Class of 2022 National Merit Discussion - Scores Release

Art makes predictions, but it takes a while. I believe last year’s first projection was published on January 31. I agree it may be later based on the added 1/26 test session.

Given the known issues with last year’s indices, the expectation is that states that dropped 3+ points last year will probably go back up at least two. Only the top 5 or so states that only dropped by one may remain steady or go up by one.

Unfortunately, that includes Tennessee. The recent trend is 218,218, 219, 219, 215. I would expect at least 217, if not 218. Illinois at 220 is indeed on the bubble.

Coronavirus and Alternate Entry may skew things in an unknown way, but Art’s projection of rebound/increases factored that in.

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I am so happy I found this forum.
D22 has 220 in FL. We are cautiously optimistic…

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These are exactly my daughters scores and exactly my thoughts.

Kicking myself for not calling my S22 in sick the day of the test as he has a full SAT score that would have qualified him through the alternative route. Just kidding here as it would not be the right thing to do and my son is a total stickler for the rules, but I’m sure there will be plenty of kids who do just that.

I got a 223 index (1490). -5 Reading (36) -1 Writing/Lang (38) -1 Math (37.5)

I’m hoping my score is high enough. My state’s cutoff was 220 last year and it has never gone over 222, so I think I’m good.


Highest SI score for GA seems 220 so far, and it was 219 for 2021 class. My daughter got 221 and hope that should be enough for this year’s Semifinal list. She got 1600 in October SAT.


I read that Art said SI cutoffs in most states should stay about the same, or maybe even lower due to fewer test takers of alternate entries are not used to determine cutoff.

Link? This must be new, because that’s not what he said in his late-September post on the subject. And I can’t find an update.

We know that scores for the class of 2021 were unusually low because of a flawed test form, so we would normally expect a “bounce-back” in cutoffs this coming year. Overall, I am expecting modest improvements in [P]SAT score that will not necessarily be consistent from state to state


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I am mistaken.

@howdidwegethere FYI - you can calculate the SI from the PSAT, without knowing the three individual component scores.

The ERW section score = (Reading score + WL score) x 10
The Math section score = Math score x 20

The formula to get the SI = (ERW/5) + (Math/10)

For example, a kid with a 720 ERW and 750 Math got an SI of 144 + 75 = 219

Thanks so much @Altras - my daughter was so pleased with her results as we all were.

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I have just learned about the Alternate Entry to the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Two things to highlight:

  1. If you are unable to take the PSAT in Oct 2020 or Jan 2021, you can submit SAT results from Aug 2020 to Jun 2021 in lieu of a PSAT score (no mention that a student cannot take the SAT more than once); and
  2. The SAT Reading, Writing and Language, and Math scores (out of 40) will each be capped at 38 when determining the Selection Index. If my understanding is correct, this means that SAT scores of 760 M and 760 EBRW could potentially yield the highest SI (228).

Given this, do you think that the NMSF qualifying SI for each state will increase, perhaps substantially, from previous years?

@LostInTheShuffle, I don’t really think so. So many are not even going to take the SAT this academic year because of testing access issues.

I see. Thanks. We’re entering a 6-week lockdown in the UK and, if infection rates do not fall drastically by mid/end Feb, the upcoming SAT/ACT tests here will probably be cancelled.

There’s no clear official answer, but reading between the lines, I believe cutoffs will be determined as usual, from the PSAT results, and they’ll deal with an increased number of semi-finalists after adding in an increased number of AE qualifiers (AE isn’t new) by either being more rigid in Finalist qualification or just awarding scholarships to a smaller percentage of Finalists.

I.e., there will be the same 16,000 semi-finalists based on PSAT scores, then they’ll add 3,000 AE qualifiers vs. the typical few dozen. Then there will be 18,000 Finalists rather than 15,000. But there will still only be 7,000 scholarships awarded.

Just my guess.


Adding an additional 3,000 NMFs could force the schools which give out big merit scholarships to change the way they handle those scholarships. They might change to a first come, first serve system or make them competitive if they get too many more applicants than budgeted for. Already fewer colleges are offering automatic merit money. I would hate to see NM scholarships disappear.

@Yankee_Belle, I doubt necessarily think that NMC will add lots of NMFs, but if they did I doubt it would affect the big money college sponsored scholarships that much. Big schools like Alabama and Arizona St would love to have more NMFs. More competitive schools like USC and U of Florida would simply deny admission to some NMFs in order to manage their NMF yield. Those schools already deny lots of NMFs.

Or they may have tighter criteria for NMSF to become finalists to keep the finalists’ number the same.

Yes, if a large number of schools have blanket “all NMFs get money”, then the program would probably receive input that suggests they keep the finalists to the same number.

But it was mentioned in another thread that some schools provide blanket awards to semifinalists.

NMC is in a bit of a tough spot. Limiting the SF pool to 16,000 including AE entries could mean that a student who would have qualified through the “normal” process doesn’t qualify, which would reflect poorly on them.

“Fair” and financial reality may collide.

For AE, what if you’ve take the SAT more than once? Which scores does the NMSC use to calculate SI? Highest, most recent or superscore?