What Is a Good PSAT Score for a Freshman? (2023)

Are you a freshman preparing for the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT)? Do you wonder what is a good PSAT score for a freshman? If that’s the case, you can find your answers right here in this article.

Before we go into details it’s important to understand that the PSAT is a practice version of the SAT, and the students with the highest PSAT are eligible for scholarships. This preliminary test is taken once a year, and it takes 2 hours and 45 minutes of your time for reading, writing skills, and math. It’s usually held in October on three different dates.

Students with a 1450 score on their PSAT are registered in the top 1% of test-takers and are competitive for the national merit scholarship. Don’t worry if you’ve already taken the PSAT and you’re not in the top 1%, because anything above 1010 (50th percentile or above) is considered a good PSAT score for freshmen. But that’s not all! For more information, check out our research on what is a good PSAT score for a freshman, and use our tips and tricks to excel on your PSAT score. It’s wise to take the PSAT exam as a freshman to practice, ascertain your present level of performance, and decide how to improve your PSAT score in the future.

(Video) What's a Good PSAT® Score! UPDATED 2021

What Is a Good PSAT Score for a Freshman?

A good PSAT score for a freshman can be lower than a good PSAT score for a sophomore or a junior. The expectations are lower because as a freshman you still haven’t taken any complete high school coursework by the fall of your freshman year, and it’s still early to take the PSAT. Nevertheless, if you studied hard and prepared you’re ready to take the test. Whatever your PSAT score as a freshman may be, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare before taking the PSAT again as a sophomore or junior (you can take the PSAT once every year).

Even though it’s less common to take the PSAT as a freshman it can help you realize what you know, what you’re good at, and what to practice more to achieve your best score possible by junior year. Once you have an idea of how well you scored on the PSAT as a freshman, you’ll have better chances at a higher score as a sophomore or junior.

Now, let’s talk about percentiles! As we’ve already mentioned a PSAT score above the 50th percentile is a good score for a freshman, while higher PSAT scores in the 80th or 90th percentile, are very good and excellent. PSAT scores lower than the 50th percentile are considered below average. To check whether you have a good PSAT score for a freshman in 2023, use this table that offers a sum-up of what PSAT percentiles mean in terms of how well you did on the exam in comparison to other test takers:

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PSAT PercentileMath ScoreEvidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) ScoreTotal Score
99th percentile- the best score750 and above730 and above1450 and above
90th percentile- an excellent score630-6406601280
75th percentile- very good score560-570590-6001150-1160
50th percentile- good to an average score490-500510-5201010
25th percentile- below average score430430-440870
10th percentile- poor score370-380360-370750
1st percentile- the poorest score300 and below300 and below630 and below

So, all you need is a total score of 1010 to obtain a good PSAT score for a freshman in 2023. However, if your PSAT score is in the 75th percentile or higher, your score on the SAT will be very well, or even excellent.

As you can see in the table there’s a slight difference between the math score and the EBRW score. In the math section, you need to get a higher score if your goal is reaching the ultra-high percentiles. Also, if you look closely you’ll realize a change in trends because the lower you go in scores, the trends shift. Generally speaking, the 50th percentile would be a good comfort zone if you’re a freshman because you’ll have enough time to work hard and achieve higher PSAT scores and higher chances for an excellent SAT which is the final step before applying for college. To help you move up on the PSAT score table, we’ve prepared 5 tips that will help you in the long run, and enable you to obtain a PSAT score, and an SAT score you’ll be proud of.

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5 Tips on How to Get an Excellent PSAT Score for Freshman

If you’re preparing for the PSAT, or you’ve already taken the PSAT, it means that you’ve started your PSAT journey, and you want to make the most of it, so when the time comes, you’ll excel on your SAT. Preparation is everything, so make sure you know all the important tips and tricks to get at least in the 75th percentile, or ideally in the 90th or 99th percentile if you want to compete for the National Merit Scholarship Program, that gives special credit and scholarship money to juniors who earn high scores on the PSAT. So plenty of time for a freshman to work those numbers and score in the top 3-4% (commended students), or in the top 1% (the semifinalists) who can apply to become finalists and win the scholarship in junior year. Start improving and use these 5 tips to get an excellent PSAT score for freshman:

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Practice is the key, so our first tip is to start preparing by taking the PSAT practice tests. It’s a great way to replicate the actual test experience in a less-stressful environment and go through the PSAT step by step. Make sure you do at home everything that’s expected of you on the day of the test to help you feel as prepared as possible. Simulate the entire PSAT setting, starting with everything you need for the test itself, pencils, a calculator (approved by the college board), and a watch that doesn’t beep so you can easily time yourself. Then, familiarize yourself with the test, and read the instructions carefully. Pace yourself, and don’t stay too long on one question, because you won’t be able to finish the test. It’s wrong to spend too much time on a question that will bring you just 1 point. To avoid that mistake, make sure you don’t lose track of time. If you’re not certain about the answer, mark that particular question and come back to it later on, or before the very end of the test, just to fill it in. Sometimes if you don’t know the answer it’s better to guess, than leave it blank. There’s no penalty for guessing, and who knows, you even might mark the right answer. It’s important to fill every bubble on the test, so even if you don’t know the answer, you’ll have a chance of getting it right. Remember, as a freshman you’ll have plenty of time for practice to get to perfection!

2. Work on Your Skills

Our second tip is to work on your skills! For example, the math section of the test is pretty standardized, so while preparing for the PSAT, and while taking the practice PSAT test, you’ll realize what kind of math problems to work on, and improve if necessary. So during the preparation phase, see what math questions and problems you got wrong, and work harder on those particular assignments. If you think that you need help Khan Academy has plenty of free practice for all the sections of the PSAT and SAT. The same goes for the reading and writing section of the PSAT. While you’re applying the first tip and preparing yourself analyze the answers in your EBRW section, and start working to overcome the mistakes you’ve made, by improving your reading and writing skills. It’s easy to improve, now that you know your strengths and weaknesses. All you have to do is target the sections you struggled with, and focus your studying to overcome those weaknesses in your future test prep, so you’ll excel on the actual PSAT. Again, as a freshman time is on your side, so take time to work on your skills!

(Video) How to Score a 1450+ on the PSAT®

3. Create a Study Plan

Once you’ve got the first and second tips covered, the third is easy! Since you started preparing, you know your strength and weakness, and you’ve started working on your skills, all you need is a study plan. This tip will help you create a learning strategy. Analyze your learning style and make a list of your present commitments. Develop a schedule suitable to your learning techniques, and everyday workflow. Let study time become a part of your day-to-day routine. Also, plan your breaks, studying won’t have the intended effect if you don’t take necessary breaks. So, what are you waiting for? Create a study plan and what’s more important follow the plan, and don’t make excuses. Whether you use an online timetable planner, or you create one yourself, make sure you stick to it!

4. Set PSAT Score Goal

The fourth tip can easily be the first on our list because of its importance. To get an excellent PSAT score as a freshman you need to set a specific goal and work towards its fulfillment. Once you set a specific PSAT score goal, things get clearer, and you finally have something to work towards. Your PSAT preparation test will help you determine the current score, and when you set your PSAT score goal, you’ll know precisely how many points you’re after, and whether you have to work harder on the math or EBRW section. To get that excellent PSAT that you’re after besides the PSAT prep test you can use SAT resources, with questions nearly identical to possibly harder than the ones on the PSAT. To fulfill your set score goal use SAT materials in your PSAT preparation process. For extra practice and excellent PSAT scores for a freshman take full-length SAT practice tests that are nearly identical to the PSAT practice tests, only longer and more difficult. Also, don’t forget to skip the essay section since there are no essays on the PSAT. So, set your PSAT score goal, and practice using the PSAT and SAT to see the desirable score on one of those prep tests and the actual PSAT.

5. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute!

And last but not least, don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing! If you don’t use this tip, the other four are meaningless since practice takes time and excellence even more time. Don’t think it’s too early to start preparing when you see the PSAT date on your calendar. Instead, mark a date on your calendar three weeks before the actual PSAT date, and memorize it. That way you’ll have three weeks to handle any last-minute-to-dos or any emergencies that may occur. Manage your time, and use the fact that you’re a freshman to your advantage. Once you got that covered, start using these tips to PSAT perfection!.

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Also Read:

  • Middle School Parent Guide: Effective Step-by-Step Guide Into Middle School
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We have covered the information on what is considered to be a good PSAT score for a freshman, as well as the necessary percentiles for an even higher score than the average one. We have explained the importance of reaching the 90th or the 99th percentile if you want to have a chance at winning the national merit scholarship in your junior year, and we gave you 5 tips on how to get an excellent PSAT Score for a freshman. Our job is done!

Now it’s your turn! Use this info and these tips to the best of your abilities if you want to be the best! Don’t forget that as a freshman time is your greatest ally. Use it wisely to prepare, work on your skills, stick to your study plan, reach the projected PSAT score goal, and let your PSAT score speak for itself!

(Video) What's a Good PSAT® Score?


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