PSAT to SAT Conversion: Predict Your Score

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June 7, 2022
About the PSAT and the SAT Importance of the PSAT and the SAT How the PSAT and SAT Are Scored PSAT to SAT Conversion Table Tips to Prepare for the PSAT and SAT PSAT to SAT Conversion FAQsPSAT, SAT, Dream College


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/5/22

Your PSAT score can help you predict your future SAT score. If you want to learn more about how to predict SAT scores from PSAT scores, see a PSAT to SAT converter, and more, read on!

If you’ve taken the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), you may be wondering, “how do I convert my PSAT score to an SAT score, and how do scores from the PSAT translate to SAT scores?”

Determining your PSAT to SAT conversion is a great way to evaluate an SAT score range you might achieve and help you formulate your study strategy for the crucial test.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn about the PSAT and SAT, why these tests are important, and how they’re scored. The PSAT to SAT conversion table will help you understand how your PSAT scores may compare, and you can find tips for acing both of these tests below. If you want to better understand the PSAT and SAT, read on!

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About the PSAT and the SAT 

The PSAT may be somewhat lesser known than the infamous SAT, but you should familiarize yourself with this test. The PSAT has three versions: 

  1. PSAT 8/9
  2. PSAT 10

All of these forms cover the same subject matter but are designated for different groups of students:

It’s important to note that the PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT are the same tests, but students take them at different times. The PSAT/NMSQT can help you win a National Merit Scholarship to help you pay for college. 

The SAT is a standardized test high school students can take in their junior or senior years as an undergraduate requirement. The SAT exam tests students on evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) and math. 

Importance of the PSAT and the SAT 

The variations of the PSAT are valuable tests for two reasons: it’s a great way to prepare for the SAT, and it's a potential pathway for scholarships to slash the cost of attending college. 

According to the College Board, the PSAT 8/9 is: 

“a low-stakes test, meaning colleges and scholarship programs will never see the score. It’s used as an early barometer to identify areas of study that may need work.” 

The PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT can help you familiarize yourself with the types of questions you may see on the SAT. If you take either of these PSAT variants, you can also opt into the Student Search Service to hear directly from colleges and scholarships. 

When you sign up to take the PSAT 10, you’re offered Roadtrip Nation’s career roadmap and AP course recommendations. These resources can help you identify potential career paths suited to your strengths and interests, along with rigorous courses you can take to demonstrate your college readiness and voracious learning habits. 

The PSAT/NMSQT is the only qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship, where 7,500 finalists are selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award, which includes: 

Who wouldn’t want to pay a little less for a college education? 

The SAT is the most widely accepted college admissions test in the country and is accepted by numerous international institutions. The SAT is used to gauge your college readiness and ability to perform well when dealing with challenging examinations and materials, but it’s also a way to compare students objectively. Remember, SAT scores may not be the most critical component to every college, but high SAT scores can bolster your application.

How the PSAT and SAT Are Scored 

The PSAT and the SAT follow different scoring structures. These ranges will give you a better idea of what makes a “good” PSAT score or SAT score, although this is subjective to the individual and their goals. Below you will find details on how the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, and the SAT are scored. 

PSAT 8/9 Score Structure 

For the PSAT 8/9, your total score can range from 240 to 1440. Here is a breakdown of the score structure

Table outlining the PSAT 8/9 Score Structure and Score Range

PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT Score Structure 

Your total score on the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT can range from 320-1520. These PSAT variants follow the same scoring structure:

Table outlining the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT Score Structure and Score Range

SAT Score Structure 

Although the SAT has a similar scoring structure to the PSATs, the scores that matter most for college admissions are the total score and the section scores. The SAT total score range is 400 to 1600, and the section score ranges for both EBRW and Math are 200 to 800.

PSAT to SAT Conversion Table 

So, how do PSAT scores compare to SAT scores? 

Although the PSAT and the SAT adhere to different scales, you may be able to predict your SAT score by your PSAT score. A PSAT to SAT conversion table can be helpful to see how you may score on the SAT and which sections of it you may struggle with. 

Table outlining the PSAT 10 or PSAT/NMSQT to SAT score conversion for PSAT scores between 400 and 1140
Table outlining the PSAT 10 or PSAT/NMSQT to SAT score conversion for PSAT scores between 1150 and 1500

This table shows your projected SAT scores from PSAT scores, but it’s possible to score outside the predicted range. 

Tips to Prepare for the PSAT and SAT 

The PSAT is designed to be a practice test for the SAT and introduce students to the latter’s structure and subject matter. Note that the PSAT also has slightly fewer questions than the SAT and takes less time to complete. Although the PSAT is considered less challenging than the SAT, these tips apply to both tests to ensure you perform your best.

Practice for Both Tests Under the Same Conditions as Test Day

The PSAT and SAT are timed tests, which can be jarring if you’re not prepared to make your way through these tests swiftly and accurately. When you take practice tests or do prep work at home, time yourself to ensure you have enough time to answer all the questions on test day. 

Identify Your Target Score

Having a measurable and specific goal to work toward can keep you focused as you study for the PSAT. Identifying your target score for the SAT after the PSAT can help you estimate how much work you have to do to boost your score: just check with a PSAT to SAT converter.

For example, say you scored 1150 on your PSAT, but you’re aiming for 1450 on the SAT. In that case, you’ll likely have to spend more time studying than someone who scored 1200 on the PSAT and is aiming for 1400 on the SAT. Your target scores can help you set up a study schedule. 

Create a Study Plan That Works for You

The PSAT and SAT are challenging tests you need to study for, and creating a study schedule helps structure your learning. Think about how much time you have before writing these tests and develop a balanced plan. 

If you’re involved in multiple extracurricular activities and have a part-time job, you probably won’t have much time each week to study. Having a consistent schedule can help you retain information better, prevent burnout, and ensure you’re prepared when test day rolls around. 

Whatever You Do, Avoid Cramming

Let’s face it: cramming sucks. It makes you stressed out and frantic, and the lack of sleep can exacerbate these symptoms. Because of the higher stress and anxiety levels, you’re likely to commit less of the material to memory when you cram. A study plan is crucial to your mental and physical well-being. 

The Process of Elimination Is Your Best Friend

Both the PSAT and SAT mainly consist of multiple-choice questions. People generally consider multiple-choice tests easy, but tricky wording and close answers can throw you off your game if you’re not careful. 

One of the most popular multiple-choice strategies is to use the process of elimination. Read the question carefully and consider all of the answers. Cross out the solutions you know can’t be right to make it easier for you to choose from the remaining responses. 

Learn the Test Format

Knowing the exam format can ensure you’re ready and know what to expect on test day. Whether you’re taking the PSAT or SAT, take the time to review all sections and instructions. 

Learning format can also mean reading test instructions beforehand. This can save you precious time, and you’ll feel more confident knowing you’re prepared for every section. 

Know What Materials You’re Allowed to Bring and Ensure You’re Ready

For the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT, you need to bring two number two pencils, an eraser, an approved calculator, and a valid ID. For the SAT, you need to have all of these things along with your up-to-date admission ticket. If you carry an epinephrine auto-injector such as an EpiPen, you’re allowed to bring it in a clear plastic bag to both tests. 

Consider laying out everything you need for test day the night before. It can make your morning less hectic and put you in a better mind space to ace the SAT or PSAT with ease.

Avoid Leaving Blank Answers on Each Test

Times have changed, and now the PSAT and the SAT do not have a guessing penalty. If you’ve wracked your brain and you can’t decide which solution to a question is correct, it’s in your best interest to take an educated guess. 

Remember, a blank answer is always wrong, but a guessed answer always has a chance of being correct! 

PSAT to SAT Conversion FAQs

Do you still have questions about PSAT-SAT conversion? These FAQs can help provide more clarity on how to predict an SAT score from PSAT scores and more.

1. What Score Do I Need to Achieve on the PSAT to Do Well on the SAT? 

Although your PSAT score can be a good predictor of your possible SAT score, this isn’t always the case. If your PSAT score is high, you still need to study diligently for the SAT if you’re aiming for top scores. Overall, there isn’t a golden PSAT score that will ensure you’ll perform well on the SAT. 

2. How Accurate Is My Predicted SAT Score? 

Your PSAT conversion to SAT score is a good predictor of your future SAT scores if you were to keep the same effort in your studies going forward. Simply scoring well on the PSAT and taking it as a signal to relax can lower your SAT score. Keep up the hard work, and your PSAT score will be a closer prediction of your SAT score. 

3. My Converted SAT Score Was Low. Will My SAT Score Be Low?

Just because your PSAT score was lower than you would like doesn’t mean your SAT score will be low. Your projected SAT scores from PSAT scores aren’t set in stone. Take this as an opportunity to encourage yourself to study harder and achieve a higher score, not a discouragement.

4. Is the PSAT Mandatory Like the SAT for the College Admissions Process? 

The PSAT is an optional test, and colleges don’t use the PSAT in the admissions process. However, the PSAT is valuable for other reasons:

5. How are the PSAT and the SAT Timed?

The PSAT and the SAT are timed in different ways. For the PSAT 8/9, you’ll have: 

The PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT are timed the same way: 

For the SAT, you’ll have: 

6. How Can I Use My Predicted SAT Score? 

PSAT to SAT conversion can help you identify whether your SAT scores will be competitive at the colleges you want to apply to. PSAT score to SAT score calculators can also help guide your studying. For example, if your predicted PSAT score is lower than you wanted, you can make a new score goal and work toward it. 

PSAT, SAT, Dream College

The PSAT to SAT conversion chart is an excellent way to predict your SAT scores. Keep in mind these scores are not set in stone—you can certainly boost your scores well beyond the prediction with hard work and dedication. Checking with a PSAT to SAT score calculator shows a range where your SAT score could be, not where it will be. 

Now that you know the importance of the PSAT and the SAT and how these tests are scored, you’re better prepared to perform well no matter what test you need to take. Remember to design a consistent and achievable study schedule, avoid cramming, and use the process of elimination. 

Keeping all of these tips and information in mind, you can feel empowered knowing you have the tools to ace the PSAT or the SAT. 

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