Average PSAT Score

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

The PSAT/NMSQT tracks high school students' academic progress to ensure they're developing the skills they'll need in college. Read on to learn about average exam scores for the old version of the test and discover some of the scoring changes that took place in 2015.

PSAT Scoring Data

The PSAT/NMSQT underwent significant changes to its scoring range, format and content, and in October of 2015 a new version of the test debuted. Keep in mind that this form of the test is still new; average scoring data is not yet available.

The average scores reported below are for college-bound high school juniors and sophomores who took the old version of the test in 2014-2015.

PSAT Section High School Juniors High School Sophomores
Critical Reading46.9 42.1
Mathematics48.6 43.4
Writing Skills45.3 40.1

Scores earned by the highest percentage of test takers are as follows:

PSAT Section High School Juniors High School Sophomores
Critical Reading 17.4% between 40-44 19.2% between 40-44
Mathematics 18.8% between 45-49 18.8% between 35-39
Writing Skills 17.4% between 45-49 20.6% between 35-39

Scoring Changes

The old test format's critical reading, math and writing skills sections were scored on a scale of 20-80 points. The new version of the test has writing and language, reading and math sections that can receive between 8 and 38 points. Results on these sections are used to generate a math score and an evidence-based reading and writing score. The sum of these two scores is your total exam score.

Additional changes include the following:

  • New scoring ranges: The range of scores you can earn has been changed from 60-240 points to 320-1520 points.
  • No guessing penalty: In the past, points were deducted for incorrect answers to multiple-choice questions. That penalty is now gone completely, so you're encouraged to take a stab at all questions, even if you're unsure of the answer.
  • Test duration: The new PSAT will now include an extra 35 minutes of testing time, but you'll also be asked to answer 14 more test questions.

Improving Your Score

Everything you need to know for the PSAT, you're learning in high school. However, there's an easy way to consolidate exactly what you need to know for the test to get the best score possible.

The PSAT study guide offers a fun and fast way to get exam ready. This course covers all the material you need to know for the test and helps you develop testing strategies to boost your score. Features include:

  • Short video lessons that last around five minutes each
  • Lesson quizzes that ensure you get the essential concepts
  • Help from instructors when you have any questions
  • Chapter and course exams to let you know what you need to review
  • Mobility to let you study whenever and wherever you are

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