How To Understand Your PSAT Report

How To Understand Your PSAT Report

As the end of the year rolls around, students who have taken the PSAT in October will receive their PSAT reports. These scores are helpful for students, as they detail how the student did to pave a direction forward.

Students can receive their scores in-person through the school or by using the website.

Students living in the U.S. that provide a mobile phone number when they took the PSAT can also download the BigFuture School mobile app. These students willl get a text message when their scores are available to view.

These results are helpful in guiding a student’s path toward college, but it can sometimes be hard to dissect the information.

Fortunately, we are here to help students understand their results and what they mean for them.

Reading Your PSAT Report Score

The PSAT/NMSQT assessment is broken up into four different scores.These sections include total score, Reading and Writing section score, Math section score, and NMSC Selection Index score.

The NMSC is on a scale from 48–228, The Math and English sections range from 160–760, and the total score should be an additive score of 320-1520.

The + or - 30 refers to the reasonable variance in your score. If a student takes the same test under the same conditions, they should expect to fall within that range of their current score.

Lastly, the results should include a percentile. Students in a higher percentile score equal to or higher than their peers.

For example, a student in the 90th percentile has scored equal to or better than 90% of their peers.

PSAT Report Knowledge and Skills

The PSAT report will have a knowledge and skills section with a graphic detailing a student's performance in each of the major areas of the test. There will be 4 English skills and 4 math skills evaluated under this section of the report.

While the exact number of questions covering each skill is unknown, there will be an approximate number per evaluated skill, followed by the percentage of the test those questions make up.

This particular section is great for those who want to focus on polishing their weak points. They can see which specific sections they excel at already.

MSC Selection Index Score

The MSC index score is used by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) to screen students who enter their scholarship programs. 

This MSC score is calculated by doubling your Reading and Writing Score, adding it to your Math score, then dividing that sum total by 10.

What Does My PSAT Report Mean?

Based on the results of these scores, students should be able to determine their next best course of action toward college.

The maximum score on the PSAT is 1520, while the top score on the SAT is 1600. This means that students can reasonably expect to score around the same number on their SAT as they did on their PSAT.

However, because the SAT covers a slight bit more content than the PSAT, scores above 1520 cannot be predicted. The PSAT does not test for the same content that makes up those 80 points on the SAT.

While the PSAT is the direct practice for the SAT, the information can also be used for the ACT.

Unlike the other two tests, the ACT is on a much smaller scale of 1-36. The other big difference is that the ACT also has a science portion of the test, although this section is more about data comprehension and reading skills than it is about actual science abilities.

As of 2028, the college board has released a chart converting PSAT scores to predicted ACT scores. Like the SAT, the ACT has a higher score cap. Meaning that the PSAT will not predict a 35 or 36 score on an ACT.

Predicted ACT Score

PSAT Result


590 - 610


620 - 640


650 - 680 


690 - 720


730 - 770


780 - 820


830 - 870


880 - 910


920 - 950


960 - 980


990 - 1020


1030 - 1050


1060 - 1090


110 - 1120


1130 - 1150


1160 - 1190


1200 - 1220


1230 - 1250


1260 - 1290


1300 - 1320


1330 - 1350


1360 - 1380


1390 - 1420


1420 - 2440


1450 - 2480


1490 - 1520

Concluding Thoughts

Being able to read and dissect your PSAT score is essential, as without this ability, it is just a collection of random numbers.

For more information or help with test preparation, check out our website. Our instructors offer both test-specific help and general tutoring sessions.

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