Understanding New PSAT Scores

We knew the redesigned SAT and PSAT would require some additional understanding, and now that time has arrived!  Scores are now available to students (mostly 10th and 11th graders) who took the PSAT last October.  Please use the following information to help you read through your PSAT results.

college board logoHow do you access your online PSAT/NMSQT scores and reports?

  • Log in to an existing College Board account or create a new one at collegeboard.org
  • Once logged in, select PSAT/NMSQT Scores


  • Use “Missing Scores” to locate scores. (If you are still being asked for an access code, your counselor will be able to send you one beginning today.) 

Your score report will include a total score, section scores, test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores — all of which will give you better insight into your performance.  Your score report will also include the NMSC Selection Index, which is calculated by doubling the sum of your Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores (which are different from the section scores).  NMSC uses the Selection Index as an initial screen of the large number of entrants (1.5 million students!) to its National Merit® Scholarship competition.

There are two sections on the test – Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. These mirror the redesigned SAT and are on new scales ranging from a 160 to 760 (instead of 200 to 800). These scores are based on percentiles, not total correct answers, so it’s important to understand your scores.  In case you’re wondering how to compare the redesigned score to the old scale, please use this preliminary concordance table (the tables compare total-to-total, section-to-section, and section-to-test).  Here is a sample score report to help walk you through your student’s information.

The score report will also show the correct answers, the answers you gave, and the difficulty level of each question.  In the Next Steps section, you will see a message about your potential for success in AP courses based on your scores.  There is also some helpful advice about when to take the SAT.

Once the initial information provided on the score report has been digested, it’s time to consider the real value of the PSAT, which is to help students prepare for college entrance exams—the SAT and the ACT.  Thanks to a partnership with Khan Academy, students will be able to link their PSAT scores to practice materials which will support skill-building across tests.  Although targeted to the SAT, the similarity between the redesigned SAT and the ACT should help students prepare more efficiently for both tests.

As a partner with the College Board, Khan Academy will offer “official” SAT practice at no cost.  Students will have access to thousands of SAT test questions and four full-length SATs.  SAT practice can be accessed on a computer or by using the Daily SAT Practice app or Khan Academy app on any mobile device.  In addition, Kahn Academy will create personalized learning plans for each student based on test performance.  By linking the College Board and Khan Academy accounts, all SAT “suite” results can be sent to customize practice using actual results.

To begin the linking process, students must:

  • Log in or create a Khan Academy account.
  • When prompted, agree to link the Khan Academy and College Board accounts. Students will then be directed to collegeboard.org
  • Sign in or create a College Board account.
  • When prompted, hit “Send” to authorize account linking.
  • Students may then start working on Official SAT practice on Khan Academy!

In the spirit of “any test prep is useful test prep,” please also assume that skills developed here may very well be transferable to other assessments.

Many people also have questions about the use of this PSAT for National Merit Scholarships.  We’re working on getting all of the information we can – check back for a future post!

The above post was written by Lindsey Dean, College and Career Counselor at the Fellowship Christian School in Roswell, Georgia.  It is shared with her permission.

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