. Aiming for good score PSAT will help you to gain an edge over other students who are applying for college scholarships.

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