The PSAT Scoring Scale
An official PSAT/NMSQT score report contains seven parts.
- Total Score (on a scale of 320-1520)
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score (on a scale of 160-760)
- Math Score (on a scale of 160-760)
- Subscores (on a scale of 1-15)
- Cross-test Scores (on a scale of 8-38)
- National Merit Scholarship Corporation Selection Index
- Question-Level Feedback
The section score reflects students’ overall performance in the section. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score combines the Reading Test Score with the Writing and Language Test Score. The total score combines the section scores of Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (160-760) with the Math section score (160-760).
In addition to the two main scoring metrics (section score and total score), students also receive further performance analysis in the form of cross-test scores and subscores. Cross-test scores measure analysis in history/social studies and analysis in science, with a score range of 8-38. Subscores range from 1-15 and measure students’ abilities in the following areas: command of evidence, words in context, expression of ideas, standard English conventions, algebra, problem solving and data analysis, and preparation for advanced math. For National Merit qualification and other scholarships, the score report includes what is called the NMSC Selection Index. This index is calculated by doubling the sum of a student’s Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores. 50,000 high scorers, measured by Selection Index, are notified each September of their qualification for National Merit Scholarship Program recognition.
Like the SAT, the PSAT measures a raw score which is calculated by the number of questions answered correctly. There is no penalty for guessing. That raw score is then converted to a scaled score (160-760) using a process called equating, which takes into account slight variations in difficulty between different test administrations and dates. The two scaled section scores are combined to create a student’s total score and to measure a student’s percentile ranking. The percentile ranking shows how a test-taker compares to the scores of test-takers nationwide. It represents the percentage of test-takers whose scores fell at or below the student’s score. The chart below shows percentile rankings for total scores among 10th and 11th graders. Percentiles were calculated by the College Board using the scores of students who took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2015.
|10th Grade||11th Grade||Converted
|10th Grade||11th Grade|
The last portion of the PSAT/NMSQT score report contains question-level feedback, which breaks down the test by individual questions and shows students which ones they missed. It also indicates which questions fall into which subscore and cross-test score category. This section also includes an access code where students can view answer explanations online.