Understanding Your PSAT Scores

With any luck, your first reaction to your PSAT scores was to hang up the score report on the refrigerator rather than ball it up in the wastebasket. But either way, you should remember that the PSAT was only practice: good scores won’t get you into college and poor scores won’t keep you out. The College Board won’t release your PSAT scores to colleges, no matter how nicely they ask.

As you look over your results, try not to focus too much on the overall section scores.

Sure, it’s easier to just check your National Merit Selection Index against the state cutoffs and then throw the score report in the drawer (especially in the DMV, where the cutoff scores** are just short of ridiculous.) But what you should focus on instead is not just what the scores are but how you earned them.

Start by asking yourself: Did I have enough time to complete the section without rushing? Did I make the best decisions in using the time I did have? For the questions you missed, try to determine what caused your mistake.

Errors on standardized tests usually have three causes:

Improving your score on a standardized test requires you to not only understand the material on the test but also a little about yourself. Now that you’ve got your scores, take the time you need to reflect and make the most of your PSAT – after all, you’ve already spent over three hours on it! PSAT Tutoring can help.
**Last year’s National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores: DC 222, MD 221, VA 221