The digital adaptive PSAT is here! Students in the class of 2025 were the first to take the new shorter, multi-stage adaptive test. The PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) provides valuable testing experience and exposes students to SAT and ACT-like questions. The PSAT is a preview of the new digital SAT that debuted in March 2024, and will play a key role as students decide whether to choose the digital SAT or the paper-based ACT. The testing window for the fall 2024 digital adaptive PSAT/NMSQT will be October 1–October 31. Each school will choose its test administration date. PSAT scores will be released on one of three dates: October 24, November 7, or November 14, 2024, depending on what day students tested. The testing window for the PSAT 10 will be March 3–April 30, 2025. There are two digital testing windows for the PSAT 8/9: October 1–October 31, 2024, March 3–April 30, 2025.

Colleges do not see PSAT scores. However, the College Board uses junior-year PSAT/NMSQT scores to qualify students for a variety of college scholarships, including a National Merit Scholarship. The National Merit Scholarship requires comparable scores on either the SAT or ACT. This honor also distinguishes a student’s college application. Whether they are planning to focus on the SAT or ACT as a junior, strong students should take preparation seriously to increase their chances of earning the National Merit designation. For more in-depth information on the PSAT, read our blog post, “The PSAT – Demystified.”

Scoring

The PSAT has two sections: Reading and Writing, and Math (calculator use is accepted for the entire section). Students receive two scores: Reading and Writing (scored 160-760) and Math (scored 160-760) for a combined score of 320-1520. In addition, the College Board provides students with a percentile, a benchmark, and NMSC Selection Index Score. For a complete breakdown of the PSAT score report, including percentiles, answer key, and scaled scores read click here.

Accessing your PSAT score report

When your PSAT score report is ready, you will get an email from the College Board.

Step 1: In order to view your report, you must create a College Board account.  If you do not already have a College Board account, click here to create a College Board Account for the first time.

Do not create a new College Board account if you already have one. If you’ve forgotten which email address you provided or have other technical difficulties, contact College Board customer service at 866-315-6068 or visit their Creating and Managing Your Account page.

Step 2: Access your online PSAT score report.

You can also link your College Board account to the BigFuture School Mobile App to access your scores and get information about colleges, scholarships, financial aid, and potential career opportunities.

NMSC

According to the College Board, entry into the NMSC competition for scholarships for the academic year starting in the fall of 2025 is based on students’ scores and responses to program entry questions on the 2023 PSAT/NMSQT. You can learn more about the NMSC requirements here.

Entry Requirements

In order to qualify for the 2025 National Merit Program, students must meet all of the following requirements. Students must:

  1. Be enrolled as a high school student (traditional or homeschooled), progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school by 2025, and planning to accept admission to college no later than the fall of 2025;
  2. Attend high school in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. commonwealths and territories; or meet the citizenship requirements for students attending high school outside the United States (see the box at the bottom of the page); and
  3. Take the 2023 PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern

NMSC Selection Index

The College Board uses junior-year PSAT scores to qualify students for a variety of college scholarships. If your number on the selection index is above your state’s cutoff (which changes every year), you may qualify for different levels of honors and scholarships. If you have ever heard of someone being awarded a National Merit Scholarship, this is the first step towards that distinction.

Cutoffs for boarding school students are determined regionally as opposed to at the state level. For example, a student attending a boarding school in the Northeast must meet the highest cutoff of any state within the Northeast region.

Students who are homeschooled are treated like any other students in their state. Meanwhile, U.S. students studying abroad have to meet the highest state cutoff in the country.

Below are the National Merit Semifinalist and Commended Student cutoffs for recent years.

Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year. Semifinalists are designated on a state-by-state basis; they are the highest scoring test-takers in each state.

To calculate your Selection Index, take your section scores (scored 160-760) and:

  1. Drop the final zero in your scores
  2. Double your Reading and Writing score
  3. Add your Math score

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