PSAT Scores Arrived!  What’s Next?

Somewhere between Thanksgiving and the mad rush of the winter holiday, PSAT scores were released.  They may have been absentmindedly tucked into drawers, forgotten in the bottom of backpacks, or lost in the black hole of email.  Let’s pull out those PSAT scores and figure out what they mean.  Amazing things await within the score reports…… Who qualifies as a National Merit Scholar?  How are score reports interpreted?  What steps can you take to improve test scores?  

The total score consists of the evidence based reading score and the math score.  The total score ranges from 320-1520.  The evidence based reading and math section each have a score range of 160-760.  The score report will tell you what the average score is for students who took the PSAT.  The average test taker score along with the benchmark score will help you determine if your child is on track for college readiness.  

What do you do if your child’s score is below average or lower than the benchmark?  No need to panic, there is still time to improve skills and prepare for the SAT.  Using the online score report, you can identify specific areas that need improvement.  To view the online score report go to and once you are logged in you will be prompted to enter your access code which is located on the front page of your child’s paper score report.  As you review the areas that need to be strengthened, determine if it is a result of topics that have not yet been taught or is an area that your child is still working on mastering. You will be able to see the difficulty level of the questions your child missed as well as the subject area and have access to personalized practices questions.

Free test prep!  Before spending hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars on preparing for the SAT, have your child take advantage of free test prep available with Khan Academy.  Have your child link their College Board account to their Khan Academy account so practice questions can target their learning needs.  

Will your child be a National Merit Scholar?  Eligibility is determined by a student’s Selection Index score earned during their junior year.  You can find the score both on the paper score report and the online report.  Students commended for high scores and National Merit Semifinalists will be notified in September of their senior year.

New this year! A second PSAT test administration will be offered in January 2021.  Check with your school to see if they will be offering the test.  For students unable to take the PSAT who would like to try to qualify to be a National Merit Scholar, alternate paths are available.  Learn more.

Using PSAT scores, now is a great time to get started with the college application process.  Not sure where to start or looking for tips?  Join College Planning 411’s free webinar, Strategies to Win the College Admissions Game scheduled for Thursday, January 14 at 6:30 pm EST. Hope to see you there!

Leave a Reply