Sometimes waiting to learn the outcome of your performance on a test can be more stressful than taking the test itself. If you already took the test and are now waiting for your PSAT results, you’re probably wondering how long of a wait you might have.

The PSAT, which stands for Preliminary SAT, is a standardized test that can help you practice for the real SAT and put you in the running for a National Merit Scholarship. While you’re likely eager to find out when you can finally check the PSAT scores, you can get ahead of the game by learning what you can expect to be on the score report and how to best interpret the results.

PSAT Score Release Date

Most high schools administer the PSAT in October. The release date for PSAT results is typically sometime in the second week of December but could be as late as January. The earliest you can access your PSAT scores is when they become available online.

Once the scores are available online, a message with instructions for creating a College Board account will be sent via email if you provided an email address on the answer sheet when you took the test. If you did not provide an email or have not received instructions, you can create a new College Board account by visiting collegeboard.org and then access any available scores on your account. If you need a paper score report, request one from an educator at your school.

What Is on the PSAT Results?

Your PSAT score report will include a line-by-line readout of all your responses and will identify the subscore that a test question belongs to along with its level of difficulty. Since the PSAT test matches the type of material you will encounter on the SAT, your performance on it is a good indicator of how you’d be likely to score on the real SAT. It can give you valuable insight on what you should work on to improve your performance since the SAT score is used for college admission decisions.

College readiness benchmarks are also reported on the PSAT results for each of the main sections, which include evidence-based reading, writing and math. If your score meets or exceeds the benchmark for each section, that suggests that you are well on your way to having the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college. The score report also indicates your eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

How to Interpret PSAT Results

Once you have your scores in hand, all that information might seem overwhelming at first. You are probably wondering what is considered a good PSAT score and how your score measures up. There are three main scores you want to look at, and they are your total score, your evidence-based reading and writing score and your math score.

The PSAT uses the same scoring rubric as the SAT but operates on a different scale that has a range of 320 to 1520 for the total score and 160 to 760 for the individual section scores. An overall score of 1210 to 1520 will put you in the top 10 percent PSAT score range, which means that you did better than 90 percent of students who took the test on the same day as you.

A top score in the individual sections would require at least a 620 or higher in either section. Competitive PSAT scores that put you in the top 25 percent require a range of 1070 to 1200 overall and an individual section score range of 560 to 610. Overall scores in the 950 to 1060 range and individual scores between 500 to 550 are considered good. A total score of 950 or below or any individual score at 500 or below would be considered below average compared to the testing population.

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About the Author

Kristina Barroso earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University and works full-time as a classroom teacher in a public school. She teaches middle school English to a wide range of students from struggling readers to advanced and gifted populations. In her spare time, she loves writing articles about education for TheClassroom.com, WorkingMother and other education sites.