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The PSAT, a standardized test taken by students from 8th to 11th grade, serves as a precursor to the SAT and provides valuable insights into a student’s academic readiness for college. Each year, thousands of students eagerly anticipate the release of their PSAT scores, which occurs either on November 6th or 16th. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what these scores mean and how students and parents can make the best use of this information.

Understanding the PSAT Score Report

The PSAT score report contains a wealth of information that can help students assess their strengths and weaknesses and set academic goals. It is important to understand the different components of the score report:

Section Scores: The Reading & Writing and Math sections of the PSAT are each scored on a scale of 160 to 760. 

Total Score: This is the sum of the Reading & Writing and Math section scores. The total PSAT score ranges from 320 to 1520.

Subscores: Subscores are broken down into various skill areas within the ERW and Math sections. These help identify specific strengths and weaknesses.

Percentiles: The percentile rank tells you how your performance compares to other students who took the test. For example, a percentile rank of 75 means you scored just as well or better than 75% of test-takers.

Selection Index: This is a combination of the Reading & Writing and Math section scores used for National Merit Scholarship consideration.

Interpreting Your PSAT Scores

Once you have your PSAT score report in hand, it’s essential to interpret it accurately. Here are some key takeaways:

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses: Analyze your section and subscores to identify areas where you excel and areas that may need improvement. This information can help you tailor your study plan. If you’d like help with this or any step of the process, feel free to contact Mindfish.

Set Goals: Consider your college and career aspirations and set specific goals for your future PSAT and SAT scores. Improving your weaknesses and further honing your strengths can help you achieve these goals.

National Merit Scholarship Consideration: If you have a high Selection Index, you may be eligible for National Merit Scholarship consideration. Research the qualifying scores and requirements for your state to determine your eligibility.

Seek Guidance: Discuss your scores with a school counselor or a Mindfish test prep professional. They can provide valuable insights and offer recommendations for improvement.

What to Do Next

After interpreting your PSAT scores, it’s time to take action. Here are some steps students and parents can take:

Create a Study Plan: If you identified areas for improvement, create a study plan to address those weaknesses. Consider using test prep resources, such as books, online courses, or tutoring. Mindfish’s Practice Test Program can give you additional insights into whether the SAT or ACT might be the better test for you.

Set Realistic Goals: Aim for incremental improvement and set realistic goals for future PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores. Remember that consistent effort and practice can lead to significant progress.

College Planning: Use your scores to guide your college search. Many colleges and universities publish their average accepted SAT scores, which can give you an idea of where you stand in relation to your desired schools. The Common Data Set is another useful resource for learning about competitive scores at different colleges.

Scholarships and Financial Aid: Strong SAT or ACT scores can open doors to scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Explore these options as you plan for your college education.


Receiving your PSAT scores is a significant milestone on your journey to college. Understanding the information on your score report and taking action based on it can be instrumental in achieving your academic and career goals, so be sure to use this valuable information to pave the way for a successful future.