The preliminary SAT, or PSAT, is a standardized test administered to high school juniors each October. The PSAT has the same format as the SAT, and serves as a rough predicator of SAT performance. Taking this test will help you focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice. PSAT scores from junior year count towards National Merit Scholarship, however, SCORES ARE NOT SEEN BY COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES.

How is the PSAT scored? 

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 competition for National Merit Scholarship Program recognition and scholarships.  Nearly all program participants (entrants) will be juniors planning to enter college . 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. 

For more information on the PSAT, please visit College Board’s website: 


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