For many students, the PSAT is their first real experience with standardized testing. The PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) provides valuable testing experience and exposes students to SAT and ACT-like questions and testing conditions. By preparing thoroughly for the PSAT, students establish a strong foundation for future testing. The testing window for the fall 2023 digital PSAT/NMSQT will be October 2–October 31. Each school will choose its test administration date. PSAT/NMSQT scores will be released early- to mid-November. The PSAT 10 will be delivered digitally in spring 2024. The testing window will be March 4–April 26. There are two digital testing windows for the PSAT 8/9: October 2–October 31 and March 4–April 26.

Colleges do not see PSAT scores. However, the College Board uses junior-year PSAT 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.”


The PSAT has four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and two Math sections, one with the use of a calculator and one without. Students receive two scores: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (scored 160-760) and Math (scored 160-760) for a combined score of 320-1520. In addition, the College Board provides you with a percentile, a benchmark, and Cross-Test Scores. For a complete breakdown of the PSAT score report, including percentiles, answer key, and scaled scores read click here. You can also read our blog post, “Understanding your PSAT Score Report.”

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.

Please 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.


According to the College Board, entry into the NMSC competition for scholarships in 2024 is based on students’ responses to program entry questions on the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet. Both the printed PSAT/NMSQT student score report and the online report provides information on the student’s Selection Index score, their response to entry items, and whether they meet the participation requirements. You can learn more about the NMSC requirements here.

Entry Requirements

In order to qualify for the 2024 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 2024, and planning to accept admission to college no later than the fall of 2024;
  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 2022 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 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score
  3. Add your Math score