Happy Monday… and PSAT score release day!
Actually, scores are released today through Wednesday, with different regions of the country receiving scores at different times. Luckily, MA is one of the states whose scores come out today, so you should be able to access your scores through the College Board website.
Within the score report lies a lot of information, the most important items being the actual test questions from the PSAT. If you click on the “test questions” tab, you’ll be taken to the numbered list of questions for each section – to see a question, click on the question number. You’ll be able to see the right answer, the answer you picked, and an explanation of the right answer. The details about the test questions also tell you what category each question falls into (e.g. Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, etc). Your sub-scores in these categories can broadly help you determine what to study.
Remember that unlike the SAT, in which each section is scored out of 800 for a total of 1600, the PSAT has each section scored out of 760 for a total of 1520. Historically, PSAT scores have tended to over-predict SAT scores by about 60 points, meaning that if you took the PSAT one Saturday and the actual SAT the next, your PSAT score would probably be about 60 points higher. That does vary widely – it’s just an average.
Once you have your scores, consider exporting them to Khan Academy. There, you can set up a free account, and the Khan Academy algorithm will evaluate your scores and give you study recommendations based on the questions you missed. Then, the KA platform will provide practice questions on those topics for you to try.
For those interested in National Merit, the scores are calculated differently. For the PSAT score, The Reading and Writing/Language sections are each scored out of 38 and then added together to get the verbal score, which is half of the overall score. For National Merit Index, Reading, Writing/Language, and Math are weighted equally: they are each scored out of 38 and doubled, each making up a third of the Index score (which is thus out of 228 … 76 x 3). National Merit cutoff scores vary by state, but the cutoff score for MA for the class of 2020 is 223, tied for highest in the country.
Remember that aside from National Merit, PSAT scores carry no weight in admissions decisions and will not be seen by colleges, even those requiring all scores. The PSAT is just an opportunity to set a baseline and receive initial guidance on areas of need for study. Definitely nothing to stress about.
If you need any help interpreting your PSAT scores and deciding how to proceed with test preparation, please shoot us an email or give us a call.