Almost two million American sophomores take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) each spring. This standardized test measures students' abilities in math, reading, and writing. The PSAT is an excellent opportunity to practice exam-taking skills and prepare for high-stakes standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. But what is a good PSAT score for a sophomore?
Students have different goals and levels of preparation, so a “good” score is subjective. However, you can consider any score in the 75th percentile as good. Sophomores in this category score higher than 75% of all other PSAT takers. In 2022, students needed to score at least 1130 out of 1520 to reach the 75th percentile. Read on to learn more about the PSAT exam, score percentiles, when scores come out, and more.
PSAT Score Ranges
If you want to understand PSAT scores, it’s helpful to understand the exam’s structure. The PSAT has three sections: the Math Test, the Reading Test, and the Writing and Language Test. The test has around 140 questions divided across the three sections, and students have a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete it.
The College Board creates a fresh new version of the PSAT each year and grades every test. They send each student a score report with the following information:
- Composite Score. This number is the combined score for all three sections. The highest PSAT score is 1520, and the lowest is 320.
- Section Scores. These scores break down the student’s performance on the individual parts of the exam. The PSAT has three sections, but the score report combines the Reading Test and the Writing and Language Test into one score called Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW). You’ll also receive a Math score. The College Board translates each section’s raw score into a scaled score of 160 to 760.
For example, a student may receive a score of 560 for Math and 700 for ERW. These two scores get added together for a composite score of 1260.
If you want to know how your score stacks up against other test takers, you can also look at your percentile scores. These numbers show how well you performed on the PSAT compared to all other sophomores who took the test that year. Put simply, the higher the percentile, the more students you outperformed. Here are three possible percentiles and what they mean.
If you’re part of the 50th percentile, you scored higher than 50% of all 10th-grade PSAT takers. In 2022, students needed a total score of 980 to land in the 50th percentile. For each section, sophomores reached the 50th percentile if they scored 510 for ERW and 480 for Math.
A 50th percentile score is considered average. But don’t feel discouraged if you’re in this rank. The PSAT is a valuable experience no matter what you score because you can use the knowledge you gained to sharpen your skills before the SAT.
Sophomores in the 75th percentile have earned a higher score than 75% of other students. In 2022, a total score of 1130, an ERW score of 540, and a math score of 510 counted as the 75th percentile.
A 75th percentile score is good. If you reach this percentile, you’re likely on track for a decent SAT score. However, you still have room for improvement if you want to maximize your SAT performance.
If you reach the 90th percentile, you’ve performed better than 90% of PSAT takers. You need a total score of at least 1170 to reach this rank. Per section, you can make it into the 90th percentile if you score 600 in EWR and 590 in math.
The highest-scoring sophomores achieve a 99th percentile score. This elite category includes all composite scores from 1360 to 1520. A score range of 690 to 760 is the 99th percentile for EWR, while the Math section requires a score of 700 to 760.
A 90th to 99th percentile score is excellent. Stay on track for the SAT or ACT by brushing up on any topics you found challenging during the PSAT. For example, you may focus on vocabulary or word problems during your exam preparation.
What Is the Average PSAT Score for a Sophomore?
According to the College Board, the total average score on the PSAT is 920. The PSAT often predicts a student’s future performance on the SAT because the two tests have similar formats and topics. So, a student with an average performance on the PSAT will likely have an average score on the SAT unless they step up their study game.
When Do PSAT Scores Come Out?
The College Board has a set schedule for administering the PSAT and releasing test scores. Fortunately, the board has a quick turnaround for exam scores, so students don't need to wait long to see how they did.
Sophomores can take the PSAT between February 21 and March 24, 2023, or between April 12 and April 28, 2023. Students who take the test during the first round will receive their score reports on or after April 4, 2023. The College Board releases reports for the second round of test takers on or after May 8, 2023.
How To Get the Highest PSAT Score
A high score on the PSAT can set you up for future academic success. Acing the PSAT will give you more confidence when you take standardized tests that will appear on your college application, like the SAT and ACT. Plus, this exam reveals your college readiness and shows you what subjects to work on. For instance, if you score lower in the math section, you’ll know you need to spend more time studying equations and fractions during your SAT preparation.
Scheduling individual or group sessions with a tutor is one of the most effective ways to reach your target score for the SAT. Your tutor will teach you handy PSAT and SAT study skills so you can get the most out of your study sessions. Also, you can get personalized advice and ask all the questions you want without worrying about your classmates judging you.
You can find an English, math, or SAT tutor by searching online or asking your friends and teachers for recommendations. Alexander Tutoring has top-notch PSAT, SAT, and ACT tutors who know the ins and outs of standardized tests. They can help you identify your weaknesses and boost your practice test scores. Interested in learning more? Contact us today for a free, online, one-hour lesson with one of our expert tutors.