If you are a sophomore or junior taking the PSAT in October 2015—congratulations! You are officially among the first crop of students to take the redesigned test.

New PSAT Score Report

Both the PSAT and SAT have been redesigned by College Board, and these changes mark the biggest overhaul to the two tests in 30 years. The New PSAT comes first (the redesigned SAT makes its debut in March 2016), so the test in October will tell us a lot about the New SAT test.

The good news is that your results on the PSAT will not have an impact on college admissions (though if you are a junior a high score could qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship ). The PSAT is also great practice for the SAT (which will be very important for college admissions and scholarships). Taking the test in October will also provide an opportunity for exposure to the redesigned SAT, as the New PSAT is expected to closely resemble the New SAT.

Rest assured that our research team has been monitoring the changes to both tests closely so that we can give you all the information you need to succeed. Both the New PSAT and SAT remain coachable tests, and we can help you prepare.

But let’s jump ahead to early December, when you will receive your New PSAT score report.

Understanding New PSAT Scoring

The new PSAT will now be scored on a scale of 320–1520 that will be the sum of the two section scores that range from 160–760. The two sections are the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and the Mathematics section.

Cross Test Scores

In addition to the overall composite score and the section scores, there will be other subscores reported on your PSAT score report:

  • An Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science cross-test score is generated based on questions from all sections of the test (Math included) and these assess the cross-curricular application of the tested skills to other contexts. Relax! This doesn’t mean that you have to start cramming dates and anatomy—every question can be answered from the context of a given reading passage or the data included in a table or figure.


Additionally, the Math test is broken into several categories:

  • The Heart of Algebra subscore looks specifically at how well students understand how to handle algebraic expressions, work with a variety of algebraic equations, and relate real-world scenarios to algebraic principles.
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis focuses more on interpretation of mathematical expressions, graphical analysis, and data interpretation. Your ability to not only understand what a problem is asking, but to represent it in your own words, will come in handy here.
  • Passport to Advanced Mathematics questions showcase the higher-level math that’s been added to the test, from quadratics and their graphs to the creation and translation of functions.

Wild Card Material

Finally, there is an Additional Topics domain that’s filled with what you might consider wild-card material. These questions will contribute to overall scores, but not to individual subscores noted above:

  • In the Verbal portions of the test, the Command of Evidence subscore measures how well students can translate and cite specific lines that back up their interpretation, while the Relevant Words in Context subscore ensures that students can select the best definition for how a word is used in a passage.
  • The Writing & Language section additionally measures Expression of Ideas, which deals with revising language in order to make more logical and cohesive arguments, and Standard English Conventions, which assesses a student’s ability to conform to the basic rules of English structure, punctuation, and usage.
  • Additional Topics in Math will cover geometry and some trigonometry.

Using Your PSAT Score Report

You can use your PSAT score report to identify your weaknesses, so you know what to work on as you prepare for the New SAT.  Is there content you need to review? Do you need to work on your pacing?  The best news of all is that you don’t have to wait until October to get a peek at the redesigned test and pinpoint the areas on which you should focus your attention. We offer a free, full-length PSAT practice test given under the same testing conditions as the actual exam. You’ll get a personalized score report that shows your strengths and weaknesses and allows you to get a jump on preparing for the new PSAT test and potential National Merit recognition.