You just received your PSAT score report, and there are a zillion different scores on this thing! How did you do, and which scores are most important? Here's what you need to know about the most important parts of your score report.
The first thing to remember is the PSAT isn’t used for college admissions, but high scores can earn you scholarship dollars, including a National Merit Scholarship. Additionally, your PSAT scores are a good predictor for how you may score on the SAT, which will be very important for college admissions and scholarships.
When you take the SAT, schools will be looking at your:
The PSAT is scored on the same rubric, but a slightly different scale, as the real SAT. While the SAT is scored on a scale of 400–1600, the PSAT is scored on a scale of 320–1520.
The percentile compares the score of everyone who took the PSAT during a particular test date. For example, students who score in the 90th percentile scored higher than 90% of the students who took the PSAT on that particular administration.
Here's a quick breakdown of what's important about your Big 3 Scores.
|Score||What is it?||Why it's important|
|READING & WRITING SCORE||
For a breakdown of the (many) other scores on your score report, check out Scores You Can Scan.
The PSAT is all about practice. Use your PSAT score report to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you know what to work on as you prep for the real thing. Are there algebra concepts you need to review? Did you miss picking up points because you ran out of time?
The PSAT and SAT are scored on slightly different scales, but your TOTAL PSAT score is a direct indicator of your total SAT score. For example, a total PSAT score of 1000 means that, if you took the SAT on the same day, you would have gotten a total SAT score of 1000.
In addition to The Big 3 scores, your PSAT score report has a ton of different numbers and scales. Ignore the actual numerical scores and focus instead on the College Board’s color-coding system. Scan for color—green is good!
Cross-test and Subscores can help you deep-dive into each individual area of the test, but overall the total score and section scores will give you the info you need to move forward.
|Score||Score Range||What it really is|
|CROSS-TEST SCORES||History/Social Science Score||8–38||Tests your reading comprehension NOT your recall of historical dates and events|
|Science Score||8–38||Can you read charts, tables, and graphs?|
|SUBSCORES||Command of Evidence||1–15||Matching answers on the reading test to specific lines from the passage|
|Relevant Words in Context||1–15||Matching words from a passage to their definitions|
|Expression of Ideas||1–15||Can you revise sentences to make them better?|
|Standard English Conventions||1–15||Grammar and punctuation|
|Heart of Algebra||1–15||Algebraic expressions, equations, and word problems|
|Problem Solving and Data Analysis||1–15||Interpretation of mathematical expressions, graphs, and data|
|Passport to Advanced Mathematics||1–15||Higher-level math questions like functions and quadratic equations|
Big discrepancies between scores are more important than the scores themselves.
For example, getting green in Heart of Algebra and red in Passport to Advanced Mathematics could show that you need more advanced math practice. Plus, Cross-test Scores account for just a handful of questions across the PSAT.
The PSAT is great practice, but it’s the real SAT (or the ACT) that’s going to impact college admissions.
Our experts are pros at analyzing PSAT scores and helping students build out a plan for the rest of high school, and we’re ready to help. For more information, give us a call at 800-2REVIEW.
We recommend taking practice tests for BOTH the SAT and ACT to give yourself more options later. For help exploring both tests, take a free practice test with us either in person or online.
Now that you’ve got a baseline score (the score you would earn if you showed up for the SAT or ACT today), compare your practice test scores with average scores for the colleges on your wishlist.
Improving your score by even a hundred points on the SAT or even one point on the ACT can significantly boost your chances of admission at many schools. Some schools even give out guaranteed scholarships to students whose scores meet a minimum threshold.
You can find test scores and acceptance rates for many schools in our online college profiles. Check out the profile for your dream school, and we'll help you figure out the next step.