The PSAT measures skills in three basic academic areas important for success in college: Critical Reading; Mathematics problem-solving; and Writing skills. PSAT critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills questions are designed to be the same as those on the SAT.
First, a raw score is computed. Students receive one point for each correct answer (regardless of difficulty). For incorrect answers to multiple-choice questions, a quarter (1/4) of a point is deducted. Nothing is deducted for unanswered questions or incorrect answers to student-produced response (grid-in) questions. Next, the raw score is converted to a score on the PSAT scale of 20 to 80; the PSAT scale is comparable to the SAT scale of 200 to 800.
Individual student scores: Score reports show a numerical score for each area measured, as well as a range that extends from a few points below the score to a few points above. This range shows the extent to which a student’s score might differ with repeated testing, assuming that the student’s skill level remains constant.
National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC)
U.S. high school students who take the PSAT and meet other program requirements will enter the 2010 competition for National Merit Scholarship Program recognition and scholarships. Nearly all program participants (entrants) will be juniors planning to enter college in 2010. Currently, more than 1.5 million test-takers meet requirements to enter NMSC’s competitions each year. NMSC uses PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores (the sum of critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills scores) to determine participants who qualify for program recognition. In early September 2009, nearly a third of the 50,000 high scorers will be notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists.
For more information on the PSAT, please visit College Board’s website: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about.html