The wait for PSAT results can be nerve-wracking. It's likely your first time taking an SAT-like test, and the PSAT can give you a sense of what range your final SAT score is likely to be. Plus, if you score high enough, there's a lot of potential scholarship money available.
So when is the wait over? When are PSAT scores released? We explain when you'll get your PSAT results, walk you through the complete PSAT timeline, and offer suggestions on what to do once you have your scores.
Exclusive Free Bonus: Download a free guide containing our top 5 strategies for improving your SAT score by 160 points. After you get your PSAT score back, you'll want to know how to improve it.
When Do PSAT Scores Come Out?
How long does it take to get PSAT results? You'll get your PSAT scores in December, six to eight weeks after taking the exam.
According to the College Board, 2017 PSAT scores will be available online starting December 11th, 2017. However, your guidance counselor and school will be able to see your scores one week earlier on December 4th.
PSAT Results Timeline
How long does it take to get PSAT scores? Here's a complete look at the PSAT timeline for 2017-2018, so you can see exactly when you'll take the test and when you'll get your scores back.
Step 1: PSAT Is Taken in October
The PSAT is generally administered in mid-October, though there are a few possible dates. The 2017 PSAT test dates are below:
- Primary: Wednesday, Oct. 11
- Alternate: Wednesday, Oct. 25
- Saturday: Oct. 14
The exact logistics of taking the PSAT will depend on your school. Some schools make each student in 11th grade take the test, some have a signup, and still others don't administer the PSAT at all, so you'll have to arrange to take the test yourself somewhere else. To make sure you're not stuck without a PSAT score, ask your school by September 1st how they do the test. If you don't like your school's method, you'll have plenty of time to make other plans.
Step 2: PSAT Scores Are Released Online in December
Scores will come out on December 11th, 2017. Once PSAT scores are released, you can access them online through your College Board account. To view PSAT scores online, start by signing in to your College Board account:
If you haven't made a College Board account, you can do so here.
Next, click on “PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9 Scores” to get to your PSAT scores. You’ll then be taken to a page which has your PSAT results.
For more details on how to get your PSAT scores, including what to do if you can’t see your PSAT scores online, read our complete guide to the PSAT score report here.
Step 3: Schools Distribute Paper Reports in 2018
In addition to the online reports, College Board is still sticking to its tradition of giving paper PSAT score reports to schools and having the schools distribute those to students. If the College Board sticks to their schedule from last year, you'll get them sometime in January, but the exact date hasn't been released yet.
Bonus: Do you know what score you need on the PSAT? Check out our guide on what's a good PSAT score to help you set a goal.
PSAT Results: What Now?
After you get your PSAT scores back, there are a couple of things you’ll want to do.
Plan for the National Merit Scholarship
If you score high enough on the PSAT, you may end up being eligible for the National Merit Scholarship.
Becoming a semifinalist for this merit scholarship is only contingent upon your PSAT scores, but becoming a finalist requires a little more effort, including keeping up your GPA. Lay the groundwork for becoming a National Merit Finalist senior year by doing some research into what’s required.
Prep for the SAT
The main purpose of the PSAT is to prepare students to take the SAT, either later on in their junior years or in the fall of their senior years before they apply to colleges.
In fact, your PSAT score is intended to be a good estimate of how you’ll do on the actual SAT. This means that if you get a 1200 on the PSAT and take the SAT without any prep, you’ll likely get the same score again.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should despair if you have a low PSAT score. Instead, analyze what went wrong on your PSAT and use that information to improve your knowledge and skills so that you can do better on the SAT.
The process of analyzing your errors will be helpful even if you scored extremely well on the PSAT, because the content on the PSAT and SAT aren't exactly the same. PSAT scores only go up to 1520, instead of up to 1600 like the SAT, because the SAT has higher-level reading passages, tests trickier grammatical rules, and includes more trigonometry and harder Math questions than the PSAT. Hence, even if you get a perfect score on the PSAT, you're not guaranteed a perfect SAT score.
Your PSAT results include information about whether you’re meeting the benchmarks for Reading, Writing, and Math, as well as more detailed looks into which subskills you excel at and which ones you need to improve. Rather than beating yourself up over what you did wrong, focus on figuring out why you did poorly on a given section. Was it because you’d never taken a standardized test before and were nervous? Maybe you felt rushed for time on certain sections, or just flat out didn’t know some of the material covered.
Whatever the reasons for your issues, make sure you start your SAT prep by addressing the weaknesses revealed by the PSAT. For more great advice on what to do with your PSAT scores, read this article!
Want to see how your score stacks up against other students’ scores? Find out with our coverage of the most recent PSAT percentiles and Score Selection Index.
Already taken the PSAT as a junior? Start to plan out when you’ll take the SAT with our up-to-date list of test dates. Alternatively, if you took the PSAT as a freshman or sophomore, find out when the next PSAT is going to be offered.
Finally, when you get your scores back, you'll probably want to know how to improve your score for the big test: the SAT.
We've researched hundreds of student stories and academic studies and found the 5 principles you need to follow to improve your score.
Click the link below and enter your email address to get the best SAT prep advice you can get anywhere. Follow these 5 strategies to improve your SAT score by 160 points or more.
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Fred is co-founder of PrepScholar. He scored a perfect score on the SAT and is passionate about sharing information with aspiring students. Fred graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor's in Mathematics and a PhD in Economics.