What’s a good PSAT/NMSQT score?

The digital PSAT(Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)/NMSQT(National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardized test administered by the College Board that prepares you for the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT is also your entrance exam for the prestigious National Merit Scholarships. Several states, including Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, and Rhode Island) require the PSAT/NMSQT as a college readiness benchmark. The PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 are available for 8th-10th graders. Registration for all PSAT/NMSQT tests is via your high school so check with your counselor for dates and fees. Many school districts cover the costs of this test for all.

Scoring

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation calculates a Selection Index score each year based on actual PSAT scores, so the qualifying score varies each year for each state. Scores are typically released online 4-6 weeks after the test date. Students who test in October 2024 can access scores on October 24, November 7, or November 14 depending on their test date.

The SAT offers grade-level benchmarks for each section to assess whether students are on track to be college-ready. The PSAT/NMSQT score ranges from 320-1520, with 160-760 scores available in the two sections of Reading & Writing and Math. Scores of 1300 and higher indicate high potential for the National Merit Scholarship junior year.

Averages for each section and composite in 2023 are shown below with benchmark levels:

Range R&W Math Composite
PSAT/NMSQT 320-1520 486 469 920
Best (top 10%) 560-610 560-610 1210-1520
Competitive (top 25%) 560-610 560-610 1070-1200
Good (top 50%)   500-5560 500-550 950-1060
Below Average   below 500 below 500 below 950

Preparing 

The digital PSAT/NMSQT uses the Bluebook™ app which you’ll want to download and practice on well before test day so that you’re familiar with its functionality. Time your practice test sections so you pace yourself correctly. Take a full practice, and simulate testing conditions—quiet area, timed breaks.

Take the OnToCollege SAT/PSAT Prep course, and do lots of practice questions. Free practice tests are also available from the College Board. Attend OnToCollege free Live! Online Help sessions before the test and bring your questions for our OTC master tutor to answer.

The PSAT/NMSQT is your opportunity to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, a way to stand out to prospective colleges, to become eligible for scholarships and merit-based aid, and great practice for the SAT. Working hard to increase your score can help you become a college graduate with minimal debt.