Understanding PSAT Scores

PSAT Score Calculation Process and How They Are Interpreted

The PSAT Scores:

The PSAT or the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) is a competitive exam, which allows the test takers with high scores to enjoy national level merit scholarships and to prepare every test taker for SAT. The PSAT has three sections, which evaluate your critical reading, mathematics and writing skills. Each of these sections is scored on a scale of 20 to 80. Hence, the total score of the PSAT test is 240, which is also the maximum score. For understanding PSAT scores, you need to understand the process of measuring your PSAT score on a scale of 60 to 240. Based on this measurement, your percentile rank is postulated, which is calculated in comparison with the performance of past test-takers, who took a previous version of PSAT. Gauging your performance as compared to others is another way of understanding PSAT scores. Moreover, your decision as to which college you are going to apply is hugely dependent on your understanding PSAT scores. There are some guidelines for understanding PSAT score. In the following article, the reader gets to know exactly how PSAT is scored and how important your PSAT score is for further studies.

How Is Your PSAT Score Calculated?

For calculating and for understanding PSAT scores, you may consider the following ways:

  • The Selection Index (SI) helps you in understanding PSAT scores. The SI is important in determining your eligibility for the competition for National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) programs. The average SI for the eleventh graders in 2010 was about 141. The average score of an eleventh grader in 2010 was 47 in Critical Reading, 49 in Mathematics and 45 in Writing. An important thing to note here is, only eleventh grader test-takers have the authorization to compete for scholarships. The average cut off marks of 201 is kept for every state in US for scholarships. Hence, you must have an SI of more than 201, to hope to achieve the national scholarship.
  • In the next step of your score calculation, a national percentile is postulated. This is an important tool for understanding PSAT score. The percentile gives you a score rank. This rank serves as a grade level for you. It helps you to compare your performance in contrast with others who had taken the PSAT/NMSQT. So, if you get a percentile rank of 44, then you have achieved a score which is better than 44 percent of all eleventh graders, who took PSAT. If you take the PSAT/NMSQT in the eleventh grade, you will receive junior percentile while if you take the exam in the tenth grade or even younger, you will be rewarded the sophomore percentile.
  • An alternative way of using percentile ranks, for understanding PSAT score is, imagine there are 100 PSAT test-takers standing in a queue, assorted from the lowest percentile at the far end of the queue and the highest percentile at the front. Then, from the point where you are standing, i.e. 44 percentile, shows that you are the 45th test-taker, leading in front of 44 test-takers and following behind 55 test-takers in the line. For further understanding PSAT score, you should click at Score Report Plus.

The above-mentioned methods let you perceive your PSAT score and explain your performance. Another process for understanding PSAT score is using ranges. The ranges show your plausible performance, if you take PSAT for a couple of times. The PSAT score range also helps in predicting how much your score may fluctuate, if you take PSAT again and again.

The PSAT score also helps you in your admission, although, it does not serve as a direct criteria for college admission. Using the customized ‘My College Matches’ search service, in the My College QuickStart website, you can get an introductory list of colleges, suiting your score, potential and your choice of major. Moreover, you can get an in-depth survey of the various major and career options open for you, under the My Major and Career Matches. Hence, besides understanding PSAT score, you should make best use of these services to know how you would get admitted in colleges with your PSAT score.

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