What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

PSAT to SAT Score Conversion: Predict Your Score

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Many high school students are anxious about the SAT, as it’s used as a screening tool at many colleges across the country. While more and more colleges are employing a holistic approach to admissions, there’s no doubt that standardized tests remain part of the admissions equation at the majority of schools. 


One way to reduce the anxiety around standardized tests is to start thinking about and preparing for them early in your high school career. The more time that you leave for test prep, the better prepared you’ll actually be when test day rolls around. One great way to get ahead is to use your PSAT scores to help guide your SAT preparations. Of course, you’ll need to remember that the PSAT and the SAT are different tests, but your PSAT score can help you to predict your SAT score. Learn how in this post. 


What is the PSAT?


The PSAT, formerly known as the Pre-SAT, but now known simply by its own acronym, is a standardized test administered to 10th and 11th graders by the College Board. The College Board also administers the SAT, so the PSAT is commonly thought of as a student’s first exposure to SAT-style testing. The PSAT is also used as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship, so it is commonly referred to as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). You can learn more about the scholarship in our post: How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program


PSAT scores are not used in college admissions decisions, but recognition under the National Merit Scholarship program can certainly help you to stand out, and can also earn you scholarship money. PSATs are also a helpful indicator of how you perform on standardized tests and a careful review of your scoring report can help you to better understand where your areas of strength and weakness lie


What Does the PSAT Test?


The PSAT does cover material that is similar to the content on the SAT, but it is slightly less advanced. Just like on the SAT, the test is broken down into three sections. These are Math, Reading, and Writing and Language. Calculators are allowed on some, but not all, of the math section. 


The math section consists primarily of algebra questions with some data analysis and complex equations mixed in. It will test your understanding of algebraic structure, your strategic use of a calculator, and how well you solve problems quickly. 


The reading test assesses how you absorb, think about, and apply the knowledge you’re presented with. It contains several passages from different genres, some of which include infographics. You’ll be asked to locate specific information, imply meaning and intent, and identify how authors use evidence to support their claims.


On the writing and language test you’ll be asked to read passages, identify strengths and weaknesses, fix mistakes, and consider how the organization of a piece of writing works or doesn’t work. 


All of the content on the PSAT should be content that you’ve covered in your regular classes at school. You can learn more about the specifics on the College Board’s PSAT page, Inside the Test.  


The PSAT lasts for two hours and 45 minutes and has sections in reading, writing, and math. Just like on the SAT, students receive section scores for Verbal and Math on the PSAT. Unlike the SAT, where these scores range from 200 to 800, PSAT scores range from 160 to 760. Verbal and Math section scores are added together to calculate a composite score. This ranges from 320 to 1520.


The content tested on the SAT is similar to the content tested on the PSAT, but it is more advanced. Questions in the Verbal sections will generally be more challenging, and questions in the Math section will cover an additional year of class content, primarily expanding on the questions that fall under the Additional Topics in Math category. These generally include content like trigonometric functions, theorems about circles, or volume formulas. 


PSAT to SAT Score Conversion Chart


* The College Board does now administer the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 for 9th and 10th graders, respectively. Note that the scores in this table are for the PSAT/NMSQT, and not for other versions of the test.


PSAT Score Predicted SAT Score
400 630
410 640
420 650
430 650
440 660
450 670
460 680
470 690
480 700
490 700
500 710
510 720
520 730
530 740
540 750
550 760
560 760
570 770
580 780
590 790
600 800
610 810
620 810
630 820
640 830
650 840
660 850
670 860
680 870
690 870
700 880
710 890
720 900
730 910
740 920
750 920
760 930
770 940
780 950
790 960
800 970
810 970
820 980
830 990
840 1000
850 1010
860 1020
870 1030
880 1030
890 1040
900 1050
910 1060
920 1070
930 1080
940 1080
950 1090
960 1100
970 1110
980 1120
990 1130
1000 1140
1010 1140
1020 1150
1030 1160
1040 1170
1050 1180
1060 1190
1070 1190
1080 1200
1090 1210
1100 1220
1110 1230
1120 1240
1130 1240
1140 1250
1150 1260
1160 1270
1170 1280
1180 1290
1190 1300
1200 1300
1210 1310
1220 1320
1230 1330
1240 1340
1250 1350
1260 1350
1270 1360
1280 1370
1290 1380
1300 1390
1310 1400
1320 1410
1330 1410
1340 1420
1350 1430
1360 1440
1370 1450
1380 1460
1390 1460
1400 1470
1410 1480
1420 1490
1430 1500
1440 1510
1450 1510
1460 1520
1470 1530
1480 1540
1490 1550
1500 1560
1510 1570
1520 1570


Preparing for the SAT is an intense endeavor that can often be stressful. Your PSAT scores, though, can be used as a tool to help predict your SAT score and to guide your studying. Use your predicted SAT score as a starting point, identify areas of weakness to improve upon, and you’ll find that you’re able to increase your score steadily.


How Your SAT Score Impacts Your Chances of Acceptance


Even with the expansion of test-optional policies, the SAT remains a prominent part of the college admissions process. If you’re wondering what score you’d need to boost your odds of getting into your top choice schools, check out CollegeVine’s free chancing engine, which accounts for every element of your application, from test scores to GPA to extracurriculars and course rigor, to give you your personalized chances of getting into each school on your list. You can enter potential SAT scores to see how well you’d need to do to receive a bump.

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.