PSAT to SAT Score Conversion

November 5, 2018

"You mean there's a pre-test before the real test?" many students exclaim. That's right, the College Board has devised the PSAT, a precursor to the SAT to assist students in overall preparedness for this very important exam. Maybe you're asking, "But wait, if it's not the SAT and just a precursor, is it even really that important?" Very much so. In fact, students who perform well on the PSAT wind up doing far better on the SAT, as the skills and abilities tested help them in attaining a higher score. How many PSATs have you sat for and what were their results?

More than likely, if you have your PSAT results you will want to know what that might translate to for the SAT. Everyone wants to know their projected SAT score, as it's a guidepost, a roadmap of what to follow down the line. Let's examine scoring specifics around the PSAT and SAT and breakdown what a conversion chart really means.

PSAT: The 101

Before we take a look at scoring and conversion charts, let's review what the PSAT consists of, shall we? Below is a breakdown of the sections, number of questions, content, as well as testing time. If you aren't already familiar with the PSAT format, now would be a good time to do so. Many students take the PSAT more than once, giving them continued insight into how the test is structured and what is expected.

SectionSubsectionTotal Testing Time & BreakdownNumber of QuestionsContent
Evidence-Based Reading & WritingReading60 minutes47Reading and vocab in context
Writing35 minutes44Grammar and usage
Math70 minutes; 1 45-minute calculator-optional section & 1 25-minute no-calculator section47Algebra, problem solving, data analysis, geometry, trigonometry and pre-calculus

PSAT Scoring

Prior to delving into PSAT conversion specifics, it's important to understand how the PSAT is scored. The scale for the PSAT is 320-1520 in ten-point increments. This means the lowest score you could possibly get is 320 and the maximum is 1520. On the SAT this scale varies slightly on the 400-1600 range. Thankfully, the PSAT isn't too far off, making all of this a lot easier.

Your composite PSAT score consists of both your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math scores. Scaled PSAT scores are converted to raw scores through an "equating process" the College Board comes up with. Students receive three raw scores for Math, Reading and Writing/Language. Your raw score is determined based on the number of questions you answer correctly. In other words, if you answered 30 questions correctly, your raw score is 30 points. Pretty easy, right? But how does this then convert into a PSAT score?

Let's take a look at PSAT Scoring chart courtesy of the College Board. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea.

Raw ScoreReading ScoreWriting ScoreMath ScoreRaw ScoreReading ScoreWriting ScoreMath Score
088160252625560
199190262626570
21010210272727580
31111240282727580
41212270292828590
51413290302828600
61514320312929610
71614340322929620
81615360333030630
91715370343030640
101816390353131650
111816400363132670
121917420373232680
131918430383233690
142018440393334710

For more raw score conversions, please visit College Board's website, where a complete breakdown is downloadable.

SAT Scoring

The SAT scoring is based on two sections—the EBRW and Math sections, both worth 800 points. The worst score you could get on the SAT is a 400; a perfect score consists of 1600. Basically, for every question you answer correctly on the SAT, you receive one point. There is no penalty for guessing or skipping. Raw scores are determined by total number of questions answered correctly, that is then converted to a scaled score. Below is a sample chart for Math scores to give you a better idea of this process:

Raw ScoreMath Section Score
58800
57790
56780
55760
54750
53740
52730
51710
50700
49690
48680
47670
46670
45660

PSAT to SAT Conversion

Here we go, what we've all been waiting for—the conversion chart! Below you will find a thorough chart featuring old SAT scores, newer ones (2016 and beyond), as well as PSAT score conversions. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of how you would score on the SAT if you have your PSAT score handy.

Old SATNew SAT (2016)PSAT
24001600240
23401560-1590234
22601510-1550226
21901460-1500219
21301410-1450213
20401360-1400204
19801320-1350198
19201280-1310192
18601240-1270186
18201210-1230182
17601170-1200176
17001139-1160170
16501090-1120165
15901060-1080159
15301020-1050153
1500980-1010150
1410940-970141
1350900-630135
1290860-890129
1210810-850121
1140760-800114
1060710-750106
1000660-700100
900520-65090
780520-58078
750500-51075

The Takeaway

Naturally, you want to do the best you can on the PSAT so you can increase your chances of success on the SAT. It's really worth mentioning that not all exams come with a "pre" exam like this one—a test that aids you in understanding what is to come and sets down some basic foundations. Make use of the PSAT and take it several times in anticipation of what the SAT has in store for you. This conversion chart should give you a better idea of where your projected SAT score would be based upon your PSAT score.

Keep in mind, too, that a projected score base doff your PSAT is only meant to encourage you, not discourage you from pushing onwards. Many students not only take the PSAT several times, but also the SAT in an ever-increasing determination to attain that high score for undergraduate application purposes. Continue studying and finding the best exam day strategies that work for you. With hard work and focus, anything is possible.