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What PSAT Score is needed for National Merit Scholar?

Hey folks, I've been aiming to become a National Merit Scholar but I'm unsure about the PSAT score requirements for that. I mean, what score do I need to have a serious shot at this? Are there set cutoffs or does it vary each year?

10 days ago

To qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, you'll need to score in the top 1% of PSAT test takers in your state. The exact cutoff varies by state and by year, due to the test's relative scoring system, so it's impossible to give an absolute number that applies to everyone.

The PSAT is scored out of 1520 points. Generally, you'll need a score over 1400 to be in contention for National Merit, but again, it will depend on how everyone else in your state performs. Many times, high achieving states like California or Massachusetts require scores nearing the maximum, while less competitive states may have cutoffs in the mid-1300s.

You can look for past cutoff scores to get an idea, remembering that they could change slightly each year. Be sure to do your best in every section of the PSAT since maximizing your score in all sections can increase your index score, and thereby improve your chances of qualifying.

In the end, don't stress too much over it. While being a National Merit Scholar is a great achievement, there are many other ways to stand out in the college application process. Good luck with your preparation!

10 days ago

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