High school students take the PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, on a testing schedule that occurs before the SAT. In addition to preparing test takers for the SAT, the PSAT is also a way students can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program.
This spring, the new Redesigned SAT will begin being administered in testing centers. Due to the fact that the PSAT corresponds to the upcoming SAT, the most recent PSAT test also used the scoring and structure of the redesigned test.
Scores from the PSAT have just been released to students, although according to one news article, they have arrived later than expected, and interpreting some aspects of the scores has been made more complicated by the redesigned scoring policies and the fact that the redesigned SAT itself has not been administered yet.
The article describes some of the following changes in the PSAT scoring:
- The highest score on a section has been lowered from 800 to 760 (and 720 for the PSAT 8/9 test)
- Percentiles are the basis for scores, not simply the number of correct answers
- Cutoff scores needed to qualify for National Merit are expected to be lower, due to the lowered PSAT scale
- The score for National Merit will equal the math score combined with double the evidence-based reading and writing score
College Board has indicated that some aspects of PSAT scoring may still be subject to change, and also provides detailed information on the scoring system on the PSAT section of their website.
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