Understanding Your Junior Year PSAT Score

By IvyWise on Monday, December 9, 2019

What is a Good PSAT ScorePut Your PSAT Score into Context to Decide What Steps to Take Next

After studying for the exam, learning about the PSAT’s structure, and finally taking the exam, many students anxiously await their test scores. However, once the results are in, it can be challenging to put them into context and understand exactly what a given score means.

In order to gain a better grasp on what your PSAT score means and the test preparation measures you should take accordingly, it’s important to learn more about how the exam is scored. Keep reading to understand what your junior year PSAT score means and how you can use this information to create a comprehensive study strategy.

Calculating Scores
As with the SAT, the PSAT does not penalize students for marking questions incorrectly, or taking a guess at the answers when they are uncertain. With that being the case, we encourage students to make educated inferences when they are taking the PSAT. Since students are not penalized for choosing the incorrect answer, the final scores themselves are calculated solely based on the sum of the raw score, or the total after adding together all of the answers that were marked correctly.

Once the total raw score is calculated, the scores are then equated on a scale of 160 to 760. Since different versions of the PSAT are given across multiple sittings, the equated score can sometimes look different across various versions of the test. However, equating evens the playing field to confirm that there is no advantage for testing during one sitting versus taking the exam in another setting.

Understanding Grade-Level Benchmarks
Depending on the student’s grade-level, there are certain benchmarks associated with college readiness. According to the CollegeBoard, when a student meets or exceeds these standards, it is an indication that they are on track and ready for college. There are different levels of readiness that will indicate if a student is on track, needs extra help, or needs to be further challenged academically.

Students who are looking for more details on their Score Report can view the video guide put out by the CollegeBoard, which is available here.

Know When to Reach Out for Help
If you receive a PSAT score that falls below these college readiness markers, or if you feel personally dissatisfied with your results, consider reaching out for additional academic support. Test taking is a skill in and of itself, so going the extra mile and practicing can really pay off for students. Reach out to a guidance counselor or teacher to inquire about additional learning resources and test preparation options. It may also be beneficial to work one-on-one with a tutor to create a personalized strategy and set goals based on your academic needs. Additionally, the CollegeBoard has an array of free resources, which students can access to continue to fine tune their test taking abilities. 

Recognize and Reflect on Productive Habits
If you are proud of your PSAT score, congratulate yourself on your academic progress and your test taking skills. Take a moment to reflect on what has helped you get to this point: what kind of study habits you utilize, the teachers and counselors that inspire you, and the morning and evening routines that help you work productively and efficiently. For many students, the PSAT is far from the less standardized exam they will take, so it’s important to reflect on these skills and come back to these habits for exams in your future, such as the SAT, ACT, and AP exams.

It’s important for students to analyze their PSAT scores and what these results mean for their big picture goals. If you are looking for support throughout your test preparation journey, our team of expert tutors can work with you to help you meet your academic aspirations.



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