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Suniti's Advice Corner

Answering the Most Common PSAT Score Questions

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Dec 12, 2017

This time of year, 11th graders ask us a lot of PSAT score related questions. A lot of students begin to panic when they get their PSAT results. So they come to us to figure out how to flip their score into a top SAT/ACT score. In this post, you will find the most common PSAT questions we get every December as PSAT scores come out.  Leave a comment below if you have any additional questions, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Does a low PSAT score hurt my college application?

Turn that frown upside down: A low PSAT score will not hurt your college application. Colleges do not factor in your PSAT score as a part of your college application.

The one negative of getting a very low PSAT score is that you will not meet the National Merit or other scholarship cut offs. But don’t be disheartened – only 7500 out of 1.6 million PSAT takers (that’s 0.5%) end up receiving scholarships through National Merit. 

The only thing a low PSAT score should do is motivate you to study hard for the SAT/ACT, because those scores matter a lot. Think of your PSAT score as a baseline. With the right practice, you can turn your PSAT score into a high SAT/ACT score. 

Do colleges see my PSAT score?

Your individual PSAT score is not reported to colleges. However, if you opted in to Student Search Services during your PSAT test, you might hear from colleges and/or scholarship organizations if your score falls within a certain test score range the organization is looking for. 

Why is the PSAT out of 1520 if the SAT is out of 1600?

The PSAT is slightly easier than the SAT, so rather than scaling it up to 1600, the College Board has kept it at a lower maximum. Don’t worry about what the test is out of. All you need to know is:

If you got 1100 on the PSAT, you would score (approximately) 1100 on the SAT.

Read our post all about understanding your PSAT score. 

Do I need to study for the SAT/ACT if I got a high PSAT score?

You should definitely study for the SAT/ACT, no matter what your PSAT score is. First, the SAT/ACT are tougher than the PSAT. This means you will score lower on the actual tests unless you prepare. Second, your PSAT score is not reported to colleges.

Turn your PSAT Into a Top SAT/ACT Score - Learn More

What is a good PSAT/SAT/ACT score?

“Good” in this case is relative. For some, a 960 is a great score. For others, a 1420 is a good PSAT score. And for some, even a 1420 isn’t good enough. To understand what kind of score would be considered “good” for you, it is important to have a list of a few colleges you might be interested in. If you have this list, follow these steps to understand what a “good” score for you means:

Option 1

  • Visit the college’s admissions website (type in Google: [Name of University] admissions website. Here’s an example with Boston University:

Boston University admissions search example

  • Look for Undergraduate admissions class profile (select the most recent one available)

boston university admissions landing

  • Scroll till you see “Average SAT Score” or “Average ACT score” of incoming class  

boston university admission stats

Source: Boston University 

For BU, the Average SAT for their freshman admitted class 2021 is 1452, and average ACT is 32. So for a student who wants to know what a good score is if they’re interested in a university like BU, a good score is around 1400 on the SAT or 30+ on the ACT.

Option 2:

  • Go to google and type in something like “[Name of University] Average SAT score”

university of illinois admissions

  • Make sure you click on the official University’s site (it should end in .edu) as there are a lot of other non-official sources of information that might not be most recent or as accurate.

university illinois admissions google results

university of illinois admission stats

Source: University of Illinois

For University of Illinois, the Average SAT for their freshman admitted class 2021 range is 1360-1480, and average ACT is 27-33. So for a student who wants to know what a good score is if they’re interested in a university like University of Illinois, a good score is one that falls within either of those ranges.

Still not completely understanding your score? Read our post where we go into detail in understanding your PSAT score. Click Here To Understand Your PSAT Score

Turn your PSAT Into a Top SAT/ACT Score - Learn More 

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, psat

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream PSAT, SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching thousands of students how to maximize their PSAT, SAT and ACT scores for over a decade.

TestRocker is an award-winning PSAT/SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking a diagnostic test, students receive a customized study plan, individualized to their strengths/weaknesses. Students practice and learn concepts through videos. Each of the 2000+ questions on TestRocker is accompanied by a video explanation from Suniti. TestRocker has the largest video library in the world for PSAT/SAT/ACT preparation. 

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