what-does-your-psat-score-mean-act-sat

What does your PSAT score mean for the SAT or ACT?

The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, is mostly a practice version of the SAT, but it can also lead to more money for college through the National Merit Scholarship Program. In addition to using the PSAT to compete for scholarships, many students use it to predict their potential score on the SAT or the ACT. You can also think of the PSAT as a diagnostic exam for the SAT or ACT, and use your results and score report to construct a study plan.

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PSAT scoring can be pretty complicated:
  • You will receive a score ranging from 8 to 38 on each of the three tests (Reading, Writing & Language, and Math)
  • You will also receive a score ranging from 160 to 760 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and for Math
  • Your overall PSAT score will range from 320 to 1520 and is calculated by adding your two area scores together
  • You will also receive subscores ranging from 1 to 15 in the following areas: Command of Evidence, Words in Context, Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math

psat scores

Use your PSAT score to predict your SAT score

The PSAT is created and administered by College Board, the maker of the SAT. Since it is considered to be a Preliminary SAT, your score on the PSAT is meant to be a solid predictor of how well you would do on the SAT if you took it on the same day. But there are a couple of caveats.

  • The maximum score on the PSAT is 1520, whereas the top score on the SAT is 1600. So, a score of 1100 on the PSAT, for example, is a good indicator that you would score 1100 on the SAT if you took it on the same day. However, because the SAT covers a higher level of content than the PSAT, scores above 1520 cannot be predicted — the PSAT does not test content that makes up those 80 points.
  • Typically, there are at least a few months between when students take their PSAT and their SAT. You can use this time to identify your areas of opportunity from your PSAT score report or an SAT Practice Test, and prep for the SAT. With dedicated prep, you are likely to improve on your PSAT performance when you take the SAT.

Use your PSAT score to predict your ACT score

The ACT is scored completely differently from the SAT or PSAT. There are 4 multiple choice sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) that will all have scores provided separately on a scale of 1-36. You will also receive a composite score between 1-36.

In 2018, the ACT and College Board released a concordance for SAT and ACT scores, establishing a relationship between scores on the two tests. Since you can use your PSAT score to predict your SAT score, you can also now predict your ACT score. We’ve used information from the concordance to predict ACT scores using PSAT scores below. Remember, the maximum score you can get on the PSAT is 1520, so ACT scores above 34 cannot be predicted because, like the SAT, the ACT tests a higher level of content than the PSAT.

Conversion: ACT Score → PSAT Score

  • 09  →  590 – 610
  • 10  →  620 – 640
  • 11  →  650 – 680
  • 12  →  690 – 720
  • 13  →  730 – 770
  • 14  →  780 – 820
  • 15  →  830 – 870
  • 16  →  880 – 910
  • 17  →  920 – 950
  • 18  →  960 – 980
  • 19  →  990 – 1020
  • 20  →  1030 – 1050
  • 21  →  1060 – 1090
  • 22  →  1100 – 1120
  • 23  →  1130 – 1150]
  • 24  →  1160 – 1190
  • 25  →  1200 – 1220
  • 26  →  1230 – 1250
  • 27  →  1260 – 1290
  • 28  →  1300 – 1320
  • 29  →  1330 – 1350
  • 30  →  1360 – 1380
  • 31  →  1390 – 1410
  • 32  →  1420 – 1440
  • 33  →  1450 – 1480
  • 34  →  1490 – 1520

Using your ACT score prediction and your PSAT score report or an ACT Practice Test, you can identify areas of opportunity and come up with an ACT study plan.

Should you take the SAT or the ACT?

Most colleges accept scores from either test, so you can take the test that’s right for you. Use this quiz to help you decide:

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