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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Navigating the PSAT National Merit Qualifications

Hi everyone, I'm super keen on getting that National Merit Scholar recognition through the PSAT. Can someone break down the qualifying process? How do you know if your score is in the running and what should I be aiming for?

7 months ago

To be in the running for National Merit recognition via the PSAT/NMSQT, you need to score within the top 1% of test-takers in your state. The exact score for National Merit qualification varies by state and by year because it's calculated on a per-state basis to maintain proportionality. This score is known as the Selection Index, which is double the sum of your reading, writing and language, and math test scores.

For instance, if the Selection Index cutoff for your state is 220, then you'll need a combined score of 110 across all sections, before doubling, to meet that requirement. You can look up past years' Selection Index cutoffs to get an estimate of what you might need. Remember, these are just estimates; the official cutoffs for each year are released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation after the PSATs are administered.

Once you achieve a high enough score, you'll be notified through your school about your status as a Commended Student or Semifinalist. Semifinalists then have to complete a further application process to potentially become Finalists and earn scholarship opportunities. Aim as high as possible to maximize your chances, especially considering that PSAT scores can fluctuate year to year. Good preparation and practice are key to hitting that top percentile.

7 months ago

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