PSAT Information

Poway High School 2021-2022

What is the PSAT?


The PSAT, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a college preparatory test sponsored by an organization called College Board and is the pre-cursor to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). There are three versions of the PSAT, but, the PSAT/NMSQT is the only exam offered through our school district. Currently, the district opts to register and pay for all 10th graders to take the exam, and any 9th or 11th graders who wish to take the exam may do so by registering and paying at the beginning of the school year. We held the PSAT/NMSQT on October 16.


College Board teamed up with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) and they use the PSAT as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Students' PSAT scores are compared to the other students in the same state to determine eligibility and qualification for National Merit Scholarships. Each student will be given a Selection Index Number, which can be found on the PSAT Score Report. Only our students whose Selection Index Numbers are in the top 1% of the students in California will move on to the NMSQT Semifinals. For reference, a qualifying Selection Index Number for last year's PSAT was 222. This is the highest in the country. Only 7500 students in the country will end up receiving a National Merit Scholarship.

When is the next PSAT?

The primary date the PSAT will be offered in the 2019-20 school year is Saturday, October 16, 2021.

Where do I register for the PSAT?

10th and 11th graders can register for the PSAT here. The registration deadline is September 16. The exam is not available to 9th and 12th graders at this time.

While registration for the PSAT is done through our school, the same is not true for the SAT. Because it is an optional college testing exam, registration is only offered through College Board. You can register for an upcoming SAT at the College Board website.

When are PSAT Scores Released?

PSAT Scores will be released December 7, 2021 for students in California.

How do I get my PSAT Scores?

College Board Account

To retrieve your PSAT score reports, you will need to have a College Board account in the student's name. If you haven’t created one already, you will need to do that first at the College Board website. A College Board account is needed to get any AP Exam and SAT scores, so this account will be fairly important. Please make sure you use an email account that is checked regularly. If the student provided an email account on their PSAT, using that email address can speed up score retrieval.

The process to create an account takes about ten minutes. If you have trouble setting up or accessing an account, you can troubleshoot the problems using the College Board Help Site:

Retrieving PSAT Scores

Once you are logged into the student’s College Board account, click on PSAT/NMSQT, then click the Matching Tool. If the score doesn’t automatically populate, you can use the student's Access Code to pull in their scores. Access Codes will be sent to the email students used on the PSAT. They will also be available at the school once Score Reports are released.

What can my PSAT Score Report tell me?

How You Did

After you get your PSAT Score Report, you can use it to analyze how you will do on your SAT, and how prepared you are for college. You can see your scores, whether you meet benchmarks for each section, and your Selection Index Number. If you go to the section with the individual questions, you can click on them to see which questions you got right and wrong. You can get more information on how to understand your scores at PSAT Scoring.

Khan Academy

If you create a Khan Academy account and connect it to your College Board account, you can access personalized study guides to help you improve your SAT scores based on your PSAT performance. You can register for your FREE Khan Academy account at the Khan Academy website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will colleges see my PSAT score?

No. Colleges will not get access to your PSAT scores. If you filled out the portion of the PSAT that grants College Board permission to send your information to colleges and scholarship programs, they may send you promotional materials intended for recruitment, but your specific scores will not be reported to the colleges.

The scoring is the same as the SAT, right?

Sort of, but not exactly. The PSAT and the SAT are scored on the same scale, but because the SAT has higher level questions, you can get a higher score on the SAT, than you can on the PSAT. Where the SAT has a perfect score of 1600, the highest possible score for the PSAT is 1520. This means, however, your score on the PSAT is a good indication of what your score will be on the SAT if you don't work to improve it.

Are 10th and 11th graders taking the same test?

The PSAT is designed for students at the 11th grade level, but everyone takes the same test. The only difference between grades is that 11th graders are entered for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, but 10th graders are not.

If it doesn't work for college entrance, why should I take the PSAT?

Studies have shown that every time you take a college prep exam like the PSAT/SAT/ACT, your score improves. The more used to the testing style you are, the more you can focus on the content of the exam, rather than how to bubble correctly. Also, your score report can be used to get personalized study prep for the SAT and give you an indication of how you would do on an SAT for a fraction of the cost of retaking the SAT.