Why is the PSAT out of 1520 this year? For the past 11 years, the PSAT has been scored on a range from 60 to 240. By adding a zero to each section, past PSAT scores could be easily compared to past SAT scores (scored on a total scale of 600 to 2400). With the redesigned SAT being scored on a scale of 400 to 1600 (like it had been from 2004 and decades earlier), you would expect that the redesigned PSAT scores would be scaled in a similar range – if not 400 to 1600, then perhaps 40 to 160 (scaled down by a factor of 10 just like the previous PSAT scores).
The total score of 1520 is composed of two sections:
1) Evidenced Based Reading and Writing
Both of these sections would normally have a perfect score of 800 on the redesigned SAT, but on the PSAT both sections have a perfect score of 760 (hence 760 x 2 – 1520). So why did College Board do this?
The prevailing theory is that the slightly lower score range on the PSAT reflects the slightly lower difficulty level of the PSAT relative to the SAT. This is a very new concept as historically, the PSAT has always been the same difficulty level as the SAT. What’s important than “why” the score is different is how to understand what the new scores means to you. These concordance tables (released by the College Board) help to show how a new PSAT score compares to PSAT scores on the past scale (for the past 11 years).
What hasn’t changed is that after receiving PSAT scores, juniors realize it’s time to get ready for the real SAT this spring. Of course, the ACT is still is a solid option as well.