Education

Using PSAT Scores to Compare SAT and ACT  

Using PSAT Scores to Compare SAT and ACT  

The PSAT has traditionally been seen as a stepping stone to the SAT, although it can also help guide students toward the ACT if they want. Many students have already taken an official Pre-ACT or a practice ACT to establish a baseline for the test.    

The 3 to 4 hours needed to complete a practice ACT can be spent at a Compass site or home with our online proctoring. This option is available to students who have not yet taken an ACT. An alternative for students who don’t want to wait until December to find out their PSAT results is to take a practice SAT with Compass.  

PSAT Examination  

The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is a standardized test often taken by high school students in the United States to prepare for the SAT, a college entrance exam. The PSAT is typically taken in the fall of a student’s junior year and measures reading, writing, and math skills.  

The PSAT also determines eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which recognizes high-achieving students and provides scholarship opportunities. Students who score in the top 1% on the PSAT are typically named National Merit Semi-finalists and are eligible to compete for scholarships.  

How is PSAT Scored?  

  • The scores you obtain for the three examinations (Reading, Writing & Language, and Maths) will range from 8 to 38.  
  • Additionally, you will receive a maths and evidence-based reading and writing score ranging from 160 to 760.  
  • Your total PSAT score, determined by combining your two region scores, ranges from 320 to 1520.  
  • Additionally, you will be given subscores in the following categories, with scores ranging from 1 to 15, including Command of Evidence, Words in Context, Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math.  

SAT Examination  

SAT measures reading, writing, and math skills and is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. The SAT consists of four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (with the calculator), and Math (without the calculator). The exam also includes an optional essay component, which some colleges require. The SAT is a multiple-choice exam scored on a scale of 400 to 1600, with separate scores reported for each section.  

Use your PSAT score to predict your SAT score.  

The College Board, which also produces the SAT, developed and oversees the PSAT. Your PSAT score is intended to be a reliable indicator of how well you would perform on the SAT if you took it on the same day, as it is regarded as a Preliminary SAT. However, there are a few restrictions.  

  • The highest PSAT score is 1520, whereas the highest SAT score is 1600. So, for instance, a score of 1100 on the PSAT is a reliable predictor of a score of 1100 on the SAT if both tests were taken on the same day. Scores over 1520, however, cannot be predicted since the PSAT does not examine the material that accounts for those 80 points because the SAT covers a greater level than the PSAT.  
  • The time between the PSAT and the SAT is usually at least a few months. You can utilize this time to study for the SAT and determine your areas of strength based on your PSAT score report or an SAT practice test. You can probably fare better on the SAT than you did on the PSAT if you put in the necessary preparation.  

ACT Examination  

The ACT is a standardized test measuring high school student’s academic readiness for college. The ACT consists of four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing section.  

The English section measures students’ grammar and usage skills, including punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetoric. The Math section covers topics such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The Reading section assesses students’ comprehension and analysis skills in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Finally, the Science section measures students’ skills in interpreting data and drawing conclusions from scientific experiments and scenarios.  

The optional Writing section requires students to write an essay responding to a given prompt. The essay is scored separately from the other sections and is not factored into the student’s composite score, although some colleges and universities may require or recommend it for admissions.  

Use your PSAT score to predict your ACT score.  

The SAT and PSAT have different scoring scales than the ACT. Therefore, scores will be presented separately for each of the four multiple-choice parts (English, Math, Reading, and Science) on a scale of 1-36. A composite score between 1 and 36 will also be given to you.  

A concordance for SAT and ACT results was published in 2018, connecting the two exams’ scores. You can now anticipate your ACT score since you can use your PSAT score to predict your SAT score. Using the PSAT scores listed below, we’ve used information from the concordance to forecast ACT scores. Because the ACT, like the SAT, tests a higher level of content than the PSAT, and the highest PSAT score you can receive is 1520, ACT scores above 34 cannot be predicted.  

PSAT To SAT and ACT Conversion   

The same board gives both examinations. The goal of PSAT score prediction goes beyond simply letting kids know how well they can perform on the SAT without further study. Also, it serves as a requirement for the National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT is often given a few months before the SAT to give students a good understanding of where they need to improve. Students might increase their chances of admission to their selected institution by including their final SAT scores on their college applications. Here is a PSAT to SAT Conversion chart that you may find helpful. 

Conversion chart  

09  →  590 – 610 

10  →  620 – 640 

11  →  650 – 680 

12  →  690 – 720 

13  →  730 – 770 

14  →  780 – 820 

15  →  830 – 870 

16  →  880 – 910 

17  →  920 – 950 

18  →  960 – 980 

19  →  990 – 1020 

20  →  1030 – 1050 

21  →  1060 – 1090 

22  →  1100 – 1120 

23  →  1130 – 1150] 

24  →  1160 – 1190 

25  →  1200 – 1220 

26  →  1230 – 1250 

27  →  1260 – 1290 

28  →  1300 – 1320 

29  →  1330 – 1350 

30  →  1360 – 1380 

31  →  1390 – 1410 

32  →  1420 – 1440 

33  →  1450 – 1480 

34  →  1490 – 1520 

About the author

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Mike K. Watson

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