What Do My PSAT Scores Mean?

So you’ve received your PSAT scores – great! But there is a lot of information in your score report, so much that it feels overwhelming. Let’s break down the main scores you’re seeing and their significance.


Your Total Score

  • Located on the top center of the second page.
  • This is the score that looks like an SAT score and is intended to predict what you would earn on the SAT.
  • Ranges from 320 – 1520 (lower than the SAT).
  • Tells you separate scores for the Reading / Writing and for the Math that add to the total score.
  • Historically has been less accurate than real SAT’s. In 2016, scores seemed fairly accurate, but in 2015, scores were heavily inflated.
  • Usually increases from Sophomore to Junior year.


Test Scores

  • Located on the second page below the Total Score section.
  • Split out by Reading, Writing, and Math scores.
  • Range from 8 – 38 each.
  • These are the scores we at Mo Prep will ask you about!


Your NMSC Selection Index

  • Located on the top center of the third page.
  • Ranges from 48 – 228.
  • A sum of your Test Scores.
  • Used for the National Merit Search in both the state cutoffs and the national recommended searches.


In order to qualify for the NMSC, you must be in the top 1% of your state. For us in California, the standards have traditionally been amongst the highest in the nation, so you will likely need a score of 222 to be in this group. However, to qualify for National Merit Commended, there is a separate cutoff (to be released at a later date) that is lower, and has in the past been around 207.

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