It feels like it was just yesterday when you took the PSAT: bubble sheets, geometry formulas, comma splices, and that very specific feeling of excitement mixed with anxiety are still fresh in your memory. Now, it’s almost time to find out how you did when the College Board releases scores on November 6 and November 16. So what do your scores mean? Learn more about how to access your scores, who will see them, how to interpret them, and how to use them to take your next test prep steps.
How to Access Your Score
Students who took the PSAT in October 2023 can expect to receive their scores on November 6 and November 16, 2023, depending on their test dates. Get ready to access your score report by setting up a free College Board account or by downloading the BigFuture School mobile app. You can also ask your school, specifically your school counselor, to provide you a PDF copy of your score report.
Who Will See Them
At the same time you are receiving your PSAT score, so will your school, district, and state. Since the PSAT plays no role in admissions decisions, your score will not be included on your transcript or be sent to colleges. However, while PSAT scores do not impact a student’s college admissions chances, if you are a junior and took the PSAT/NMSQT, your scores will also be sent to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) to determine if you qualify for a scholarship.
How to Interpret Your Score Report
To begin deciphering your results, start with the Score Overview where you will find your Total Score and Section Scores (the sum of your Math and Reading and Writing Section Scores). On the SAT, students can earn between 200-800 points on each section for a total score between 1400–1600 points. Since the PSAT is a slightly less difficult test, students can earn a Section Score between 160-760 points. The Score Details tab will give you an even more in-depth look at your performance, including Cross-Test scores and Subscores, that summarize how well you did on specific content areas like science and history/social studies.
So what is a good score on the PSAT? Freshmen and sophomores taking the PSAT should focus on their percentile rank. Percentile ranks will give you a better idea of how your scores compare to your peers. For example, if you scored in the 90th percentile in Math, then you scored well above average. Juniors, your percentile rank is important too, but your Total Score on the PSAT/NMSQT is also a good initial indicator of what type of score to expect on the SAT. NMSC Selection Index scores, which range from 48-228, are worth checking out, too. Each state has its own cutoff score to qualify as eligible for National Merit recognition (e.g. Pennsylvania’s most recent cutoff score was 218).
The PSAT is a student’s trial run at the type of content and pacing found on the more high stakes SAT. So some of the most valuable information you will find on a score report is on the Test Questions and Skills Insight section where you can analyze specific question types in terms of their difficulty level and related skills. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you develop a test prep plan that will maximize your potential.
How to Use Your Scores
Okay, so you’ve reviewed your Total Score, Section Scores, percentile ranks, and Test Questions. What’s next? Now, it’s time to move away from data and towards decisions, from choosing between the SAT and ACT to developing a personalized test prep plan. Consider the following:
- Reflect. Scores can tell you if you answered a question correctly or incorrectly, but it’s not the whole story. Knowing the “why” behind your scores should factor into how you prepare for the next test. Think back to when you took the test: Did you spend too much time on word problems that you ran out of time to do basic algebra? Did test anxiety cause you to read the same three sentences over and over again?
- SAT vs. ACT. With the transition to a digital version of the SAT (dSAT) in the spring, choosing the right college admissions test for you is more important than ever. If you took the PSAT 8/9 or PSAT/NMSQT, you took a digital version of the test, so your PSAT scores should give you a glimpse at how well you could do on the dSAT. To make a final decision between the dSAT and the ACT, plan on taking a practice test of each test.
- Test Prep. Your PSAT scores are a starting point. Although some students will end up earning similar scores on the SAT or equivalent score on the ACT, with effective test prep, many students can significantly improve their scores. Students can even use their PSAT/NMSQT score report to access Khan Academy’s SAT prep resources.
- Future Plans. If you choose to download the BigFuture School Mobile app, you can not only access your PSAT scores, but you can also research colleges and careers.
How A+ Can Help
Your PSAT scores won’t affect your college admissions chances but will help guide your future test prep plans. Still, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Your next step should be to take a practice ACT and practice digital SAT (dSAT) to figure out which test is best for you. A+ Test Prep and Tutoring offers free practice exams, including a complete score report for each test and a consultation. Once you have your PSAT score and practice dSAT/ACT scores, consider our test prep programs that provide an individualized approach with highly experienced tutors. We also offer College Admissions Coaching services with coaches whose direct admissions and counseling experience give them the tools to guide students through every single aspect of the admissions process.
At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you want to find out more about our services, we can be reached at 215-886-9188 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.