The Perplexing PSAT Score Sheet


You probably thought all of the stress that comes with PSAT’s was over as soon as you left your desk where you sat to take the test. But last week the scores arrived.  Many students were immediately put to task to decipher the scores that finally came back to them.

The PSAT scores are divided into three main categories, Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing Skills. Under each category, students see a percentage score that shows that student’s performance relative to other students nationwide. As a test that is supposed to give practice for the SAT, the PSAT scores can be used to get a rough estimate of one’s SAT performance. One of the easiest, but not completely accurate ways is to add a zero on the end of each individual scores and then add the total points.

Mr. Runge, ODA college counselor, warns that this method is not a very accurate predictor, however, as many other factors will impact your SAT score. For one, you have more school to get through before the SAT and secondly, by the time you take the SAT that will produce the scores you submit to colleges, you will have participated in SAT test prep in a variety of ways.

Preparing for the SAT can help your score on the national scale by ranking you with other students.  Students can view their rank nationally by a percentage showing how many students they scored high than. There is no way to compare ODA students to other ODA students. The only way to do this would be to line up each individual student’s test and compare scores.

Each of your rankings are categorized into sections. There are five sections in the critical reading section. The answer sheet shows how many questions were answered correctly, and which questions were omitted. The answer sheet also has a chart indicating the correct answer, the test taker answer, and the difficulty of each question. The difficulty ratings are split into easy, medium, and hard.

What is the average score and percent for ODA students?

10th grade: Critical Reading- 480 (higher than 71% of other tenth grade students nationally ) Mathematics- 520 (higher than 77% ) Writing  Skills- 470 (higher than 69%)

11th grade: Critical Reading- 520 (higher than 66% ) Mathematics- 520 (higher than 61% ) Writing Skills- 510 (higher than 65% )

Students may perform differently, but their outcomes could help them choose a major.  When each student sits down to take the PSAT there is an optional section that asks what majors each student is interested in. If the student filled in any of this information, they have to learn more about the major they selected at “My College Quick-start” through which is a free college planing website. It allows students to explore majors, learn about related careers, search for colleges, take a personality test, and more.

If you aren’t performing to your liking on the SAT there are many options for help. You can talk to your college counselor or set up tutor sessions. There are also online resources like Shmoop, that can be very useful supplements to other preparations.

Overall, for sophomores, your score is simply an opportunity to get a sense of your future performance. Remember: your score will likely continue to improve with more class time and practice ahead of you.