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The PSAT Score Report

copyright © 2003-2010 by Lynn Scully, LLC.

The PSAT Score Report

You just received your PSAT score report and you’re wondering what to do next.  The PSAT, which is administered in October to high school sophomores and juniors, is considered the first formal step to your higher education.  The PSAT test scores will NOT be part of your college admissions portfolio, unless you request them to be considered for scholarship reasons.  The purpose of the PSAT is to allow students to take a test that will familiarize them with the SAT.  An important aspect to this familiarization is to know how the PSAT is scored.

The PSAT has three sections and each section is scored on a scale from 20 to 80, where 20 is the lowest score and 80 is a perfect score.  The average score of each section is around 50.  To compare your PSAT score to an SAT score, just add a zero to the end of each PSAT section score.  For example, a math score of 45 on the PSAT is comparable to a score of 450 on the SAT.

The scores from the three sections are added to arrive at the total score, which ranges from 60 to 240.  Only about 100 students a year, across the nation, get a perfect score of 240.  Scores on the SAT range between 200 and 800 per section, with 2400 as a perfect score.

How to Read the PSAT Score Report

Your Score

On the score report, directly beneath the student’s name, is a section entitled ‘Your Scores’.  In this section, 3 white boxes are displayed from left to right.  The first (left) box is labeled Verbal.  It contains your verbal score.  The second (middle) box is labeled Math.  It contains your math score.  The third (right) box is labeled Writing Skills.  It contains your Writing Skills score.

Ranges and Percentiles

Directly beneath the ‘Your Scores’ section is another horizontal section bar entitled ‘Ranges’.  For each PSAT section, a score range that is comparable to your score is displayed.  The next horizontal section is entitled ‘Percentiles’, and bar charts are provided for each section.  Percentiles compare the scores of all students who took the same test.  A student's percentage is listed above the box.

What SAT Ranges Can You Expect

The next section is entitled ‘What SAT Ranges Can You Expect?’  This section lists the score range which you are most likely to achieve on your SAT.  Most score ranges list scores 30 points above and below the score you earned.  Your likelihood of getting a higher score is usually slightly greater than getting a lower score.

The PSAT Test Booklet

Along with your report you should have also received your PSAT test booklet.  Notify your guidance counselor if you do not receive your PSAT test booklet.  The long list of question numbers and answers on the PSAT score report under each score box tells you how you answered each question (correct, incorrect, or answer omitted).  Directly to the right of each question number is the correct answer, followed by a white column.  A check in the white column indicates that you answered the question correctly.  A letter indicates the incorrect answer you provided,  or ‘o’ if you omitted answering the question.  To the right of the white column is another letter which indicates the ‘level of difficulty’ of the problem: either:  ‘e’ for easy, ‘m’ for medium or ‘h’ for hard.

Review your PSAT Results

Mark the problems in your PSAT test booklet that you answered incorrectly and try them again.  If you don’t understand a question, ask a teacher or parent for help.  If you notice you have more difficulty answering easier questions than harder questions, consider moving more slowly on the test to eliminate careless mistakes.  Prepare for the SAT by focusing on problem areas.  Don’t register for the SAT until you’re ready.  Simply taking the test multiple times will not raise your score.  Only by preparing can you raise your score.

Register for the SAT

When you are ready to register for the SAT, visit
Signing up for the SAT is your responsibility.  Your guidance counselor will not sign you up. 

copyright © 2003-2010 by Lynn Scully, LLC.
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Lynn Scully has been tutoring and guiding high school students through their college admission process for the past 21 years.  She is the author and host of the get IT SAT Preparation Program.
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