psat breakdown (1)The new PSAT is being scored very differently from previous PSATs: The score report will not just reveal a single reading, math and writing score but a multitude of subscores. The overall score is different in that the PSAT score was always a two digit number. Add a zero and you have a comparative SAT score. Not so now. Read below as I drill down to make the soon to be received scores more understandable.

What is the most frequent question that parents of high school sophomores and juniors ask about now?

When will my teen’s PSAT scores come out! Heads up: They are mailed in early December, and schools decide how and when to distribute, typically prior to winter break.

So now that you have your teen’s PSAT score report in hand, what do all of these scores mean!?

 Each of the assessments in the PSAT Suite reports a Total Score which is the sum of the two section scores – Evidence-Based Reading and Math. The score ranges per section from 160 – 760.

Each section is made of of three Test Scores: Reading, Writing/Language and Math: The scores ranges from 8-38.

NOTE: The Section Score is created by adding the Reading and Writing/Language Test Scores and multiplying that number by 10. The Math Test Score is multiplied by 20. The Total Score comes from adding those two results.

The Cross Test Scores are based on questions relevant to Analysis in History/Social Science and in Science. They come from questions spanning the entire test. They measure how students think analytically relevant to texts and problems from these subject areas. The Cross Scores also range from 8-38.

The Subscores are breakdowns of skills relevant to all three areas – Reading, Writing/Language and Math. They are intended to provide more specifics about student achievement. The Subscores range from 1-15 points.

Reading Test and the Writing and Language subscores

  • Command of Evidence
  • Words in Context

The Writing and Language Test additional subscores

  • Expression of ideas
  • Standard English Conventions

The Math subscores

  • Heart of Algebra
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis
  • Passport to Advanced Math

The Percentile is the number given at under each of the two Section Scores and Total Score. A percentile of 70% means your teen preformed better on that section than 70% of her peers.

 How will I know if my teen qualifies for the National Merit scholarship Program? When you teen takes the PSAT/NMSQT, he is automatically screened for the National Merit Scholarship Program.  Scholarships are awarded solely based on merit. There are also millions of dollars from the College Board new scholarship partners provided to qualifying low income and minority students. Commended scholars and finalists are announced senior year.

Your teen’s PSAT score report will also provide the NMSC score or selection index.

 The NMSC selection index is computed as follows:

  1. Look at your teen’s three test scores which range from 8-38, (Reading, Writing/Language and Math.)
  2. Add all three numbers and and multiply that sum by 2.
  3. The selection range will be from 48-228.

 FYI: Last year the selection index cut-off in Maryland was 221 and in DC 224.

So how did your teen fare? What types of reading will help my teen improve his Cross Scores and Subscores – hence overall score?  A good place to start is my recommended reading list.

 I also invite you to come in for your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session  where I will be able to go over your students scores, recommend the better exam, project an SAT or ACT score, and give recommendations as to how to make that SAT or ACT score goal happen.

 Find out more and register for Paul Rivas’ Study Skills Boot Camp

Coming soon! 60 Second ACT vs. (new) SAT Assessment!

Acknowledgement for this article: Collegeboard College Readiness

PSAT/NMSQT® is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.

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